Is it really worth it?

When I first started making my own cleaners and body stuff, family and friends would quickly go from “Oh yeah, that’s interesting” to “But that sounds like a lot of effort.  Why do you bother?”

I don’t hear it so often anymore but when I do, my answer today is the same as my answer then: my kids deserve it.

I don’t want myckids to deal with the headaches, rashes and other skin problems, stiffness, allergies and other symptoms of our modern, civilized lifestyle.  I am sorry to say that they still do suffer more from these problems than they should for a couple of reasons:  first, I went away from it for a little while when things got busy; and, second, now that they are older and making their own decisions, the kids are responding with the same kind of doubt, inevitably expressed in a sequence of excuses:

“I don’t know how to make it. I don’t have the stuff to make it. I don’t have the time to make it. I don’t trust it to work.”

So much trust was lost somewhere between my parents’ generation and my generation.  Don’t trust the future, don’t trust your job, don’t trust your neighbour, don’t trust your memories, don’t trust the water, don’t trust anyone without a fancy piece of parchment that has the signature of some stranger on it, including yourself.   Don’t underestimate the effect of hearing these and other warnings repeated throughout your childhood, adolescence and early adult years… over and over again.  Ironically, while we espouse this culture of doubt, we have collectively bought into the idea of health and prosperity portrayed in the media even if we never buy the products we see advertised on tv.  Our idea of what is normal and good and right has been altered, cumulatively, slowly.  And while the spin doctors tell us all about how much better our hair, skin, bank balance, home, health will be if we buy their product, they don’t have to tell us what is in the product that will do what they claim.

When I first started thinking about this (many years ago) there were hundreds of thousands of chemical additives approved by the FDA for use in food (yes, just food).  Less than 5,000 of them had been properly tested for the effects they would have in our bloodstreams.  I hope that ratio has changed.  I’m not sure if I harbour any hope that it has…

So, my answers to my kids and anyone else who has voiced the same concerns: 

  • Once upon a time, I didn’t know how to make it, either. In my working single mother’s Body on Tap/Palmolive world, there was no acknowledgement that there was another, older, cleaner way.  We didn’t even know then that the commercial stuff was a problem.  Every home solution my great grandmothers had at their disposal was lost by the time my generation came along.  BUT, someone out there kept track of a few things and so now, there are recipes online and recipe books available from the bookstore.  I bet anyone you know who makes their own stuff would be happy to show you how they do it.  If you are really not willing to try it out yourself, there are people out there who will sell you their handmade stuff.  Try your local farm markets or handmade markets.
  • If you were sitting down to plan your Christmas (or other holiday) baking, you would choose your cookies, write down the ingredients, check your cupboards and then head out to the grocery store. You might even have to hit a specialty market (go go Galloway’s!) for some of the fancy stuff but you would keep going until you found it all.  This is just the same.  In many cases, you will find the ingredients in your local grocery store.  Anything else can be found in a specialized health food store, organic market or aromatherapy/soap making supply shop.  Take out the internet and see what you have in your community.  Commit to it, flex your fingers and go!
  • I have two teenagers, a full time job, I make stuff and market two or three days a month, I read, I exercise, I cook from scratch as much as I can, I visit family, blog, tweet, see my oil ladies from time to time, do the dishes, take out the garbage… today, I even cleaned up the bathroom (well, the really important bits anyway).  The time is there to do many thing but it (the time) will not clear itself.  You have to make the time to do the things you want  to do.  And once you start, it is amazing how much time you find you have to work with.
  • You will never know if it works unless you try it.  BUT chances are that if you are standing next to someone who is wearing their own homemade natural deodorant or using their own handmade laundry soap, perfume, styling gel or beard balm and you didn’t know until they told you about it, it is working.

If you are local to the Surrey/Fraser Valley area and don’t know anyone else who can help you, send me an email.  Information is free.  If you ask for a demonstration,  I will ask you to pay for the supplies you use but I will make time for you at no charge.  Because I can and because, yes, I think it is worth it.

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