We have a really fun game we play each winter called “Hitler or Charlie Chaplin?” whereby we guess whether the raw skin beneath Claire’s nose makes her look more the Nazi or the movie star.
Every year I search for something to soothe and heal and shut this game down, but despite dozens of products across a bunch of companies promising relief for this annual annoyance, nothing has worked.
I don’t tend to obsess about most things. The influences of environment and family and personal growth and values have a way of lining up for attention and the work of processing them is ever-changing. So focusing on one thing in an unbalanced way – at least in my opinion and experience – does little more than create a life log-jam. Every once in a while something forces your hand, though. When my health started to change after Claire was born, the process of deciphering symptoms and treatments and even wading through diagnoses became an essential obsession.
I believe in the beauty of the perfect storm: elements aligning to reach their intended crescendo at exactly the right time. The beauty and pain of becoming a mother defies description; the sensation of being the world’s filter for a completely dependent human is sobering. Oh, and modern parenting is a bitch. With babies, the pressure to nourish their growing bodies from the inside and the outside pits convenience against information. As they grow, chemicals in every corner of our social and environmental ecosystems creep in, from the food dyes in junk food (and even non-junk food) to the carcinogens in plastics and just about everything else. It’s absolutely overwhelming and frustrating.
When it came time for me to commit to a medication for my worsening autoimmune disease, I turned to a health coach to make as many changes to my diet and lifestyle as possible to avoid pharmaceuticals. Over the course of eight months, I managed to articulate my frustrations and fears and identified ways to realize change in certain areas of my life. More than a year after wrapping up my first series of coaching sessions (because that first series will definitely not be my last) there is one guiding principle that has taken up permanent residence in my brain: do as much as you can, as much as you can.
Here’s the thing… change sucks. Even good change. The most anticipated and hard-fought change doesn’t come easily ever. If it comes easily, it was part of your path originally and isn’t an adjustment to your course. So the idea of doing as much as you can, as much as you can, allows for course correction and ultimately leads to the right place. Doing as much as you can today might mean cutting a second cup of coffee, whereas tomorrow it might mean less coffee plus a nutritious breakfast, and so on. Ultimately, doing as much as you can doesn’t become all-encompassing because the notion of allowing yourself some grace and some wiggle-room keeps progress an option despite small stumbles.
I mention this background because I’m in this weird place now: a place where I have experience and knowledge and intention. This particular perfect storm very recently led me to believe that the next step on my path should be both a deliberate and a unique one.
Do as much as you can, as much as you can.
The bulk of my work right now involves keeping myself, my family, and my home healthy. Not an easy undertaking and one that’s constantly evolving.
Like most kids, mine all love baths but I recently saw that all of our children’s bubble bath had Red 40, Blue 1, and/or Yellow 5 in it. Why would I encourage my children to sit in a tub full of hot water and artificial dyes? Their shampoo, my deodorant, our cleaning products… all the things I use every day that I know I won’t stop using. They’re crap. Cutting the crap and swapping in non-toxic substitutes is the answer to doing as much as I can, as much as I can, right now. I’m not ready to give up my Bed Head finishing product just yet, but by doing as much as I can around that one product, it makes a difference.
I’ve been researching. I’ve been talking to people and trying things out, broadly for a couple of years, more pointedly for a few months. And I’m jumping into this company – Poofy Organics – to bring the solutions I’ve been seeking for years to others on the hunt. These are the first products I’ve safety-tested on Claire where she hasn’t immediately complained about them burning (disclaimer: no children were seriously hurt in the testing of beauty care products.) This product brought immediate relief to Emma’s raw nose after her first cold of the season ran its course. I brought this one to Barbados and it saved my woefully burned forehead skin from blistering and peeling. Cosmetics, baby care, house cleaning… they’ve figured it out and have become my source for all things gentle and healthy. And while the brand’s name and the website don’t bring the razzle-dazzle, I’m thrilled to bring this source to anyone interested in treating themselves, their families, and their homes in that same gentle and healthy way.
Poofy is a mom-and-mom business, created by a mother-daughter team in their shop in New Jersey. Every product in mixed and packaged in that shop and they’re certified organic. I have a million ideas for baby gifts from their Baby Poof line, or even just bath fizzies and nail polish and lip sticks free of toxic sludge for my particular trio of pre-pre-tweens pining for beauty products.
I’m excited about this. It feels meaningful. And I’d love to explore these products with anyone interested – locals can come by for a couple of pre-holiday open houses I have in the works, and everyone is welcome to join me for a virtual party I’ll host very soon.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to steal a piece of Halloween candy to follow up my dinner of Brussels sprouts and cauliflower rice. Do as much as you can…