The next few posts of mine will be dedicated uncovering the reasons behind my passion for simple, natural living. I’m excited to talk about why I adore the earth that God gave us and introduce you to the farmers that we know and love. I’ll share how I’ve managed to keep my ear infection prone toddlers off of antibiotics for a whole year and why vinegar is my best friend. But first, I’m going to do something that no other blog, book, magazine, pin on Pinterest or annoying Facebook poster does: I’m going to get real. Friend, I may be the only one to ever say this to you, so listen carefully. Sometimes living naturally and simply is downright complex. And annoying. And expensive. And time-consuming. There, I said it. You’re welcome. Before I invest my heart and soul into winning you over to the idea of natural simplicity, I want to first expose the truth behind a few myths that I formerly believed.
Myth #1: Living simply and naturally will save time.
Sorry but no, especially in relation to food. Living simply means cooking from scratch. This takes planning (time) and intentional shopping (time) and cooking (time). And if you happen to have a crazy month and haven’t prepared things in advance, you will run out of options and eat cereal for dinner. Or if you are cooking with a toddler, you may add 2 tablespoons of baking soda instead of baking powder to the homemade pancake recipe that you decided to double to save time, leaving your [thousands of] pancakes tasting absolutely disgusting. You know what’s simple? Ordering pizza. Ordering pizza is really simple. Living simply and naturally also means consuming fewer paper products. I have spent hours online this week trying to find the perfect cloth napkins so that we can be a paperless family. Hours. This doesn’t even include the time that it’s going to take me to wash and fold these (super cute) napkins over and over again. It takes no more than 2.3 seconds to throw a package of paper napkins into my grocery cart. Just sayin’. Living simply does not save time.
Myth #2: Living simply and naturally will save money.
Again, let me just say, no. At least at first, going paperless can be quite expensive. Cloth napkins instead of paper ($), cloth diapers instead of disposable ($), cloth paper towels instead of paper ($), etc. Sure, when I’m 97 years old and still using the same napkins and maybe even putting those cloth diapers to good use (God forbid), I may be singing a different tune, but right now all I see are dollar signs. Also, our monthly food bill has definitely gone up since we’ve decided to buy milk, eggs, chicken, beef and veggies (when in season) from real farmers with whom we have a relationship. Living simply and naturally probably will not save you money. The “experts” argue that future money saved in medical bills will balance the scale, but that’s just theoretical, isn’t it?
Myth #3: Living simply and naturally will eliminate stress
Maybe for you, but endeavoring to live simply often makes my life more difficult. It’s like a whole new set of rules and expectations have been added to the to-do list in my already cluttered brain and that’s just not simple, is it? Here are some of my simple/natural “rules”:
- Must buy raw milk (weekly trip to farmers)
- Must purchase grass-fed beef (monthly trip to farm)
- Must only eat happy chickens/eggs (go to farmers market for chicken and contact and meet up with a friend for eggs)
- Don’t put plastic in dishwasher, hand wash instead
- Plan a monthly menu and make meals from scratch
- Don’t let the kids watch TV (gave up on this one)
- Replace plastic toys with wooden ones (gave up on this one, too)
- Buy grains/flours/raw honey from Amish store (drive 30 minutes each way once a month)
- Go to Mennonite discount health food store for cheap, organic snacks (drive 20 min each way every other week)
- Plant and cultivate veggies in pots, water every day
The list is seriously endless and in my next post I will go into detail about what I have decided to really care about and what I’m letting go. This time is about how hard it can be to feel like you have to do all of these things in order to be “healthy” and “happy.”
Myth #4: Living simply and naturally will make my family happier.
Though my husband is usually very pleased, the kids are definitely not happier when I am obsessed with simplicity. They don’t want meals made from scratch and healthy snacks; they want to eat junk food all the livelong day. They get mad when I spend the 8 hours it takes to make homemade granola bars and feel as though I am depriving them of their favorite store-bought variety. There is nothing they love more than watching TV. They don’t want to pretend with simple, wooden toys like the kids pictured in the Nova Naturals catalogue, instead they want to play with the loudest, most annoying plastic toys EVER. Most days they want me to entertain them or they would like to punch each other in the face. Those seem to be the only two options.
Well, now you know. The curtain has been drawn and the truth is exposed. Living this way is hard and I would argue that it’s impossible to do it perfectly and stay sane at the same time. Perhaps you may be wondering if living simply and naturally doesn’t save time, doesn’t save money, doesn’t eliminate stress and doesn’t make everyone happy, why the heck should we bother? Well, for that you’ll have to stay tuned!