I eagerly anticipated reading Mayim Bialik’s new book Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way. Then I thought about skipping it entirely.
To say that I was disappointed when I read online that Bialik had not vaccinated her children would be an understatement. The anti-vax position is one that I absolutely cannot stand behind. But my disappointment went beyond my vehement disagreement with the anti-vax movement. I was disappointed that once again it seemed that a crunchymunchy lifestyle had to tick off certain qualities in order to fit into the crunchymunchy box. (She’s into co-sleeping and extended nursing so of course she must not vaccinate – ѵ Check!) Like I’ve said before, I find myself leaning towards the crunchymunchy end of parenting. But. In no way does that mean I’m going to ignore the overwhelming scientific consensus and our own country’s history of public health and endanger my child’s health and possibly the health of weaker individuals as well. I’m not here to argue against anti-vaccers. What little of that I have attempted in my personal life was an exercise in futility.
Instead, my point is that various choices get lumped together as crunchymunchy, and it’s often assumed that if one practice (say not vaccinating) is a bad choice, then another choice (say co-sleeping) is equally nutty simply because it’s practiced by the same people. For instance, I read one review of Beyond the Sling that had me steamed. The reviewer, a supremely arrogant and obnoxious man, lambasted Bialik for her anti-vax views. But then he went on to attack her views of natural childbirth implying that natural childbirth was equal to squatting in a bear den in the Appalachian woods with nary a sign of medical assistance. And this he lumped together with not vaccinating one’s children.
It made me wonder, if I subscribe to one view (natural childbirth) that may be associated with anti-vaccers, how do I know that natural childbirth isn’t also crazy? Was I just off the deep end of crazy when I opted for a natural childbirth? Or maybe really crunchymunchy people have got some things right and some things wrong. Then I can pick and choose practices to build my desired parenting style. In other words, back to my original question: How crunchymunchy am I?
In the end, I went ahead and picked up Bialik’s book today. And I’m looking forward to reading it. Just because I don’t embrace every idea that a crunchymunchy non-vaccinating celebrity mom endorses, doesn’t mean that I can’t find positive ideas and insight from her experiences. At least, this is my hope. In the meantime, I will still endeavor to be crunchymunchy on my own terms, even if I don’t fit into a neat box.
(By the way, this condition of feeling like I don’t fit into neat boxes pervades the rest of my life as well. It can make me and my husband feel uniquely alone. For instance, I am a liberal feminist who is a devout Christian. I am also a devout Christian who does not believe that Christianity and science must be exclusive. If one were to believe the Christian conservative right, I don’t exist, because after all, all Christians necessarily agree on everything, right? No.)