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Mom to Mom: Overwhelmed by clean living?

Posted by Becca on 6/29/2014 to Green Living
clean living

Do you ever get overwhelmed by clean living?

My son was sick a month or two ago. I posted something about it on Facebook asking for prayers and advice. I received lots of the normal well­ wishes, baltic amberempathies, and advice. It was all very comforting. Then, I received a very, well­ meaning message from one of my friends giving me all this great advice about Essential Oils and how certain combinations would be useful to my child. I loved what she had to say but I’m not going to lie—it was overload for me at the time. It was too much information, yet not enough because I had no foundational knowledge about the matter and it left my head spinning. I wished I could be that perfect mom who used essential oils but I didn’t really know where to start—even though she’d just given me like five recipes to use for Baby Bear’s different symptoms. I’m that way with other things too. For instance, I’m really interested in homesteading.

line drying laundry Problem is, I don’t know much about gardening, and there really isn’t room in our tiny yard to raise chickens since we live within the town limits. I’ve had a garden every year since owning a home and each year it is less and less of a failure, but I’ll never be that perfect gardener who uses every square inch of her property both vertically and horizontally to provide food for her family for the entire year. I look into it and research it, but I’m also overwhelmed by it. There is so much to learn and I know almost nothing. Though I dream of being entirely independent from society and making my own food, soap, and candles; I know that’s not gonna happen.

Diet is another one that can be overwhelming. So many different voices come to you with authority saying things like, “Eat only whole grains!” or “Don’t eat grains,” or “you should never eat gluten,” or “stay away from red meat.” Now, I mostly stick with a whole food diet with organic beef and chicken to avoid hormones and antibiotics, but part of me never feels that I’m doing enough when I see that a friend has successfully stayed with her Paleo diet or that a colleague who’s gone totally Vegan.

Frankly, things like diet, essential oils, gardening, cloth diapering, going paperless, homemade remedies, staying organic, or a pesticide­free, bee­friendly yard are all great; but it’s easy to get caught in the trap that if you don’t do them all, you’re not doing enough for the environment or worse, that you are a bad parent. I would love to know all the edible weeds that reside in my yard and I wish I had time to be out there foraging for them and using them to bolster the health of my family. I wish I were an expert canner and could successfully preserve all my homegrown foods. I can’t do all that. I do what I can, and little by little what I’m capable of increases. If I decided to take a huge chunk out of the clean living lifestyle and do everything at once, I’d probably get burned out and exhausted and go back to using paper towels and eating from the drive thru at McDonalds.

Our clean(ish) lifestyle started back with cloth diapers and continues to grow organically from there. This is basically how it’s gone so far: Why use disposable wipes when we’re not throwing diapers away? Let’s get cloth wipes. Why not save money even more money and use cloth napkins and paper towels? And skip paper dishes? Why not? Did you know that bugs don’t like cayenne pepper? Let’s sprinkle it on our plants to keep them away. Clothesline drying isn’t so bad after all! I think I can get the hang of this on a regular basis. Buying organic beef and milk isn’t all that expensive if you plan it right. Let’s commit to that. Maybe we’ll be better about eating all organic vegetables later on in life, but for now that can wait. Did you know how easy it is to make your own deodorant? Cheap too. Can’t hurt to try it. You know what?

We’ve been eating only whole foods for awhile now. I think we can afford to cheat a little and buy that box of Oreos!

We’re taking baby steps. It doesn’t seem like we’ve come that far when we look at yesterday or last month, but when we look back to five years ago, the huge change we’ve made step by step and bite by bite is huge. Essential oils is next on my “to learn” list. My friend down the street is always toting hers around, but she learned like me, a little at a time. She was overwhelmed at first but started with just one oil—one remedy. Now, she drops by my house and just happens to have a spray bottle of her magic bug repellent that she uses to keep the mites away from my mailbox. She’s not pushy about it, but she happens to mention the ingredients in passing and then moves on. One day, when I’m not overwhelmed, I’ll sit down with her and ask for her favorite EO remedies. Maybe things will snowball from there as they’ve been doing all along. For now, I don’t mind a couple of red bugs hanging around my bricks if it means I can keep my sanity. I’m going to continue to take this one manageable step at a time!

Do you ever become overwhelmed by all the green, clean and healthy choices you're trying to make for your family?