Saturday, January 14, 2012

How Buying Organic Food Affects My Self Worth

I just opened my fridge to get more milk for the little guy; even if he had already imbibed twelve gallons of milk already, I would be physically unable to say no to the words "Pease, Mulk" in his ridiculously adorable little voice. I promise you wouldn't be able to either.

Anyway, as I reached in for the milk, I surveyed my semi-orderly fridge (we had company coming and I was somewhat influenced by the unnaturally neat fridges I'd observed on MTV's Cribs at some point in the past). As I glanced around for about 6.5 seconds, I felt myself feeling oddly affirmed by the choices I had made at the local Ingles the day before. Organic milk, organic yogurt, organic butter, organic apples, etc. I mean, despite some mistakes like the genetically-altered pancake syrup in the side door and maybe a box of pre-cooked bacon (this probably should not exist in the natural order of things), I had done a pretty good job of keeping my family hormone and high-fructose corn syrup free. Mental pat on the back. She shoots, she scores! Fist bumps all around. I felt like super-mom/wife/person for a minute there.

I bet you're assuming that I've been in the house too long (again) or perhaps have been sniffing the glue I used to re-attach the handle to my Crock Pot lid yesterday (which, oddly enough, fell on my head and broke the night before). Or, maybe you're just as guilty as I am about assessing your value as a producer and raiser of children by how organic your groceries are. It's hard not to let this happen. Every parenting magazine, mom website, mom blog, local CSA nutritional magazine that you see at the door of Whole Foods, they all say the same thing: If you don't buy organic, your children's brains won't develop to their full potential OR you could die from some unnamed toxin that was sprayed on your vegetables in some Latin American country before you innocently bought them in Bi-Lo's innocuous produce aisle.

It's hard being a mom. It gives you about 4,508 more reasons to be anxious throughout any given day. I've recently decided not to renew my subscription to Parents magazine (despite the low, low price of $7.99 a year) because their editors have apparently determined that good articles and fear-mongering are the same thing. I seriously cannot read another article about all the communicable diseases that are on their way to becoming resistant to antibiotics. OR, how many ways your child could be accidentally maimed and/or killed by unassuming objects in your own home. It's enough to make one give those 1950's mothers' popping Valium a nod of sympathetic understanding.

And so, I fight back. I babyproof my house and I buy organic. And, then I feel awesome. Sort of.

But, what's the deal with organic food's impact on my identity and sense of self? I'm a little surprised and maybe slightly humored by the things that affect the lens I see myself through now that I'm a mom. It's a little overwhelming at times navigating through the parenting process and wondering if some small thing will upset the whole apple cart (and find Sam getting his GED years later and making a career out of grocery-bagging).

Well, there you have it. I value myself based on my produce selection and I worry that Sam will lose an arm in some freak accident involving our vacuum cleaner. Who knew motherhood could create such neurosis? This, my friends, is what drives me to Nutella, which is basically a chocolate/hazelnut version of Valium. With more calories. But without those pesky side effects of rage and hysteria.

I think I could use a spoonful right now.


  1. It's time you write a book, my friend, you have the GIFT of writing. Love it. :)

  2. I definitely understand what you mean! We have thus far only caved to the organic movement by buying organic milk for Ella (James and I still drink the normal stuff) and by growing a vegetable garden in the back yard. I can't afford organic produce, so I have to grow my own if I want it to be pesticide free. Of course, then I have to share with the squirrels who eat our tomatoes...



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