How many times have you looked in the mirror and thought, "I wish my lips were fuller" or "if I could only lose 10 pounds" or "why does my hair have to be so thin"? We are certainly our own worse critic. Our society has become obsessed with the way things look. This includes our bodies, our homes, cars, lawn, food and even beauty products.
Think back to a time when brand named clothing wasn't important (this would be before my time as I had to have an Eclipse sweater. Gawd!). As long as you were clean and presentable - no one judged. Homes were modest and functional. Women weren't scouring through images on pinterest trying to make their homes match the latest decorating trend. Men went out and cut the lawn. No services came to spray chemicals on the sparse grass that the kids played on. Food was homegrown or purchased locally. A few bruises on an apple. No problem. Cucumbers are small this year? That's okay. They'll make great pickles.
Don't get me wrong I am as guilty as the next when it comes to wanting things to be perfect.
This is a typical day. First, I spend way too much time every morning putting on makeup and fixing my hair. Then I'll stand in my closet and profess that I have nothing to wear even though it is overflowing with clothing. Now it's time for breakfast, I grab a banana off the counter but first inspect it for any bruises.
Well. I hate bruised fruit. Even though I'm sure it tastes fine - but it looks icky.
I look down at my shoes and notice that they are looking worn even though they are comfortable as I slip my 'need a pedicure toes' into them. I get into my reliable car that has gotten me safely and comfortably from Point A to Point B for over 7 years and realize that it really needs a good vacuuming or maybe better yet it's time for a shiny new car! I arrive at the office and notice that someone left their huge hand print on the door. Again.
The stress all this presentation brings. And I don't even have little kids anymore. I really feel for you young moms out there. I feel like you are being pressured into creating this illusion of perfectly, themed, crafty, organized child rearing. It all starts with the Gender Reveal Party. What the heck is that all about? When I had my kids, the gender reveal was the doctor exclaiming "It's a boy!"
Oh, and what about the birthday parties you mama's are expected to throw every year for your children? I've seen less event planning at weddings. Then there's Naughty Elf, and elaborate scrap booking, and special clothing for important holidays (like St. Patrick's Day) that you stayed up until midnight to create. When my kids were little I felt accomplished if their diapers were clean and they were fed. I'm not sure I could live up to today's parenting standards and still have my sanity.
But I digress.
The reason I am on this tangent today is because I have entered this new realm of Natural Products. I have been working on creating products that are void of chemicals and nasty things that can give you cancer. I see why skin care companies have resorted to using chemicals. Chemicals make lotions softer. Chemicals are lot cheaper than wholesome natural products. Chemicals also keep products from separating (so you don't need to stir or shake before use). Chemicals give skin care products a life longer than I've been driving my car. Chemicals give products that wonderful smell and texture you've come to expect.
But at what cost?
Did you know that fragrance formulas are considered trade secrets, so brands don't have to disclose what's in there. The only rule is that they cannot use chemicals that are banned. But here's a little fact that I find interesting: The European Union has banned over 1300 substances for use in cosmetics. These substances are known to cause a myriad of reactions from headaches to central nervous disorders.
How many has the United States banned?
11! Eleven. Ten fingers and 1 toe. That's how many. Don't believe me? You can read for yourself here: Beauty By Earth
Since I have been making a conscious effort to get rid of toxins in our home, I've been amazed at how my sense of smell has changed. I find heavy perfumy smells nasty. I don't even wear perfume anymore. I've stopped using fragrance candles that essentially fill the air with chemicals and I bought a diffuser instead. Just recently I up'd my game and I switched from dryer sheets to wool dryer balls. Works the same as dryer sheets but now my clothes and the air in the house aren't laden with chemicals. Score.
So I ask you to think about this... As Americans we are slowly killing ourselves with the need to have things look and smell perfect. We have become blind to the fact that big corporations don't really care if an ingredient is a known carcinogen. We are so gullible as we slather an $80 cream on our face thinking that it is making us "better". When in reality it could be causing your weight gain, hyper-pigmentation of your skin, or even fatigue. Read more: Deadly Scent.
It's a really hard habit to get out of. I like my grass green, my fruit perfect and all my girly stuff that makes me feel purdy!
That's all. Let's try to be less perfect, care less about presentation, and focus on healthy products for ourselves and family.
Think local. Read labels. Be informed. Hug your farmer.
Former teacher, author wannabe, forever a mom, and business owner.