As I write this, I’m sitting in my office. I have just finished nursing my newborn (again) — he comes to work with me all the time. I have changed his homemade cloth diaper, and he’s asleep in the Moby wrap on me.
I’m also eating lunch, which is homemade roasted veggie quesadillas (on homemade, whole wheat tortillas) with homemade pico de gallo, and water kefir.
As I wear my baby and eat, I’m searching for like-minded blogs to connect with for promotional opportunities — that’s my job.
Does it all sound impressive? What if I tell you I fed my sourdough starter this morning, stretched before my detox bath, and plan to bottle kombucha and water kefir when I get home tonight? That is, before I give my kids their all-natural tinctures and tuck them into bed…with the newborn bed-sharing with me, of course.
It shouldn’t sound impressive. Because it isn’t. It’s just my life.
Natural Living Isn’t About Being Perfect
Somehow, we’ve gotten this odd idea that living more naturally is awesome, and we should all do it.
Okay, that’s not so odd. Living naturally is pretty awesome. And honestly, we could all do a little less junk food and a little more exercise and mindfulness. Right? We’d feel healthier and be less stressed out.
The odd part is that living naturally has become “in vogue.” It’s cool now. So everyone wants to strive to live more naturally…yet, constantly feels like they’re not doing it ‘right,’ or they’re failing.
Failing because cloth diapering didn’t work.
Failing because breastfeeding didn’t happen.
Failing because they swung by Starbucks or McDonald’s this morning.
They end up feeling constantly stressed out and fearful about all the things that are going wrong. They feel like everyone is looking down on them, because they can’t make this natural-lifestyle work. And they feel like maybe they’re getting back on top if they hit the farmer’s market over the weekend and make a salad with all those locally-grown vegetables.
Do you ever feel like this? Like natural living is some kind of competition? We’re all in it to prove we’re completely natural and we should never do “that” (insert whatever you want — eat fast food, visit a mainstream doctor, use a stroller, etc.).
Honestly? Stop it.
And The “Most Popular” Natural Mama Award Goes to…
Natural living isn’t a competition, and it isn’t about who’s cool. It’s not for the “in” crowd.
Actually, it’s just…how some people live.
I didn’t have home births so I could brag about it or get some kind of reward later on. (Trust me, as happy as I am with having birthed at home, it wouldn’t be worth it just to get accolades from others. It’s hard.)
I don’t use cloth diapers, or grow food, or make herbal remedies to try to prove something to other people. Because you know what? Those other people really don’t care.
In reality, I do these things because I think they’re better (for me), or because they’re easier.
I have to work…and the simplest way to do it is to have my baby in the Moby wrap. He doesn’t want to be put down; he’ll just wake up. I don’t want to deal with pumping and washing pump parts and bottles, so he comes with me. And I don’t work at home while someone else watches him most of the time because my toddler would just come in the room repeatedly to “help” me. This is what’s easiest for me and best for my family. (I know not everyone has this option and I honestly wish they did.)
That’s it, you guys.
I make the choices I make because I actually prefer them. It doesn’t matter what others are or are not doing. I don’t care if someone else judges my choices as “amazing” and strives to do the same, or if they judge me as “stupid” and think I don’t deserve to have children at all. (And believe me, I’ve had both extremes.) I’m not going to change.
My family makes natural choices because they work for us. No more and no less.
Life is Not a Competition
Please, stop worrying about what others are or aren’t doing. Their opinions of you and your choices don’t matter.
Not one of us are doing life “perfectly” and there is no perfect. If someone’s judging you for something you do, then maybe they ought to look more closely at their own imperfections and stop worrying about others.
Just, be yourself. Most of us do a mix of different things that some might consider ‘natural’ or ‘mainstream’ or who the heck knows what. Just embrace what works for you.
Natural Living is Not About Fear
If you’ve done any research, you know there are lots of scary stories out there.
All the toxins in foods are killing you! Vaccines are killing you! If you don’t feed your baby only breastmilk followed by baby-led weaning at the exact right time, it’s practically going to destroy his/her long-term health!
Just stop it.
There’s good information out there for sure, about why certain choices may be better/healthier/safer than others. And, the non-fear-tactic stuff is worth a read, so that you know why you’re doing what you’re doing. We all learn new things…and try new ways. That’s a good thing, growing and changing over time.
But if you’re still making a choice to do or not do something because of fear? You’ve missed the point.
Read information. Try things out. Find the way that makes you feel right, the way that your instincts are saying “yes…this is it.”
Am I that attachment parent who literally baby-wears 24/7 and would sooner die than use a stroller? Absolutely not. My older babies and toddlers use strollers all the time. That’s what works for us…I’m not trying to earn a “crunchy card” here. (and neither should you.)
Bottom line: if your choices are stressing you out and you feel pressure to somehow be more “perfect,” you’re doing it wrong. How you live life should make you feel (mostly) happy, safe, and free.
So embrace it. Natural/crunchy, or not. You are who you are, and where you are. And that’s okay. Live your life in a way that works for you and your family, not based on what your neighbor thinks you should do. Life’s too short to feel uneasy and lack peace about this stuff!
Do you worry about being “enough” with natural living?
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