I've always been a planner. I like to know what's coming up, and what to expect. When I got pregnant, it took about 3 weeks for the all-day sickness to kick in and for me to realize that I couldn't plan what was going to happen from now on. That didn't stop me from trying. I read books, knew what size the tiny little human inside me was each week, tried to eat healthy and be stress-free, and researched what I would need once baby arrived. But nothing could prepare me for the barrage of information and number of decisions that had to be made every day to provide the best I could for my baby.
I was already using natural products at home as much as possible, but researching what we needed for baby brought new challenges. There's formaldehyde in cribs? Fire retardants in mattresses? Hormone disrupters in bottles and teething toys?
I became paralyzed. Part of me wanted to do balanced research, and really understand the issues that environmental groups and eco-bloggers were focusing on. I read blogs and articles about the myriad of toxins in seemingly everything we eat, tough, and breath in. And for every opinion or study showing harmful ingredients, there was one proving the opposite.
I started to fully appreciate the phrase “ignorance is bliss”. If I didn't know something might be harmful to me or the planet, then it was OK if I kept using it, right? But I couldn't unlearn what I'd started. I couldn't go back and say “this is going to take too long to figure out, so I'm going to ignore it and carry on with my life.” But I also knew that I couldn't keep consuming information like I was doing, or I was going to drown in fear and confusion.
So I stopped comparing myself to other green moms. I unfollowed certain social media feeds that were bringing me down instead of building me up. I now focus on what's important to me and my family, and what works for us.
I am still learning, and constantly making changes, but I don't beat myself up over past mistakes. It's so easy to feel afraid, angry, and confused with all the information that comes at us in this internet age.
No other generation has had to parent with this much access to information. I'm learning how to move past the click-bait headlines without drowning in them. I'm learning what resources I trust, and which are worth my time. Most importantly, I'm learning to stay hopeful. Hopeful that while I may not make perfect decisions for my kids, like any other mom I make decisions that at that moment seem right. And if I learn something new that suggests my decision wasn't the best, I will make a change, and move on.
Do your best and forget the rest – it's my new motto.