For the Mamas
So you have done the research, you have prepped yourself for change, and you are ready to take the leap... now how to drag the family along for your crazy ideas? I hear it a lot from mamas I meet. They have this intuition to make a dietary change for their kids to help with an allergy, ear issue, or behavioral need. They get a feeling to throw out all of their old cleaning products overnight and replace with natural cleansers that don't burn the eyes, nose, and throat. They have that mama gut drive to sell it all and hit the road traveling in an RV. OK, maybe this one isn't for everyone, but you never know! And, yes, I know some of you dads out there took the lead in big changes for your family, or you truly came about it collectively as a unit. But, for the mamas that can relate, and in time for Mother's Day, this one's for you!
It's called mother's intuition for a reason. You grew those little beings in your body and birthed them into this world and you know a thing or two about their needs. Yes, they teach us so very much, and sometimes lead us on the charge, but at the end of the day you do know what is best because you know them inside and out. Over the past several years I have learned so very much from my village of girlfriends and mamas, and along the way I have found my voice as a mama, following more and more what feels right, even if it is opposite of conventional. A step at a time I trusted my intuition to know that the foods I was feeding my family were impacting their health. I mean only a mama knows how often her babes "go" in a day and what is normal and what is not. So, when you decide to make a dietary change and all of sudden everyone's digestive tracts start functioning regularly, well you know you are on the right path. Sometimes it is trial and error when it comes to food, but since we are what we eat, and us mamas by majority make up the consumer spending power in this country, the changes we make to going greener with our food for our family is huge.
When my family went gluten and casein free (GFCF) five years ago, we didn't know anyone else personally that had done it, and yes it was hard, but completely doable. After months of research and finally trusting my strong intuitive pull, I actually told my family that we were going GFCF for my birthday, cold turkey. And, it just happened that we were also taking one of our first trips in a rental RV from FL to TX to see family. Now that wasn't easy, but sometimes you just take the leap knowing that it feels right. The choice for us was to start looking at food as truly our preventative healthcare and start going to the source of what fuels us instead of only treating symptoms. We also had taken out all artificial dyes and preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and we were taking one step at a time at replacing all of our foods to organic, and down the road also Non-GMO. That's a lot of label reading, but we discovered that once we found foods we liked and that were good for us it was easy to add those to the list and then we didn't have to read those labels anymore. We also feel good about buying local wherever we are, supporting organic farms, and in turn preserving our soils and groundwater for future generations. So, if you are feeling pulled to make a change to your family's diet, want to make a difference in their health or that of the future of food, then do it. A mama's intuition is seldom wrong. You know your family best. It may not be gluten or dairy, but maybe a feeling that those shiny conventional apples just may be building up pesticides in your little ones and that over time may contribute to some unforeseen health problem. Or, you are one of the many, many families with a child on the spectrum and you are looking to see if food can make a difference in your child's behavior or sensitivities or health. All I can say is trust your mama gut and just try it.
And, maybe it's not food, but those cleaning products or toiletries you use everyday to clean your home and brood that you are questioning. That eczema or asthma or constant cough keeps at your sweet little and keeps you up at night and you have that mama bear protective nature to want to help them through it. So, look at what you are putting on their skin, or what you are cleaning the counters with and decide if you could make one switch to trying a different product or even a handmade salve that has less of an impact. Oftentimes, a product with less ingredients (and ones you can pronounce) is easier on your skin and body and health because you are better able to break it down through your skin, or nose or throat. Mamas have been cleaning with vinegar and water forever, and if your crawling baby licks at the floor after wiping it with vinegar, all is ok. Think of all the toxins our little ones would ingest if they were instead licking floors just cleaned with Clorox wipes. The point is that if you know for certain what you are using is safe, then you can safely use that product with your kids and family without fear you are impacting their health. If you can't even pronounce the ingredients in your kids' shampoo, then you really are taking a gamble at what you are putting directly on their heads.
My grandmother once asked me why I wanted to go "back to the basics" and give up so much? I think she was asking because she didn't want to come out and call me crazy for moving my family into a 256 square feet home on wheels, but also because she didn't understand all of my "natural" choices over all the conveniences and affordability of conventional products. For me, it came down to choosing what was natural because it felt right, and I knew I was making safe choices for my family. I also didn't necessarily spend more on these products, I actually saved money by going green and buying less. Plus, the health ramifications from all of our modern day convenience products has led many to want to go "back to the basics" because you just didn't see the increase in disease that you do now back when my grandmother was raising kids. She just shook her head at me, but I knew she also understood that a mama knows best. And, mothering today's generation is different than back in the day mostly because there are so many products out there to choose from, you have to decipher what is food and what is just a chemical concoction, or what is a cleaning product or simply a marketing gimmick to get you to spend more. It can be confusing and at times feel like too much to wade through. But, let your intuition guide you. If you try juicing and feel great, go ahead and sneak in some juices into your family meals. Kale smoothies are favorites with my crew because mama knows just how nutrient dense it is and the kids like seeing it all turn green but still taste like strawberries and bananas, or chocolate and peanut butter.
So, for all of you mamas out there, this Mother's Day, give yourself the gift of trusting your mama gut. If you are feeling out a change to go green with your diet or home products or lifestyle, go ahead and do it for yourself, feel the benefits, and know that you do know what is best for your family. When you are confident in those changes, you will naturally lead your family to knowing and trusting in the same. Back when I had my first baby, I only wish I had trusted my gut more. I still followed it, but resisted myself the whole way, so wasn't confident in my choices. Seek out support for the changes you are inching toward. Learn how other families have done it, find support from other mamas in the same boat, and above all else, know that you know what is best for your family. And, not every family is the same or has the same needs. Trust and you will be guided. Because mama always knows best.
And, you, too, can go green with the Eco Womb! Let's connect, have a mama walk, discuss our kiddos, trade recipes, and support one another in the conscious change to going greener! This mama is looking forward to it! Happy Mother's Day!
-by Angela Malson, Eco Womb Mama Bear, as seen in Fulltime Families Magazine article, May 2013