How My Small Voice Helped Me Go Green(er)
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
-- Mary Anne Radmacher
In recent weeks, I have written about the notion of courage. With motherhood came a newfound sense of it. My ability to make some tough decisions and to keep going no matter what stemmed from what felt like a transformation upon the arrival of my firstborn.
That was when I learned the power and value of my little voice, and to listen to it.
Being a mother is the most beautiful thing I have ever done. I was meant for this, to love, nurture, and care for these children. And despite that feeling, there are days when I go to bed feeling like I completely suck at this gig, and that I’m going to blow it. I worry about the things I am doing wrong, and if they will grow up and focus on those things instead of what I believe in my heart I got right.
Often, if we just listen, our little voices will tell us what to do. We won’t need to search the Internet or take a poll from our friends. We must simply be still and listen. As I become more confident in who I am as a woman and a mother, I am able to look back and see the times in my life when I actually listened to it. It, coupled with faith and God’s grace, has led me here. And while the here and now has its share of challenges, it also has my family and hopefully, for us, a host of tomorrows.
Over the past several years there has been such a big emphasis on “going green.” The benefits to our environment and our own health are numerous, and yet the task to live an entirely green life felt daunting and unattainable for me and my family. The inner dialogue that I had with myself led me to a place where I realized that there were still things that I could do, small changes that I could make so that my family might reap the benefits but also that it might continue to pave the way for a lifestyle change.
Over the past three years, we have begun to incorporate more green cleaning products in our home, but the biggest transition did not occur until I was pregnant with our littlest. I knew that I didn’t want her to be exposed to toxins and chemicals, even in small forms. While I couldn’t help what she encountered outside my home, I could control what happened inside. Throughout my pregnancy, I learned about natural cleaning products, and began replacing the chemically based ones that filled out cabinets. Some of them are still there, but I find as time goes on I reach for them less and less, and I notice my husband doing the same.
I now clean the bathrooms and kitchen and launder using natural cleaning products, and feel comfortable letting my eight-year-old help me from time to time, knowing nothing we use is harmful to her. When I was pregnant I pictured a little baby crawling on the floor and toddler running her fingers across bathroom countertops. Since her arrival I have had countless moments where I have felt like our decision to use natural cleaning products was the right one. Thank you, little voice. I swaddled her knowing that the blanket had been laundered with chemical-free detergent, and the tabletops and counters that she pats with her hands and the utensils used to feed her are cleaned with natural products.
The tiny moments that fill our day serve as reminders that if I just listen the voice inside me, it will help me figure out what is right for my family. Once upon a time parents used chemically based products and yes, we survived. But I am grateful to live in a time where there are other options. Our world is filled with things beyond our control; however, this doesn’t have to be one of them.
With each day I embark on in my role as a mother, I learn the power of not just using my voice, but listening to it. At 20, with my firstborn, I second-guessed myself so much, and although we may not have all the answers when it comes to parenting, so many of them lie within. We simply have to learn to be still and listen to the small voice, the one that tells us this is right and they will be OK. We must have the courage to do what we believe in our heart is best for our families, for our children regardless of what others might say or think. Regardless of what one in three experts recommend, how our mothers and grandmothers did it or what the latest trend is.
Because when you know you just know.
This post is part of BlogHer's My 'I'm a Mom' Moment Editorial Series, made possible by Seventh Generation.