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Bethany Thies Headshot

And Let It Begin With Me

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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 cereal 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 parenting 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.

Last week before an introduction to a new play group, I scrambled outside of my car -- trying to determine if the snack I was bringing 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.