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This last year, I’m not going to lie, it was rough. I know I mentioned it before and I don’t want to dwell, but it was the kind of rough that made an impact, not a victim. I was challenged in so many ways. I was forced to look at my life from a different perspective. I evaluated my parenting, how I was doing things and what I wanted to do and could do differently. There were plenty of realizations and questionable moments that kept me awake at night, that sent me searching for answers and solutions and options first thing in the morning. There were days that I struggled with the challenges of being a mom of 5 but was refreshed and ready to take it all on – because that was my job.

For me, it didn’t matter what road I had to choose or what obstacles were thrown at me, my job was to be the best mom to these kids and to provide them with a wonderful and loving life. No.Matter.What. It’s my responsibility to do the best that I possibly can – and this means being flexible, learning every single day, changing things up, being willing to admit my faults and pick myself up and try again, to be aware, to be kind and loving and gentle and nurturing  even on the hard days. And there are hard days. It has nothing to do with being a mom of 5. Being a parent is freaking hard work.

This family is the.most.important.thing to me. I take an enormous amount of pride in all of us. I try really hard to help us all work together and keep the day to day moving smoothly. I cannot imagine what my life would be without any of us in it. I have to do everything that I possibly can to preserve our lives and keep us together for as long as possible.

Part of that is becoming the kind of mom that I never thought I’d be. Well, maybe not never, but it didn’t completely appeal to me when I first became a mom. As I’ve gotten older and learned more and forced myself to not take everything at face value but to trust in what I can learn on my own, I’ve changed my thoughts more away from an “everything in moderation” mentality.

Moderation is good, for a lot of things, but not everything. The foods we eat, the products we use, their kind of moderation is killing us. So now, we’re changing that up. I’m transforming into the eco-mom. To be vague for now, things that I never really cared about or just accepted as “good enough” now really shock the hell out of me. I want to shake people for using bleach in their homes and for allowing formaldehyde on their brand new babies. I really wish someone would have told me how horrible these things are when I was a brand new mom. Now, I can’t shut it off. I can’t stop learning more and wanting better and feeling drawn to sharing with the world. If we accept the in moderation mentality for some things, we’re really shortening our lives with our children and families. Nobody wants that.

Every day I find new things to do and make and try and eat. It’s overwhelming and consuming but it’s so exciting! I feel empowered and in control of our lives. I  know that not all change happens quickly and that sometimes it’s a process. So, we’re in the process. Some things, like no more bleach, was a no-brainer. Other things, like getting away from processed foods, that’s a bit tougher – but we’re working on it.

We only have this life. This ONE life. There are no do-overs. But there are do-betters!

So while this year has been tough, I’m so thankful. I’m appreciative of the change in perspective. I know this is all going to lead to something bigger and better for my kids and my family. And me. I like this process and who I’m becoming. I try really hard to not be an extremist. I’m really understanding of people’s choices and beliefs, but I can’t help but want to share the knowledge. An activist of sorts? Maybe.

But at the heart of it all, I’m just a mom. Just an everyday kind of mom, trying to be a great mom, trying to raise great kids and have great family, and to do great things. This is my job. And I love it!