There was a time in my life that I thought the most opinionated people were those in certain sociology and/or anthropology classes I took in university. It seemed not a. single. thing. could be discussed without much further discussion happening. Something always offended someone, something always seemed to be unjust, oppressive or the spawn of the evil normative parameters that society has set. As annoyed as I sometimes was at those students whose hand shot up 87 times per class, I was impressed by the depth and breath of their….opinions.
Certainly, they were the most opinionated people on the planet!
Not so. When I entered the green beauty world, as loving, kind, clean and pretty as it is, is also a fertile breeding ground for an over-abundance of great advice and yes, the opinions of others. It’s also a place where one can easily go about getting really into the lifestyle, only to alienate those with a different beauty philosophy. For one product to be “just fine” , or perhaps, even a coveted and beloved beauty staple for one person and be sheer poison to another person is a surefire way to stir up some bad feelings. We ladies take our beauty products very personally.
Some time later, I became a mother. I discovered that that’s when you really get to see opinions shine and glimmer like a diamond made of good intentions with some very sharp edges. Everybody had an opinion about when to feed baby Z (“He clearly wants solids!” when he was only 4 months old), when I should stop breastfeeding (“Certainly not until he’s 2!” or “What? You’re STILL breastfeeding him?!”), that infant potty training was a waste of time (until they see him in action!), that we needed a stroller back when we were still happy carrying him, that he needs more toys (when he loves tupperware and plastic cups more than his actual toys) or that we’re are insane for wanting to home school him.
So on and so forth.
What people don’t realize (or do, but tend to forget) is just how personal parenting is. Not only are my husband and I 2 unique individuals but, -miracle!- so is our son. What works for us wouldn’t work for another family, and vice versa.
Parenting, like self-care, is so individual. We’ve adopted certain practices from some philosophies, and abandoned others. In the end, some practices are inconvenient for us, and although I love it in principle, I simply do not have the time, money, resources or patience to be extreme.
I will be honest, it’s the same with natural products. Obviously, most of what I use is 100% natural. I prefer it that way, there’s no doubt about it. But my family has a limited income, and sometimes using conventional dishsoap or toothpaste just makes way more sense financially for us ($2 vs $8, for example). Sometimes, I momentarily give up on holy-grail natural products in certain categories, like shampoo, which I switch between clean and not-so-clean (I have both in my shower). I also think that it’s perfectly acceptable for someone to hang on to an absolute favorite product, even if it’s totally dirty. A favorite lipstick shade only worn on special occasions? Probably not going to kill you.
What I remind myself, and I believe we all need to remind ourselves, is all things in moderation. All. Things. Even the very good. Because it’s hard to be so good, all the time. Sometimes we need ease. Sometimes convenience, in that moment, is healthier than the “very best” you can do. I think that if the core of your beauty regime, or of your parenting, is something you are proud of, respect, and cherish, then being a little slack in some of the details is not a big deal. It’s more important to act in a way that is full of love than in ways perpetuated by fear, guilt, or because of the opinions of others. Especially the latter. Fuck ‘em.