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8.16.2012

Freaking Out over the wrong stuff

Last weekend I met my mom half way between her house and my house to pass off my kids.  We spent the night in a hotel before turning around to return to our respective homes.  My sister and my friend Caitlin also happened to be along for the trip.
I made the reservation, and let's just say my standards are lower than most people's.  If there isn't a dead body in the parking lot or hypodermic needles under the bed, I'm pretty content.  Apparently I'm the only person I know who feels this way.

And of course everyone let me hear about it.  As I neared the point where I could no longer take any more criticism of my choice in hotels, I had an epiphany.

People are freaking out about the wrong things.

Let me give you another example.  Take shopping carts.  Every mom I know is super freaked out by shopping carts- they wipe them down with antibacterial wipes, cover them, or they don't let their kids sit in them at all.  But how many of those moms turn around and give their kids conventional foods laced with pesticides, or drinks and snacks colored with artificial coloring, or slather them with chemical laden sunscreens and bug repellants?

To me, my choice in issues is logical- any child with a healthy immune system is going to be able to withstand most of the germs they come into contact with on a shopping cart.  And even if they don't they get sick for a few days and then are fine.  Pesticides, artificial coloring, and chemicals in sunscreen and bug spray cause serious long term damage that can affect your child's entire life.

And the part that bothers me the most is that it's totally NORMAL to freak out about (relatively harmless) germs, but you make a big deal about your kid avoiding triclosan or not eating sugar laden snacks and suddenly you're the crazy mom who isn't "letting her kids be kids."  It's frustrating and exhausting, and the toddler in me (because we all have an inner toddler...) is shouting "no fair!!!"

I want this perspective to be seen by mainstream moms.  And mainstream granparents, aunts and uncles, friends, and whoever else feels the right to criticize a parent's choices.  Think about this- how would you feel if every time you whipped out the hand sanitizer or the wipes someone looked at you funny, or made a snide comment?  How would you feel if your child were forced or pressured to not wash their hands at school?  Not very good, I would think.  In fact, I think you'd be pretty angry.

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