Pretty much every single day that I’ve been a parent, thoughts pop into my head that never would have before I had kids. I wipe the grocery cart handle off before I put the kids in it, to avoid germs during flu season. I’ll casually say I “hate” something, and immediately regret it when I hear them repeat it later. And when we’re at the playground or park I’m constantly on the lookout for everything from strangers to errant trash. But lately I’ve been framing these things in my mind to be less worrisome and more proactive, more positive. The point of thinking about all of these things isn’t to raise kids that are too sheltered, or afraid of the world. The point is to raise healthy, aware children who embrace the world as their responsibility, and take their health and happiness into their own hands.
I started taking notice lately, every time one of these thoughts would pop into my head that I never would have considered before. Generally, they fall into a few categories.
Our People I think all the time about the people that we surround ourselves and our kids with. I’m so grateful that we are surrounded by positive, loving people, who enhance our lives and the lives of our children. And thinking about it in these terms, I’ve actually wondered why it took me so long to maybe step away from some toxic people in my life before I had children. We take such great care to surround our kids with supportive people, but sometimes forget to do the same for ourselves!
Our Play Spaces This one is huge for me, as we’re always looking for the safest, cleanest parks and fields to play in. Recently though, I’ve also started thinking about the chemicals that are in those fields. After working with Stonyfield for a while this year, I was so inspired by their new StonyFIELDS initiative, in which they’re partnering with neighborhoods across America to make all playing fields organic by stopping the use of pesticides. They have a goal of helping communities (and even locals, in your own backyard!) convert to organic field maintenance, for the health and safety of our kiddos. Can you believe that?! So cool.
Every year, fields all across the U.S. are sprayed with a chemical cocktail of pesticides in the very places where our kids play. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, some of these pesticides can potentially be carcinogenic. Doesn’t that just stop you in your tracks? And doesn’t it make you want to change something? It almost makes me feel silly that I’ve never considered it before. But now that we’re realizing it, it truly feels empowering that the StonyFIELDS project is providing a way that we can take action.
As we were at the park the other day the kids started rolling around in the grass and the StonyFIELDS program immediately came to mind. I have no idea what kind of chemicals they were rolling around in, and their little bodies are still growing, which makes them so delicate. But once our town starts taking part in the program, I’ll know exactly what’s in that grass. If you’re interested in learning more, or even getting a donation to help start the initiative in your town, head right over here. You can also see a map of the towns that are already on board and making this incredible change for their kids. This quote from their site really hit home for me: “Because the air you breathe and the fields you play in are just as important as the food you eat.”
Our Food And speaking of food! These kids of mine really make me see it for what it is: fuel. No doubt I love junk food with a passion, but feeding Henry and Maggie every day really makes me consider two things: balanced meals, and what’s in our food. I’m leaning a lot more toward whole, organic meals and snacks these days (which is also why we take a lot of healthy snacks on the go with us, like the Stonyfield yogurt pouches). I’m starting to see it less as a challenge and more as a choice.
Our Language And I don’t just mean curse words! I mean everything. Kids, dude. They’re like little sponges, and whatever you throw at them, they’re gonna soak it up and squeeze it right back out at you. We’re not perfect, but we try to make a concentrated effort to fill our kids’ heads with words that are positive, creative, accepting, and intelligent. We totally slip sometimes. The other day Henry told me that something he didn’t like “sucked” and I immediately knew where he got that phrase from: me. But at every opportunity, we try to replace any language that’s hurtful or non-constructive with more effective choices.
Bascially, all of this boils down to the fact that every parent wants their child to thrive. And having a thriving child means surrounding them with healthy choices, in every sense of the phrase. It’s a daily challenge, and you can bet that every single day, I wonder if we’re doing this whole parenthood thing right. But I think all we can do is our best. xoxo
This post is sponsored by Stonyfield. All ideas and opinions are my very own. Thank you for being supportive of the partners who help keep Lovely Indeed rocking!