Before I had kids, “living naturally” wasn’t a concept I could understand let alone be interested in. I never thought twice about the chemicals in my household cleaners. When we were sick, we’d run to the pharmacy to get whatever was prescribed. Nutritional labels? Those were there for the weirdos who didn’t trust anyone. Eating healthy meant grabbing the low-fat sour cream and choosing cereal that said “made with whole grains”.
That all began to change when I assumed the responsibility of caring for someone else – someone unable to make choices for himself. The very fact that my son relied on me, not only for nutrition but for his very well being in every aspect of his life, caused me to question every choice I made. I began to look up ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce products that were advertised as “gentle”, the cause and effect of toxins we used on a daily basis. It led to more and more “research” to the point that I became so completely overwhelmed at all the changes I needed to make. I simply couldn’t do it all so why even try.
I remember one day at the grocery store watching as my husband was picking products up one by one. He would read the label and, in frustration, shove it back on the shelf and go on to the next one. I watched his frustration grow until he turned to me and said, “I wish you would’ve never started learning about what’s in our food! I can’t get anything!” That’s when I realized that I was in over my head. Instead of looking at all the things I shouldn’t do/buy anymore, I needed to focus on one thing at a time that I COULD do.
“Natural Living” is not a destination. It’s a journey. It’s not about arriving at this perfect state of living. It’s about doing the best that you can with what you’ve got… taking it one step at a time and making one change as you can. I look back and I’m struck by how far I’ve come yet I realize I’ve still got a long way to go. If you’re like me and you jumped in the deep end head first only to find yourself flailing around nearly drowning then take a step back. Take ten steps back if you need to until you can breathe again. Make one change at a time and DON’T allow that familiar feeling of guilt to tell you “you know better”.
Okay, so you know you should never eat fast food again, but you’ve just left an appointment that took way longer than it should have so you’re kids are crying and hungry. You didn’t have time to pack a lunch before you left because you were dealing with a toddler tantrum over socks that don’t fit right. So, by all means, run through the nearest drive-thru! Get everyone chicken nuggets and enjoy them! Maybe next time you’ll remember to pack a lunch the night before. Maybe not. But don’t stress about it.
You might be the parent who does it all from cooking every meal from organic ingredients to cloth diapering. You might be the parent who just made a first leap by switching to Honey Dew Naturals deodorant getting rid of some household chemicals. Or, like me, you might be somewhere in between. But rest assured that wherever you are on this journey of natural living, you are not alone and you are doing well! Take it one step at a time and you will find that your choices become habits and, before you know it, your habits will naturally become your way of life. Just. Keep. Going!