And let it begin with me.

Hands Free
Scream Free
Cry Free
BPA Free
Dye Free
GMO Free

Suddenly, parenting has picked up New Hampshire’s much loved state motto – Live free or die.

I’ve never been a free gal. I’ve always bent more toward moderation – organic Cinnamon Toast Crunch and the like.

Philosophically, I think it’s that I don’t love people telling me what to do; unless they came out of my vagina.

But more to the point, I don’t like negotiating with terrorists. Big corporations using our perpetual, undying love and infinity deep abyss of paternal guilt prompting us to say, “Shut up and take my money!”. All of this information at our fingertips; an abundant garden. So, when you know more, you worry more. When you worry more, you fling money. And, those lines of common sense become blurred. Necessity versus frivolity. We don’t know how to weed our garden.

So, we’ve started using uncommon sense to dictate our parenting choices – thereby lumping us in to minuscule genres of micro-management; wary-eyed over whether the fruit snacks are Annie’s Organics or *satan voice* Store Brand. When, guess what? All fruit snacks are crap. And, that’s ok. I love crap. My kids LOVE crap. Fruit snacks just aren’t important.

There are $42 organic cotton onesies and a lot of sneering at those who can’t afford to love their babies the way “we” do. Us and them. Organic versus conventional. Cotton versus polyester. Choosy moms no longer choose Jif but, they do care very deeply about your choice of peanut butter.

It’s a broken record. And, I so desperately want to change it. To fling it against the bow of a new ship; The S.S. Doing The Best I Can.

Just last week, I scrambled outside of my car – trying to determine if the snack I was bringing to a play group was acceptable. The peanuts were unsalted, but, there was some highly suspect Honey Nut cereal in there. Oooooh, and, did I buy the reduced sugar craisins? It’s the end of the common sense world as we know it…and I feel, incredibly guilty. Incredibly caught up in the very nonsense I rail against.

And this is how it continues to work. The doubt seed of “I’m not doing everything I can.” helps fuel the uncommon sense. Change needs to start with me. I need to look at what I bring to the table with gratitude instead of fear. Even if it’s just a small, snack table and even if it’s some non-organic, store-brand, full sugar craisins.

Because, I really and truly am doing the best I can. And because, you can’t purchase peace of mind. That needs to, organically, stem from me.


  1. I love you and your non-organic grapes.
    Because sugar is sugar and love is love.
    Cheers to saving 5.99 on a half pint of organic strawberries but loving your family just the same.

  2. Oh my goodness, Bethany. You NAILED this. About looking at it with gratitude instead of fear. And “The S.S. Doing The Best I Can”? I will need to a space on that ship ASAP. Bon voyage, sister.

  3. Your BEST blog yet! LOVE this.

  4. This, here, needs to be a mantra: “Because, I really and truly am doing the best I can. And because, you can’t purchase peace of mind. That needs to, organically, stem from me.”

  5. Amen! It’s so easy to get caught up in the craze and feel like a loser mom because you dish wash your plastic.

  6. Oh YES. I have to be careful what I give my ADHD kid because if I give him anything with chemicals on it he rails up like a hyena on crack and peals the paint off the walls.

    That being said, I don’t push my agenda onto other people (lol, “satan voice”). I get it; a pack of strawberries for $7 is freaking ridiculous; highway robbery, even. My poor kids don’t eat fresh strawberries very often… 🙁

    • I completely understand this and, if it helped my son to get off of dyes, I would do it in a hot minute. I think you hit the nail on the head – It’s not the strawberries, it’s the “agenda”. P.S. Hyena on crack, for the win.

  7. Jennifer L MacDonald says:

    Love your blog! I struggle with this, too. I realized recently that I am so used to being defensive about my mom choices, that I would probably die of shock if another mom aporoached me and gave me a high five at the grocery store, rather than a corner of the eye glance. Sad!

    • Jennifer L MacDonald says:

      Oops, and you are spot on about gratitude. Thank you.

    • It’s so interesting – Food choice is now so directly linked now to region and income. So, when you can’t afford to eat like The Joneses, you feel that pressure and guilt. Instead of all of us just being grateful that our kids have full bellies. Food competition is a bizarre First World Problem. We get so caught up in the silliness of the whole thing. And, I’d totally high-five you in the grocery store.

  8. Sent my youngest to pre-k with animal crackers as his class snack. Have felt guilty about it all day.

    BS. All of it. Word up, girl.

  9. Laurie Wagner says:

    Beautifully said. Keep saying your mantra as the kids pass into adult-hood. In fact, say it more! We really have done the best we could with what we had at the time. Amen to that.

    • Thank you, Laurie. I think it’s important to say it out loud. We love our kids. We’re doing the best we can. Everything else is white noise. Thanks for reading.

  10. I’ll admit, I got caught up in the GMO crap several months back. I attempted to buy just a FEW things organic, and before I knew it, our grocery bill doubled! That is a lot of money to feed a family of 5. Luckily I came to my senses and decided that we humans are a resilient species. I am sure our bodies will admit to use whatever crap we put in it. Now I’m off to go make my boxed macaroni dinner for the kids!

    • *adapt*

    • Bethany, I totally understand this. We live in a state that is very conscious about healthy eating habits. It’s great, but, it can also be overwhelming when you can’t purchase the $7 pint of locally grown, organic strawberries. It’s been hard for me to find balance. Admitting it, I think, is my first step to letting go of the pressure I place on myself to “conform” into a regional standard. The bottom line is, we can’t afford all organic. And, that’s ok.

  11. This is the second post I’m reading about the advertisers and other people dictating our choices…why?! Why do we care so much? And, why do we care about people’s opinion when we didn’t care about those particular people in the first place?!! My dictum is Live and Let Live; in other words, I don’t care what cereal you’re feeding your kids and you better not poke your nose into my pantry either!!

  12. T-Bone Mama says:

    I’m usually devil-mom for my lack of worry about this stuff… barely making above minimum wage means I could care less about organic and all that. If she eats it I’m happy…. she wants to eat all day everyday but never what I want her to. Do the best we can is all we moms can do… I’ll join the “S.S. Doing The Best I Can” any day.

  13. A million, billion times YES!!
    “We’ve started using uncommon sense to dictate our parenting choices” hits the nail right on the head. A friend just commented the other day that she felt really judged because she took in a box of generic rice krispie treats for snack because she forgot it was her day because things had been crazy at their house because her dad had surgery and her mom was out of town for work so she was trying to check in with him while doing everything else and she just forgot. “But all the other parents make homemade, organic, cute treats …” I just held up my hand to stop her and said “but you chose to spend the little time you had in the evening WITH your girls instead of standing in the kitchen telling them to go play … that’s what matters.” Enough is enough! You can’t purchase peace of mind … A-freaking-men!!

  14. Thank you:) great post

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