A slightly above-average achiever's guide to parenting
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I've Got Enough to Worry About
January 26, 2015
One fact that has always bothered me since I've learned it, is that although the turn of the century brought electricity, gas in homes, ovens, refridgerators and other domestic technological advances, the amount of hours women spent on housework INCREASED dramatically from 1900 to 1910. The reason for this increase in household chores? Germs.
Not that germs didn't exist before--they did-- but the turn of the century was around the time that women were informed (of course by advertising executives) of germs' existence. Suddenly, it wasn't enough to keep your home tidy and free from dust and keep your kids alive, you had to banish germs as well. By providing one more thing to worry about, women were given one more product to buy, and one more thing to keep them in the home. I'm sad to report that this is one of those themes in history that continues to repeat itself. And nowhere is this theme more apparent than in parenting.
Thought you had a handle on keeping your kid happy and healthy? Well that's not enough. You need to enroll them in music classes, dance classes, enrichment programs. Is your child getting enriched enough? Heaven forbid he's bored for even a moment. You know he won't get into an Ivy League with lazy parents like you. ENRICH HIM IMMEDIATELY.
Patting yourself on the back for keeping your home clean of dust and germs? Nope, not enough, there are toxins all of your home. Smaller than germs even, and they're leaching into the dust of your house. You better buy all organic clothing, toys, and baby products for your child unless you want to POISON HER WITH YOUR CHEMICALS.
Up to your elbows in poop? Diapering and potty training is certainly difficult but you also need to make sure you're using reusable diapers otherwise you'll RUIN THE PLANET FOR YOUR CHILD.
Now listen, I'm as guilty of anyone of trying to keep up with this craze of being as safe/organic/enriching as possible for little Chewie. I mean, I shop at Whole Foods, take him to weekly music classes, and recently spent about 20 minutes the other day trying to find an almond milk that doesn't have carrageenan in it. But still, there has to be a limit.
I remember when I was first nursing Chewbacca, and it wasn't going well I was so angst ridden about the idea of feeding him formula. It wasn't just that I was a failure at nursing (which I definitely felt because, whoa, new mom emotions), but it was that I could be giving my baby something pure and healthy and free from any chemicals, and I couldn't do that.
And then, my very dear and wise friend, Chewie's "Auntie Noodle", reminded me that these feelings aren't going to stop with formula. She asked me whether I was going to stop Chewie from ever eating McDonald's french fries, or a brownie, or the super chemically delicious seasoning we put on our popcorn. And I realized that the idea of "everything in moderation, including moderation", starts for your kids even on the day that they're born. Sometimes the choice will be between the lesser of two evils.
So yes, I will continue to shop at Whole Foods, use safer skin care products, and will look for pjs without flame retardant chemicals in them. But if Chewie goes on a hunger strike and will only eat something with GMO corn in it for a week straight, you better believe I'm going to let him have that until he grows out of it. And if one day I'm just too tired to take him to music class, I might just put on Frozen at let him rot his brain for 2 hours while mom gets a break. Because a little variation is good for kids. And plus, I'd rather be present playing with my kid while he chews on toys made from China, than absent and on the computer researching where to find totally organic toys.