It came to my attention this morning and has in various ways in the past, how many moms feel constantly overburdened by guilt about the choices they are making on behalf of their children. The inundation of articles on Facebook and the internet, as well as the half-informed opinions of hundreds of well meaning onlookers to everyone’s private lives. It’s a lot. And one of the biggest sources of this guilt comes from the things that we buy for our children: snacks, toys, shampoos, sunscreens, clothes. There seems to be something to worry about everywhere you turn. And here’s the truth– there is!
There ARE toxic chemicals in most of the packaged snacks that are marketed to our children. There are unnecessary pollutants added to our favorite shampoo and sunscreen brands (I’m looking at you Johnson & Johnsons, Neutrogena). We do have to wash our clothes before wearing them because of formaldehyde. We do have to be vigilant about EVERYTHING. And it’s exhausting. Anyone who tells you it isn’t exhausting is a liar. It’s hard and frustrating and confusing and lonely to be a mom wading through the onslaught of information available to us. Information that is degraded with corporate funded “studies” and paid advertising masquerading as “research”.
But that doesn’t change the fact that we can’t give up the fight. We can’t take our frustration and exhaustion out on the choices we make for our kids. I know it is terrible to have to read product labels. Who has time for that? No one. But we have to make time. We just have to. Don’t do it out of guilt. Don’t ever let another mother, newscaster, blogger, parent, or friend make you feel guilt about not being a good enough mother. You are a good enough mother. You are. Let go of the guilt.
The guilt becomes a stumbling block. The guilt will allow you to make excuses that justify giving up. The guilt will comfort you when you say “Screw it. I can’t win. I’m feeding them the hotdogs.” The guilt will cause you to settle for less than what you KNOW you are capable of.
What we need instead is anger. Not at one another but at the companies and politicians that have paved the way for such CRAPPY, TOXIC products to have literally FLOODED the marketplace. We should be ANGRY about that. Angry in a way that makes us come together as a force, as a powerful force of change for the good of ALL of our families. (I’m using capitalizations a lot right now because this pisses me off.) Why are products acceptable here that aren’t even allowed in Europe? Why is there still MSG is pretty much ALL of our food? Why is the meat and dairy industry FUNDING most of our “health science” research? Why are cancer causing ingredients allowed in shampoo that we use on NEWBORN BABIES? It’s not okay! And mamas, here’s the shitty shitty thing– it isn’t our fault, but it is our problem to deal with. For our generation, this is one of the highest aims that we can hold together as fierce defenders of our families– let’s not settle for this shit.
The truth that any marketing executive can tell you is this– mothers make most of the spending choices for their families. We buy the shampoos. We buy the sunscreens. We buy the hot dogs. The processed cheese. The snack packs. We’re the ones giving these corporations the money that keeps them alive. We have to stop. We have to get angry enough and stay angry enough that it compels us to change.
Guilt never produced any kind of meaningful change in anyone’s life. Stop wasting your time feeling guilty. Stop feeling like other mom’s are judging you, are against you, are waiting for you to fail. There is no time here for anyone’s guilt. If you have been spending time feeling guilt, I’m asking you to let it go. That guilt will only keep you caught in a cycle that isn’t serving anyone. This isn’t your fault. Instead, let’s get angry at the real culprits together. Let’s become determined and fierce on behalf of our children and demand a cleaner future for everyone.