Sunday, November 13, 2011

Enlighten Me!

DISCLAIMER: (perhaps it's a bad sign if you need one of these, but oh well) This blog post is not meant to insult or discourage anyone who believes differently that I do.  It is, however, meant to express my personal opinion AND to enlighten--me.  So, please, if you have something constructive to say ... do!

Here goes:

Recently I have been, honestly, rather "shocked and appalled" at some other mommy-blogs I have been following in regards to these women's "green/natural/organic" approach to parenting and life in general.  DO NOT misunderstand me:  I enjoy a good block of goats milk soap as well as the next woman.  Also, I love and respect many wonderful, well-educated mothers who have chosen some natural and unconventional remedies to implement into their lives.  I have an amazing cousin who uses an alternative vaccine schedule for her children and (you go girl) gave birth naturally.  I also have some dear friends who use cloth diapers, buy organic produce, etc.  While I do not do these things myself (other than delay Jackson's MMR), I very much respect my friends' decisions and love learning more about them.  Besides ... those cloth diapers now days are super cute!

I do, however, think that when it comes to these natural alternatives, one can get "carried away" so to speak.  Sometimes, less really is more.  I suppose my very simple and strongest sentiment is:  I JUST DON'T GET IT.  I think making healthy decisions is awesome, but I really do not understand why certain people chose to research ad nauseam every way in which they can deviate from what is considered "the norm."  Have they ever stopped to consider that their exhaustive research and herculean efforts to create home remedies for everything (food, medicine, cleaning products, detergent) might actually be taking away from quality time with the children they are supposedly purifying through these efforts?

Here are a few examples of the things that I "just don't get."  

1.  Not using dryer sheets because they cause cancer.  Umm ... as a former Oncology RN, I seriously doubt the 1 in 4 Americans who are diagnosed with cancer attribute their disease to using dryer sheets.

2.  Breastfeeding a child who is old enough to walk up to you and stand suckling at your breast ... and take photographs of this for the internet.

3.  Using a cold water enema to cure a fever.  This particular example is not only ludicrous, it is also incredibly dangerous.  This could cause a vasovagal response in the child, slowing the heart rate, dropping the blood pressure, and causing fainting and subsequent injury.

4.  Giving a child a multivitamin, cod liver oil, Benefiber, organic pear nectar, jarro-dophilus, flax seed oil, and raw honey--every.single.morning--to avoid taking a stool softener.  Overkill much?  Poor kid!

5.  Leaving your children completely unvaccinated by obtaining special waivers.  This is inconsiderate of other people's children and irresponsible for your own.  These are the mothers who run to the pediatricians' office when a measles outbreak is reported on the news and demand an immediate appointment and vaccination.  Can talk the talk, but can't walk the walk, eh?

6.  Creating a fever to cure a sore throat.  Yeah--that's what I thought too.  This mom-blogger suggests placing a child into a bath of "as hot as tolerable" water in order to raise the body temperature and supposedly remedy the sore throat.  "Gee, honey.  The sore throat is gone, but now Johnny has third degree burns, a severe fear of the bathtub, and streptococcal septicemia."

7.  Using cloth paper towel and/or cloth toilet paper.  In my opinion, you might as well save water too by ceasing to wash your hands.  I cannot even comment on the cloth toilet paper--it is honestly beyond my comprehension entirely.

8.  Purging your medicine cabinet from everything ... yes, everything, according to a blog I am following.  I hope I never get a migraine at her house!

9.  Eliminating everything with HFCS from your child's diet.  I have a feeling more people may disagree with me on this item, but I think this is absolutely fine in moderation, and you'll never change my mind.  I'll bet she'd really have a problem with that rainbow cake I made for Jackson yesterday.

10.  Removing your children from preschool/school so that everything they learn is from the family's personal belief system.  While this idea is idyllic ... and while I certainly do think there are legitimate reasons to homeschool and that our children are exposed to unsatisfactory ideas/behaviors in the school setting ... it is impractical.  Unfortunately, the entire world does not revolve around your family's personal belief system.  In my opinion, this only creates children who are unable to socialize, employ proper decision making and prioritizing, and cope with real-world challenges and disappointments.  I know, shoot me!

Okay, I think that is probably enough controversy for one blog post tonight.  It is a topic that has been on my mind for some time now, and I really felt I needed to discuss it.  I welcome any constructive comments (agreeing or disagreeing with my opinions).  And, if any unknown readers out there enjoy this type of lifestyle and can truly explain it to me, please, by all means, enlighten me!


Steve said...

Jen, I agree with you on this completly.

Lauren said...

totally agree with you!

Anonymous said...

I grew up with some of these myself so I don't find them strange!

Dryer sheets - I don't think dryer sheets cause cancer but they are just another thing to fill a landfill. I have a giant lavender bush in my backyard, so I dry some and put it in a little cloth bag. Then I toss it in the dryer. When the lavender gets old I replace it. I love the way it smells!! And it reminds me of home. My mom would also use rose petals and other things from her garden to fill the dryer bags, but I'm not a very good gardener.

Cloth paper towels - For "cleanup" tasks like wiping down a counter, drying hands, or cleaning a sticky little face, I use cloths that I keep around. They get washed and reused. I never actually thought about this one, it's just how I was raised and I was surprised to learn later in life that a lot of other people use paper towels.

On the other hand, I also wasn't allowed to eat butter or HFCS as a kid. I couldn't ever eat anything tasty at birthday parties! As an adult I now understand why my mom did that...but I also think it was unnecessarily mean! I let my own kids eat some butter and HFCS, but of course, in moderation.