How do you organise different types of parents? According to the latest TikTok trend, we should do so with snacks and textures. Let us introduce you to crunchy parents, as well as scrunchie, silky, almondy, and granola ones.
We live in an age where every parenting approach is now attached to a distinct philosophy that comes with its own unique label. TikTok, just like the socialists, family therapists and mommy bloggers that came before it, has simply found new terms to package these philosophies in. And because everyone assumes that parenting duties fall on the mom, these approaches are classified as different mom types. So, without further ado, here is TikTok’s latest parenting craze unpacked. Let’s start off with crunchy mommies.
A crunchy mom, or a crunchy parent, is a caregiver who prefers natural treatments and alternative medicines over modern technology. A crunchy mother will usually choose a drug-free home birth, preserve the placenta for eating, and breastfeed not just for the six months recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), but until the child is old enough to eat solid food.
On TikTok, the typical crunchy mom is usually portrayed as a young woman trailing the aisles of Whole Foods in her Lululemon leggings, while dissecting the label on a glass of organic tahini sauce.
To gain deeper insight into this parenting approach, SCREENSHOT spoke to crunchy mom influencer Kate, who has 169,000 followers as @thatcrunchymomkate on TikTok.
“I became a crunchy mom when my son was about 4 months old. I completely changed our way of living and haven’t looked back!” she told me.
While a lot of netizens proudly proclaim their identity as a crunchy parent who profusely watches what they admit into their household, others critique this parenting approach for being unnecessarily pretentious and discerning.
Extreme versions of the crunchy parent can be anti-vaccination, anti-circumcision, or Gwyneth ‘This Smells Like My Vagina’ Paltrow. Crunchy parents are also frequently called granola parents, because granola is, well, more natural and organic than all the other breakfast cereals.
When I asked Kate about the criticism and misconceptions around crunchy parenting, she countered: “The most criticism I get for this lifestyle is people think it has to be all or nothing. That is definitely a myth. You can choose better choice options most of the time, and then if there are some times you want to be a little more lenient, that’s okay! It is not all or nothing. We should do what we can, and let go of the rest.”
Don’t identify with this approach? Don’t fret! TikTok has found three more categories parents can assign themselves to. Ever heard of a silky parent, for instance?
Silky moms, or silky parents, are people who practice a more lenient parenting style that embraces modern technology, science and, let’s be honest, convenience. Silky parents let their toddlers use iPads or pacifiers, hand out snacks with processed sugar in them, serve dino nuggets and fries for dinner, and buy the cheapest diapers because these things are expensive enough as is. You get the gist.
This is probably the most well-represented parenting type on TikTok that builds a strong contrast to the all-natural and homemade crunchy parent. However, it is frequently being slandered for being “lazy” and “careless.” For this reason, I spoke to TikTok’s resident silky mom, Sara, or @finnshotmama: “I get a lot of criticism on TikTok for being a silky mom. Everyone has an opinion about how you parent on social media even though they don’t have the whole picture. I have gotten comments about how I ‘poison’ my children because we vaccinate, use sunscreen and occasionally eat foods that have dyes in it. The criticism that bothers me the most is that I am a lazy parent. This is not true at all, and it is a bold assumption to make from a short video on social media. I know that I am making the best decisions for my family, as I believe crunchy moms are too, so hearing that is bothersome,” Sarah stated.
“But it also means more engagement on my content so I’m not that bothered,” Sarah joked.
This does not mean that there is no middle ground between these two, however. Get ready for the scrunchie parent!
A scrunchie mom, or scrunchie parent, takes elements of both the crunchy and silky parent by choosing what works best for them. A scrunchie mom, for instance, will breastfeed for as long as she can but switch to formula once it becomes too inconvenient for her. She will also try to use essential oils and other natural remedies for ailments, but pay the doctor a good visit if that doesn’t work out. They usually use all-natural cleaning products but will still be bleaching that toilet with no shame.
However, there is one parenting type left that has the TikTok sphere buzzing and that is the almond parent.
An almond parent, usually an almond mom, is a parent who forces incredibly strict or dangerously unhealthy eating habits on their children.
“I’m feeling really weak. I had, like, half an almond,” Gigi tells her mother with a shaky voice. Yolanda’s response? “Have a couple of almonds, and chew them really well.” And just like that, the term “almond mom” was born.
Now, TikTokers from far and wide are using the term to reflect on their own experiences with unhealthy eating and parents who instilled that behaviour in them.
For most almond children, this means talking about their memories of being food and fat-shamed as young kids from parents who had a very fractured understanding of healthy eating. A lot of these children have now moved on to become healthy and confident adults who share their stories to make young parents aware of the example they set for their children and the behaviour they should be modelling to them.
However, the whole concept of crunchy, silky, scrunchie and almond parents is subject to extensive criticism because it limits the definition of motherhood and excludes guardians who don’t see themselves in traditional representations of parenting.
After all, child-rearing is fluid and varies over time and with each and every offspring. So these categories might be a bit too rigid and tight to encompass the reality of what it means to be a modern parent.