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"Granola-ier Than Thou"

This was a comment I got for the Birth Shame post. It was hee-LAIR-eous, so had to put it here. I'd love to see a poetic birthy-someone write this for us.

Here, Valerie Runes, Esq., RN, shares her wisdom:

"I am the mother of four grown children, and was a homebirth midwife for almost twenty years. I was determined to be the crunchiest mother on the block, but in real life it didn't work out quite so well. I recall that at a childbirth educator workshop, the question-of-the-day was 'What do you do when your child wants a hot dog?' We discussed alternatives, while in the back of my mind I could envision my son at home, shoving an Oscar Meyer into his cherubic face.

"I had determined that my children were not going to play with toy guns. But you know, they ended up turning L-shaped sticks into rifles and building pistols out of Legos. Chocolate? Nooo...not for my wholesome children! So I melted carob into a bunny-shaped lollipop. My son threw it into his potty and went for a bag of (yes!) NESTLE chocolate chips.

"In the end, I simply did the best I could. And those four children have turned into magnificent adults. None of them has made a lifelong diet of hot dogs. No one has shot up a Walmart, and (to the best of my knowledge anyway), none of them eats chocolate chips as a steady diet.

"I wonder if I am the only one who remembers 'Junk Food Junkie.' It is a great song by Larry Groce. So much of it could be applied to the NCB folks, as well as the granola-ier than thou group:

You know I love that organic cooking
I always ask for more
And they call me Mr Natural
On down to the health food store
I only eat good sea salt
White sugar don't touch my lips
And my friends is always begging me
To take them on macrobiotic trips
Yes, they are

Oh, but at night I stake out my strong box
That I keep under lock and key
And I take it off to my closet
Where nobody else can see
I open that door so slowly
Take a peek up north and south
Then I pull out a Hostess Twinkie
And I pop it in my mouth

Yeah, in the daytime I'm Mr Natural
Just as healthy as I can be
But at night I'm a junk food junkie
Good lord have pity on me

Well, at lunchtime you can always find me
At the Whole Earth Vitamin Bar
Just sucking on my plain white yogurt
From my hand thrown pottery jar
And sippin' a little hand pressed cider
With a carrot stick for dessert
And wiping my face in a natural way
On the sleeve of my peasant shirt
Oh, yeah

Ah, but when that clock strikes midnight
And I'm all by myself
I work that combination on my secret hideaway shelf
And I pull out some Fritos corn chips
Dr Pepper and an ole Moon Pie
Then I sit back in glorious expectation
Of a genuine junk food high

Oh yeah, in the daytime I'm Mr Natural
Just as healthy as I can be
Oh, but at night I'm a junk food junkie
Good lord have pity on me
My friends down at the commune
They think I'm pretty neat
Oh, I don't know nothing about arts and crafts
But I give 'em all something to eat
I'm a friend to old Euell Gibbons
And I only eat home grown spice
I got a John Keats autographed Grecian urn
Filled up with my brown rice
Yes, I do

Oh, folks but lately I have been spotted
With a Big Mac on my breath
Stumbling into a Colonel Sanders
With a face as white as death
I'm aftraid someday they'll find me
Just stretched out on my bed
With a handful of Pringles potato chips
And a Ding Dong by my head

In the daytime I'm Mr Natural
Just as healthy as I can be
But at night I'm a junk food junkie
Good lord have pity on me"

Thank you, Valerie... my mothering life in a nutshell. You made my day!

I just told Meghann, if I could do anything different as a mom, I wouldn't be so rigid in my beliefs, more relaxed about everything. Delightfully, she said she felt I was relaxed about stuff. That, too, made my day complete... before it's really even begun!

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Reader Comments (16)

LOVED this! I can't even attempt to add anything of substance to it--simply perfect and spot on! As a former home birth midwife who struggled mightily later in my career with the mothers in my care who were absolutely OCD about food, toys, diapers and so many aspects of their mothering; so tense, anxious and plugged in lest anything "impure" touch the lives of their children, it's great to see that someone is "coming out" as a "Purely Crunchy" failure : ) and with such poetical verve and vim! Well done!

September 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Gold! You made my day, especially since we stopped at McD's for coffee and "eggy sandwiches" this morning.

I'm reading a really great journal right now, http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org/journalmotherhoodinitiative.html and there is an article in the current edition that speaks volumes about how mothers have been tasked with saving the earth. Babies are huge with creating more waste - and it is argued that the act of having children alone is taxing our environment - BUT also that mothers shouldn't be tasked because it's government and big business/industry that has fucked it up. Quite honestly, though, with the rise in food costs - who can afford to feed their kids organic? We do our best with local produce from the farmers market, but on average we spend around $100/week on fresh local produce or $98/week at the grocery store for the same products trucked in.

Anyway, I have been trapped in a world of eco-Barbies as it is, and I refuse to play the game of granola-ist. We do what is best by our family and kids at the moment, and we really do try where and when we can. But with three kids, a busy husband, maternity leave, and quite honestly utter disdain for buying into the eco-consumerism movement... we just don't have the time or the money to be snobs. Yeah I wish I lived in a rammed-earth house in a forest with sprites and elves adorning my decor, but for now I will be quite happy with two yappy dogs, living in a house we can afford with three kids in one room, and the ability to have a little bit of fun with life.

September 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRhonda

My own pet phrase is "holistic-er than thou." I think that has a fabulous ring to it! I used to use it at the opening of the mothers group I co-led. I started doing so, because I read an impassioned article about "what do holistic moms do about Halloween?" (the implication being that it was a real crisis decision) and the ideas included painting pumpkins with non-toxic paints while munching on organic chocolate and my gut response was just, "give me a f*%&*ing break, already."

September 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

Thank you for this.

September 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmelia

Love it!! Oh man, this made me feel so much better... I was just thinking how only 2.5 years into mothering I have already done every single thing (okay not really every single thing, but a bunch of them) that I thought i would never do! Like even letting my two year old eat CHOCOLATE sometimes!!!!! (probably Nestle too, imagine that... geez, I should just give up now) While I'm on this confession kick I'll even tell you all that today at the mall I let him have fries. Real ones. Deep fried in OIL! They were delicious. Oh... and it just dawned on me that we were at a mall, which is another thing I thought I would never do! I was never going to be one of the moms who brought her kid to the mall to play because it was raining, but today I did not want to stand in the rain at a muddy park and I desperately needed to leave our house, so I brought him to consumerism-central and let him play with the demo toys at the toy store. Good to know there is still hope for our children!

September 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarisa

Valerie and I were co-midwives in Chicago back in the day....oh, for the return of those days and our small children for just one week...with the knowledge we have now of all that was to come....

September 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVickii

Vickii: Right there with ya! I pray I'm able to impart at least a little of that relaxed attitude to Meggie. She's a *very* organized and particular person... always has been... and I worried she'd be too rigid -and then be disappointed- when things didn't go as planned (not just the birth, but mothering in general), but she has totally gone with the flow and said the most hilarious of things I never expected:

- "Who knew there'd be a day when I left a dirty diaper laying on the floor."
- "Look! Her barf came out of the (white) couch!" I never expected her to lay on the couch during her pp period *because* it's white, but we just threw down beach towels. *laughing*
- "The baby threw up in my shirt and I caught it all in the cami bra!"
- "Damn, the baby threw up in my hair. I gotta go. I'll just brush it out."

On and on. I've watched her bend and lean as motherhood's unexpected came knocking on her door. I pray she keeps this great attitude. I suspect she will.

Marisa: Welcome to the I-Do-Everything-I-Said-I-Would-NEVER-Do Club! You're in the company of... EVERYONE. I promise. You're doing great!

September 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Oh, and Vickii... that is so cool you know Valerie! Love that connection.

September 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Ah, Vickii, isn't that the truth?? Don't you remember all the midwife meetings with the potluck lunches, where it seemed like it was a contest to see who was the most organic? All the whole-wheat-carob-granola "cake" and the tempeh-brown-rice-glop-with-toasted-lentil-whatevers? And kale chips. And carrot-honey-spinach-something-with-plain-yogurt-and-sunflower-seed-something-else. And tabbouleh.

Just once I wanted to bring in a big ol' bucket of KFC.

Don''t get me wrong, I respect healthy eating and admire it on a daily basis. Competetive Holistic Eating, on the other hand, is rampant in "the homebirth community." Besides, you just know those folks were stopping at McDonalds and Taco Bell on the way home. At least I was.

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterValerie Runes, Esq., RN

I remember those day acutely! Co-ops where I bought all the "right" things, owning and cooking from _Laurel's Kitchen_ and _Whole Foods for the Whole Family_... LLL meetings were THE demonstration of whole wheat carrot cakes (more likely, *muffins*), chicken chili with forever-soak beans and homemade fruit leather. Remember when the Health Food Store was teeny-tiny and they *all* smelled exactly the same?

A few years later, I was hooked on a book-like magazine called _Common Lives, Lesbian Lives_ and in there was a story about a woman tasting tabouleh for the first time at a Collective (remember those!?) meeting and I remember laughing my head off as she watched everybody *loving* the tabouleh, but when she took a hefty mouthful, she wanted to spit it out and searched for a place to do so, but the house only composted. That story resonates even today of the lengths some people will go to 1. use consensus as a way to not get anything done 2. how gross tabouleh can be. (I like it now, but it can't be mush.)

Such memories, Valerie and Vickii. It will be a hoot to hear the stories of the moms right now when their kids are as old as ours. I bet they'll laugh just as we are. I hope so, anyway.

September 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

I love it! I completely agree. I went from totally mainstream, to insanely psychotic-granola-only, to somewhere much saner... and my whole family is happier and more relaxed for it.

(Side note: Barb, I am off Facebook indefinitely, and you are what I miss the most! I look forward to commenting here).

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnastasia

I left an earlier message on the wrong blog post! I am trying to combat the lies spread by those who are as so adamantly against homebirth. I feel the the truth needs to be exposed. Would you mind checking out my blog? I would be interested in your input and want to learn as much about CPMs as possible. Thank you! http://theskepticalmother.blogspot.com/2011/09/truth-about-homebirth.html

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSammy

I've never had carob and don't care to ever try it. Nothin' is coming between me and my chocolate.

I am interested in natural foods and nutrition, but there's a fine line between being an educated consumer, and downright insanity.

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura--The Sushi Snob


My husband continuously reminds me when we are cleaning up kids toys from all over the house, that I was the one who *swore* that my kids would not be the kind of kids who had every plastic piece of crap toy that came out. Now my house looks like an effing Toys R Us.
But the big secret? I sneak crappy toys into the trash can on trash pick up days. Once my daughter caught me, and lectured me that "This is a TOY not TRASH! Don't throw my toys in the trash can!!" Eh, I didn't feel like arguing that one...

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen B

Oh, Jen... we ALL clandestinely throw crap away... whether it's our kids' or our spouse's. ;) You're in *great* company there.

September 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

I am only 8 weeks into this parenting adventure but I am inspired to confess my mothering sins too...

Yesterday my baby fell asleep on my chest in the carrier and I decided to finally do something about the formidable unibrow I have been cultivating pretty much since the baby came along. I quietly went about the task in the bathroom, painting on the sugar wax, even paused before I ripped the cloth and made a mental note not to cuss like a sailor like I usually do, afterall, I am a mother now! Anyway, I rip that hair out and as my hand whizzes downward my knuckle clips my sleeping angel on the side of her head. I shout "oh SHIT" (so much for not swearing) and she wakes up screaming that "how could you?" cry and I officially feel like the worst momma ever!

It is good to know I am far from alone in parental guilt!

September 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLori

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