Suburban Housewife or Earth Mother Hippie?

Who am I supposed to be? Who do I want to be? 

Who SHOULD I be?

to-be-yourself

My mind is a world unto itself.

When I relay my dreams to my husband he is most always incredulous. They are full stories, with characters, odd scenarios and they have a clear beginning and end. When I give myself over to my little gray cells to contemplate a subject, my mind can turn tirelessly for days while I still go about my daily activities.  I have no choice, my mind just needs to work it out, regardless of my thoughts on the matter. Today I am still turning over a thought line that started many days ago.

It all started with my IPAD.

I have a Facebook account with zero information on it. I signed up to see some photos of my friends new baby 8 years ago and once I started getting “friend” requests from people I barely knew and others I no longer wanted to know, I never returned. That doesn’t stop Facebook from coming through my email and I haven’t taken the time to decipher how one leaves Facebook. If one can.

Laying in bed I checked my email, Facebook wanted to know “Do you know these people?”. 

And there he was, a former, hmmm, not boyfriend, but more than friend? Whatever he was in relationship terms, he was a dear friend whom I shared some amazing experiences with. But…he was different now.  We spent countless hours talking about dreams, plans, ideas and ideology. We leaned more toward the live in the bush of Alaska and sew our own hemp clothes. Nature was like a religion to us, hugging trees was no joke and our best moments were spent sitting completely surrounded by the works of Mother Earth.

Finbrooke 048

That is not the man I see on Facebook.

He lives in a perfectly suburban home complete with decorative accessories, his wife is the picture perfect kind, makeup, scarf and earrings for every snap of the phone camera.

Where was the cabin in the woods, the organic veg garden, there aren’t even any trees in his .17 acre backyard. Did he change? Or did he bend?

Part of me was envious of his life. The idea of living in a new suburban home with a tiny backyard has always sounded good to me. Then I would have time to decorate each corner of the mantle just so. Salon appointments would be more regular than veterinarian visits and that frumpy feeling I seem to have day in and day out would no longer exist.

But then there’s the other me, the me who still wants to live on a giant partial of 50 acres, where you will find clean sustainably raised food and dirty kids in second hand clothes (because health and happiness are not found in a  J Crew dress or bottle of Purell).

The fact is, I want them both. I want an apartment in the city with a standing pedicure appointment and a farm in the country with a fairy forest to ramp through hand in hand barefoot with my girls. Whichever way I “bend” it will always include a French Country farm kitchen, toile and an English tea set. This much has always been clear.

my_fairy_forest_by_indojo-d3gu8l8

So who am I? A friend once dubbed me a  “Hippie Princess”.  Although I’ve always thought that was an apt description, it really doesn’t answer the churning in my brain.

Although in my youth these questions were fun to explore, as an adult and parent they seem disconcerting. I should already know these answers, how else am I to parent without a strong sense of self. Who am I? What a  ridiculous question for a woman of my age.

The reason for these questions becoming almost unbearable is simple, I’m looking at real estate.

For the money we can spend…..

we could get a nice little suburban home in a pretty little neighborhood.

a b

Or….a storybook house with 15 acres in need of major renovation, that could only be afforded over time. 

Storybook House

What would you choose?

If I was worrying about feeding  my children while making a 5 mile trek to my village with 50 pounds of water strapped to my back, I would not have these thoughts.

*sigh* , definitely a first world problem.

 

 

Advertisements

BPA Free is Still TOXIC!

 Some days I wish I didn’t enjoy research so much.

baby_sippy_cup

I do and did buy mostly wood and non toxic toys. But on occasion I allow BPA free items into my home and into the bodies of my dear little ones. Mostly in the form of sippy cups.

Not only was BPA replaced with an equally toxic, possibly more potent chemical, it’s a chemical that could have generational effects.

Oh God help us, what did we do to our children and grandchildren?

Manufacturers Replace BPA with Still Highly Toxic BPS | GreenMedInfo.

There is something we can do about this.

First, sign the below petition and Spread the Word. Tell every Mother and soon to be Mom you know.  I’m a research junkie who spent hours researching safe alternatives for my kiddos and this was carefully swept under the rug.

Tell the EPA: stop letting companies replace one toxic chemical with another.

Second,  stop buying plastic. That is an easy thing to do since most children do not need plastic. For me the sippy cup was and still is necessary. My children are rambunctious and no amount of watching is going to prevent that moment when little one tosses her cup on the floor. There are lots of alternatives. Some are pricey, but you really only need one per child.

non plastic sippy cup

These are better as the liquid doesn’t sit in plastic and the Cupppow is a bit more economical.

sippy lideio

Here is a wonderful site with plenty of  “safe”  drinking solutions for you child.

Cuppow and EIO are available on Amazon.

I have a basic WordPress site. I can not have affiliates or sponsors. I get nothing if you click these links. I am only offering up information. 

Chemical Fears of A Mother

When I discovered I was expecting my first child I went about pregnancy much as I would have any other situation. Educate myself on what I should know, make decisions and move in their direction without prejudice or fear. Well, that is not entirely honest, fear has always been a part of my life, but never in control. I have always acted with courage. Whether right or wrong, once I made a decision I moved forward. I once walked in a Subway and loudly demanded to know who had left their dog tied outside in 10 degree weather for over an hour. When several large construction workers in line turned to look at me, it gave me only a moments pause. Turns out it was a woman in the store next door and those men were just as outraged and put the fear of God in her more than I ever could. I have always experienced fear, but if anything it was a motivator.

Until I had my children.

Now fear can cripple me in an instant and turn me into a self doubting mess. Nothing more so than discovering the toxic chemicals that are commonly found in every household, on every grocery store aisle, in car seats, clothes, pillows, mattresses, couches, fake Christmas trees….I could go on and on. They are everywhere and can not be avoided. Where do I shop, what do I buy, what is safe, what is it doing to my children?  My children are getting poisoned everyday, by the things I buy and bring to them.  It makes me shudder.

My Husband got me thinking about this when he offered our outgrown car seat to a expecting Mother at work. She was beside herself. She couldn’t find a  car seat  that wasn’t treated with flame retardant. She was beginning to experience the fear too. My heart went out to her. As my Husband began to relay all the various surprising facts about seemingly harmless products she began making notes. There were things she had never thought about. ” My wife has a whole list, are you sure you want to know these things?” he asked. “Yes” she demanded. So Megan, this post is for you.

There are a great many chemicals, but for today I’m going to cover just 2. In my opinion the 2 most prevalent and noxious chemicals and what to do about them.

Flame Retardants

 This chemical is linked to cancer, reproductive concerns, lower IQ’s and organ damage

Found In

Mattresses, pillows, children’s sleepwear, comforters, all upholstered furniture (including children’s furniture), children’s car seats, curtains, fabric blinds, carpet, car interiors, citrus drinks ( Gatorade, Fresca etc), as well as many electronics. Their are more products, but these are the ones that touch our lives on a daily basis. If it is filled with stuffing it will be treated. Keep that in mind.

What you can do

Buy Preowned! Flame retardants will off gas over time. Some research says around the year mark the majority of flame retardants are gone. The one exception is the label “inherently flame resistant”. This is a synthetic flame retardant bonded to the thread before the fabric is made. It will never off gas. Children’s products and furniture can all be easily purchased through Ebay, garage sales, Craig’s list and thrift stores. Ask for hand me downs and check classifieds. I know for some people this is bothersome. They want to run out and purchase all new things for their precious child because they believe this is the safest thing to do. When in fact it is the opposite.

Car seats… *sigh*… this is about the saddest new purchase you will make for your little one. There is no way to avoid your new car seat being full of toxic chemicals. There are some companies such as Orbit that are better, but not by much and they are pricey. Check  http://www.healthystuff.org/findings.080311.carseats.php for the health rating. Be aware they do not test for all types of flame retardants, but it is the best resource I have found. Also check Etsy for handmade car seat covers. This will help minimize skin contact. Take off the cover and wash it with a free and clear non toxic detergent and let the whole thing sit outside for as long as you possibly can before use. Once installed air out your car as often as possible. Purchasing a used car seat can be scary, I will grant you that.  You’ll have to depend on luck to find the one that has the safety rating you want. Hand me downs are nice, because you can be sure it hasn’t been banged about and abused. Check recall notices at  http://www.safekids.org/product-recalls  and give it a good look over for anything loose or missing.

Purchase 100% cotton snug fitting pajamas. These are not treated.

If you must buy new ask for the display model. Most places will gladly let you have the display model if you simply explain your child has a chemical sensitivity and the chemicals on the display model have had a chance to dissipate. Most people will jump at the chance to help you. It’s not a lie, it is a truth, but it does imply that your child has a special need. If this bothers you then tell them the whole truth. It might work too. I tried that and the sales rep looked at me like I was a loon and was even less helpful after that. Give all new items a good go over with a free & clear soap and put it outside to dry. Let it sit in the clean air and sunshine to off gas.

Check your labels. Do not give your child a fruity beverage without first looking for the ingredient brominated vegetable oil or BVO( flame retardant). Many companies are beginning to remove it such as Pepsi, but several have not. I know! This one was a shocker, flame retardant in beverages?! It’s used to make sure the citrus bits don’t make the beverage cloudy. Seriously.

Formaldehyde

This chemical is linked to cancer, allergies and a myriad of respiratory concerns

Found In

Pressed wood(most inexpensive furniture is made of pressed wood). It is abundant in new homes, as it is found in timber, cabinetry, insulation, caulk, paint, polyurethane, insulation, carpet glue etc.  Also found in household glue, baby shampoo, baby body wash, adult hair care products, most all antibacterial products, many bar soaps, sunblock, cosmetics, baby wipes, toothpaste, many household cleaning products, facial tissues, sanitary napkins and the list goes on. This  is my most hated chemical. It’s in everything.

What you can do

Make your own household cleaning products. Type in “natural homemade cleaning products” in your search bar and you will find a wealth of ways to clean your home better, cheaper and healthier. I clean my house using only vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice,  free & clear organic dish soap and tea tree oil. For just a few minutes and a few dollars you will feel like a homemaking super star.

Buy eco friendly or organic personal care items. Be careful, there is a lot of “greenwashing”. A simple plant derived ingredient or one organic ingredient allows manufacturers to label as such. You are going to have to do your research here. I wish there was a list somewhere, but there isn’t. My best research for baby items is Mommy sites. Mothers are always happy to share their research and experiences.

Buy preowned furniture and homes! Formaldehyde will also off gas.  If you must have new then once again opt for display or older models. Buy the RV, boat or car that has been sitting on the lot off gassing. Or look for model homes or new built homes where the deal fell through.

If you already bought that new home keep at least one window open in your home at all times and buy some plants. ( be careful if you have cats, they will eat them and a great many are toxic to kitties). Also you can “burn out” some of the formaldehyde by cranking up your heat for 24 hours, then open up all the windows and air it out for 24 hours and repeat for a week. This requires  a vacation and a helpful friend or neighbor. But even a full 48 hours is better than nothing.

Read your labels, sadly it won’t say formaldehyde. That would be too easy. Here is what you should look for.

  • Formalin,
  • Methanal
  • Oxymethyline
  • Urea
  • 1.3-* Doxetane
  • Quaternium 15
  • Methylaledyde
  • Methylene Oxide
  • Formic Aldehyde
  • Oxomethane Formalin
  • Phenol Formaldehyde
  •  2-bromo
  • 2-nitropropane
  •  1,3 diol (Bronopol or BNPD)
  •  DMDM hydantion
  •  Diazolidinyl urea.

There are a great many dangerous chemicals in our lives and it is impossible to keep them all out. I will be covering more of these lurking chemicals, unfortunately there are just too many for one post and too little time to get it done in one day. But there are ways to minimize them, it starts with education and then changing the way we shop and sadly the way we see the world. Nothing is as it seems.

  • New is seldom better
  • Eco friendly can be a lie
  • Antibacterial is unhealthy
  • Just because it’s for babies doesn’t mean manufacturers care more about their ingredients (this one was particularly hard for me to stomach)
  • READ YOUR LABELS!

Links

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/01/11/brominated-vegetable-oil-in-us-soda.aspx

http://rt.com/usa/children-furniture-toxic-chemicals-049/

http://greensciencepolicy.org/topics/flame-retardants/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cancer-linked-flame/

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/formaldehyde.html

http://hpd.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/household/search?tbl=TblChemicals&queryx=50-00-0

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/formaldehyde/

http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2013/03/13/green-thrifty-cleaning-products/

http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm205999.htm

http://www.novamagazine.com.au/article_archive/2010/2010-07-thehiddenpoison.htm