I have a confession to make. A natural living confession. Something I really need to get off my chest. Because in this world of natural, organic, eco-friendly living, it’s easy to get lost in an “all or nothing” mindset. So I’m here to set the record straight.
I’m not 100% natural.
Nope, not even close. I’m guessing you’re not either. And you know what? It’s OK! I’m not sure anyone can truly say they live a 100% natural lifestyle, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
We live in a time when we’re constantly bombarded with product after product, advertisement after advertisement, post after post about what we’re doing wrong in our daily lives. About how our food is going to kill us. How our beauty products will give us cancer. How our cleaning supplies will leave us with chronic health conditions.
It can be so overwhelming!
One of my readers actually emailed me recently asking how I deal with what she called “natural living fatigue.” I’d already been working on this post for a few days when she emailed me, and I was so thankful because she basically gave me the title for this post. So, thanks Maureen! 🙂
Here’s what I had to say to Maureen:
I’m totally with you, especially now after having 3 kids all under the age of 4. Sometimes I just want to give in and buy that frozen pizza, or get the store bought dish soap, or use the not so natural skin cream on my son’s eczema just because it’s quicker and more convenient. And you know what, sometimes I just do – for the sake of my sanity! I think the fatigue comes from the constant feeling of guilt, but if we remove the guilt and just allow ourselves to not be so. darn. perfect. every once in a while, maybe – just maybe! – that feeling of fatigue won’t be so overwhelming.
Overcoming Natural Living Fatigue
I’m realizing that the important thing is to prioritize our values when it comes to natural living. Is it just safe, natural products that we’re after? What about saving money? Sustainability? Caring for the earth? And where does convenience come into play here?
In all actuality, it’s a combination of all of these (and more), but for each individual person and in each individual area of his or her life, some of these things take higher priority than others. The trick is to decide which of these are of utmost importance (the ones you won’t budge on) and to find your balance within all of the rest (the ones for which you’ll allow yourself some wiggle room).
So what does that look like?
Well for me, it means that even though I have a recipe for homemade dish soap, I still have a backup bottle of the store bought natural dish soap. You know, for those times that the bottle of homemade soap is empty and I just can’t be bothered to mix up a new batch because 2 of my kids are fighting, the other one is crying, and I really need to wash those bowls to make them some oatmeal in the morning, so they can sit and eat.
So you know what? I open up my cabinet, pull out my backup bottle of dish soap, and wash those bowls. No guilt. Oatmeal is made. Kids are quiet. All is well in the world again. 🙂
Which brings me to another confession…
I use a microwave. I know I shouldn’t. I know that there are other, healthier ways to warm up or reheat our food, but sometimes (like in my oatmeal story, for example) choosing between a couple of minutes in the microwave and 15 minutes standing in front of the stove is just a no-brainer. And how am I supposed to reheat that bowl of spaghetti? The toaster oven? The stove? I seriously have no idea…
Nope, sorry, it’s going in the microwave, my friend.
Oh, and while we’re on the topic of food, here’s another one for you. While we don’t eat out that much (maybe a couple times a month), and I do strive to cook most of our meals from scratch, sometimes we opt for ready-made foods like frozen pizzas, ready-made spaghetti sauce, and organic canned beans.
Seriously, thank God for Costco and their wonderful selection of natural and organic products! 🙂
Yes, I know how to make these things from scratch, but during this season of my life, convenience is definitely taking a front seat these days.
We still read labels; we still go for organic when we can afford it and when it’s available; we still try our hardest to make sure that our meals and snacks are not laden with artificial colors and flavors, massive amounts of sugar or salt, or hydrogenated oils and trans fats.
Because these things are still important to us.
And other things are important for our family as well, like saving money, sustainability, and protecting our family from unnecessary harsh chemicals.
We still make our homemade deodorant because it’s the only thing that works for us; we still use our homemade laundry detergent because it’s so darn cheap to make; and we never buy commercial cleaning products because my homemade floor cleaner works great for nearly every surface in the house.
And that’s my point here.
Each of us has our own set of priorities when it comes to our natural living journey. And these priorities are always changing and evolving with our seasons of life.
Wha’t important for me today may not be so tomorrow, and where I’m slacking today may take the highest priority for me next year.
And that’s ok.
Because that’s life. It’s crazy and messy and constantly changing. It’s here today and gone tomorrow.
It’s also very short, in the grand scheme of things. Too short to be obsessing about every little thing in our lives. And definitely too short to be feeling guilty about what we feed our families or whether or not we make all of our bath products at home.
The truth is, we’re all doing the very best we can with what we have. And that’s what’s really important here.
So let’s make a promise to each other, right here, right now. Let’s drop the guilt, OK? It’s unhealthy and counterproductive.
Instead, let’s cut ourselves some slack, acknowledge how far we’ve come, be grateful for what we have, and just keep on keepin’ on…
Do you have a natural living confession? What are your tips for overcoming that guilty feeling? Which areas in your life are most important? Which ones take less priority? Please share your story in the comments!
Photo credit: AllieKF on Flickr