The concept of "Mother" evokes ideas of responsibility, nurturing, unconditional love, patience, and altruism. Wow. That is a lot of pressure. Sure, those are all great values to embody, but being a mom would be a lot easier if the expectations of her identity were: wearing pants with elastic waist bands, the ability to have two conversations simultaneously, the courage to laugh in the face of a tantrum, the capacity to push a swing for a half hour while dreaming about Ryan Gosling's abs, the emotional courage to read the endless news coverage on the multitude of toxins our children are exposed to everyday, and the willingness to eat half-chewed discarded sandwich crusts. By these criteria -- I am pretty sure I am the best mom ever.
In today's world, couples share parental and domestic responsibilities more than ever before. That said, not only does "mother know best" still linger as a cultural norm, but she should know best. Moms are expected to instinctually know all the secrets of her child. Personally, my mother instincts point me straight to the computer.... nowadays Google knows best. But I'm pretty sure most dads have fingers too, so now the playing field is even. Thanks, technology! Equal opportunity mother instincts for all! Now both moms and dads can scour the Internet in search of non-toxic toys free of off-gasssing chemicals.
As a mother, my greatest hope is for my daughter to grow up healthy in a world that is not an environmentally catastrophic post-apocalyptic trashcan controlled by robots. It's hard being an eco-warrior purist parent. Corporations are rarely transparent about the chemicals used in their products or the way their employees are treated. It is up to us, the consumers, to find out the truth about how we vote with our dollars.
All these issues are interconnected. Excessive use of chemicals is intimately tied to the health of the employees who are handling these products. This also raises human rights issues and of course impacts the wellbeing of our planet. Women make up only 4 percent of the CEO's running Fortune 500 companies, who make upwards of 300 percent more than their employees. When we support big business, we also support environmental destruction, economic disparity, human rights abuses, gender inequality, and dangerous toxic exposure. We actively redefine our economy towards sustainability when, alternatively, we support local, small business with a social/environmental impact as their mission.
I wanted to create an earth-friendly cocoon for my little girl to sleep in. In my quest for organic sheets, blankets, and pillows, I stumbled upon Live Good and was moved by their story. The founder, Jennifer Chi, worked as an international human rights investigator and observed countless workers overseas get sick from toxic materials, unsanitary conditions, while laboring for excessively long hours and minimal financial compensation. Live Good not only uses all natural, organic products, but is also manufactured here in the United States so Ms. Chi can personally guarantee her employees are not exploited. When asked about her company Chi says:
"As a woman, I feel fortunate to have been born and raised in the United States. The one thing that is always on my mind when traveling abroad is the state of women in that particular region. Although I find all cultures and countries to be beautiful in their own way, I see that gender inequality is alarmingly prevalent around the world. Growing up in the States, I had the opportunity to attain a college and graduate school education -- an opportunity that most women in developing nations do not have. Why was it important to manufacture in the USA? I wanted my company to be a strong reflection of my values and principles, which are rooted in the American civil liberties culture.
I also wanted to support the local economy and am very proud to share that Live Good is helping sustain several U.S. textile mills. However, my decision to manufacture in America does not mean that I'm against growing economies elsewhere. People always ask me why I chose to support the U.S. economy as if I made a deliberate choice not to support the growth of another country. If you truly understand how the global economy works, you will see that growth in one region inevitably leads to growth for all. We really are all connected... it's a wonderful thing."
Our culture projects the same demands onto our planet as we do on mothers around the globe. Hey, Mommy Earth, mind if we suck on your teat for oil, water, and food until you are all dried up and empty? And then we'll need to poop all over you with our trash and landfills and hope you figure out some way to absorb them. Oh, I almost forgot -- is it cool if we fart car fumes for you to soak up in your atmosphere while pissing poison on the ground? Thanks mom! You're the best. Sadly, humanity is taking advantage of our planet like an ungrateful teenager. Let's clean up our room and show our Mother Earth some respect.
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