The crunchy scale: It’s not easy being gray


I’m not a big fan of labels. We pretty much just go through life doing what we think is best for our family with the Bible as the primary resource and other sources that align with our convictions. When it comes to labels, I’m not sure where our family fits in.

Especially on the crunchy scale.

Urban dictionary defines crunchy as: Adjective. Used to describe persons who have adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Crunchy persons tend to be politically strongly left-leaning and may be additionally but not exclusively categorized as vegetarians, vegans, eco-tarians, conservationists, environmentalists, neo-hippies, tree huggers, nature enthusiasts, etc. The term seems to also include parenting philosophies and many health issues.

A lot of those things would not apply to us, certainly not politically, but in our ten years of marriage, we’ve developed a lifestyle that has some differences from the average: mainly whole foods diet, smaller portions of meat, seeing midwives in my pregnancies, using a doula, extended breastfeeding, avoiding certain products, to name a few. We’ve gotten comments for these choices such as “Loosen up a bit.” “That’s a little weird.” “You’re a couple of hippies.” Some people consider us very crunchy. We’re trying too hard, we’re overly concerned about things that aren’t important, we’re making our lives difficult. We don’t fit in with the standard American lifestyle.

But we also use disposable diapers, vaccinate, use a microwave, eat at Chick-fil-a and have our kids sleep in their own beds. So a whole bunch of other people try to make us feel like we’re not crunchy enough. We’re not trying hard enough, we don’t care about our children’s health, we are ignorant and unaware. We don’t fit in.

I know this is not a unique problem. There are lots of families like ours – the gray families who are being told to choose black or white. Or rather, black or green. (and I do find it a little interesting that many on a certain side of the scale preach a lot of peace and tolerance but don’t seem to show much toward others) We’re in the middle of the crunchy scale, and when you walk in the middle of the road you get hit by cars going both ways.

Perhaps this can be answered with phrases such as “Just be yourself.” or “It doesn’t matter what other people think.” But I’d like the offer the phrase Gray is okay. Sure, there are certainly areas of life where a committed hard line needs to be taken one way or the other. And apathy and wishy-washiness are not admirable qualities. But there are a lot of areas, crunchiness being one of them, where I don’t think a side needs to be taken. Gray is okay. I can compost but also give my kids Tylenol, and I don’t like anyone giving me crap for either.

3 thoughts on “The crunchy scale: It’s not easy being gray

  1. We are right there in the gray with you!!! It can be hard being “different”, but I think the heart of most comments is jealousy…most want to be in the gray too, but don’t know how to get there.

  2. Times haven’t really changed. I made my own bread and granola, but purchased my spaghetti sauce and frozen veggies. I was a neglectful parent in the eyes of some. Poo poo to them. I wanted to have time to walk to the park, be in a Bible study or do art projects with my kids. Life is about balance, and it will be different for each of us.

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