You know the saying:
Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.
Well, you might not have heard the next part of that quote.
Give a man a facebook account and he'll read how eating fish will poison him slowly with toxins and how he's a horrible human being for destroying the planet with such cruelty.
I love being a mom in this modern day. To be able to type in a few words on my computer and look up a recipe, a toddler activity, a question about housekeeping, laundry tips, encouraging posts for a weary mama- I love the assistance that the online community gives me as a stay-at-home mom to little people.
But something has been seriously been bugging me lately.
Having access to so much information can be wonderful and yet it also can be horrible, annoying, and paralyzing.
It all started with the water.
We all know that we're supposed to drink a lot of water. I personally love water. My kids love water. Water is our #1 drink of choice here.
Both of my kids had their first dentist appointment a few weeks ago, and to my delight- neither one of them had any cavities. Even Addison who has pitted teeth (especially prone to cavities) - cavity free.
I was feeling good about this until I logged onto Facebook and read an article that fluoride in the water (like we have at our house) may be good for the teeth, but causes your child's IQ to drop significantly.
Suddenly, I was panicked. I sacrificed brain cells for good teeth? Without knowing it? My children will flash brilliantly beautiful smiles, but not have the IQ they were meant to have? Because I let them drink WATER?
So we should drink bottle water only?
Feeling immensely guilty, I scrolled down a bit farther and read an article on how drinking water from bottles that are not BPA free fills your body with unhealthy toxins.
So only bottled water that is in BPA free bottles?
Scrolling down even farther, I read an article about new discoveries uncovering harmful chemicals used in making bottles BPA free that have been causing children to receive dangerously high amounts of estrogen.
Let me get this straight
1. Tap Water NO
2. Regular water bottles NO
3. BPA free water bottles NO
Should we collect our own rain water?
Nope. A facebook article on the danger of polluted rain water poisoning the globe one storm at a time crossed that right off my list.
Sooooooo what is safe to drink?
Ever so helpful Facebook says:
1. No juice boxes because of sugar AND a lot of the boxes contain mold that you can't see
2. No skim milk because of horrible chemicals used in making the milk skim
3. No whole milk because the childhood obesity rate in America can all be traced back to whole milk, not to mention all the hormones that are in that milk!
4. No soda unless you loathe your child and want to see their entire mouth rot out at age 5 with death soon to follow
Because of so much information being pushed into my face (I did not seek any of this info out), the next time one of my children says
"Can I have a drink?"
I'm to say
"NO! I love you too much to let you put horrible liquids into your body!"
"But I'm soooo thirsty!"
"You'll thank me someday when you make it to high school without horns, remaining toxin free!"
"Can I have an apple?"
"According to facebook, apples contain the largest amounts of pesticides. If you eat an apple you will probably get cancer in 30 seconds."
"Can I have some crackers?"
"PROCESSED FOODS? Are you kidding me? Facebook says that only parents who hate their children give their kids processed foods!"
"Can I have some grapes?"
"Here is an article about a two year old who choked on grapes and died. NOPE."
"Ok then can I have some chocolate?"
"I just found out that all chocolate contains hundreds of insect legs ground into it. WE ARE NEVER EATING CHOCOLATE AGAIN!"
"Can I have a green smoothie?"
"Well, this article says you should have a spinach smoothie every day, but this other article says that if you eat uncooked spinach your stomach will eat your kidney. To be safe- NO SMOOTHIES."
"Can I have a hot dog?"
"Well, these are all beef hot dogs, but according to this article- millions of beef products are being recalled because the cows had horrible diseases and everyone who accidentally consumed them transformed into the cast of the Walking Dead. Um...I think no meat for us."
"So what can I eat?"
"AIR! Gulp it up! I LOVE YOU!"
Food choices are only the beginning. If I read any more conflicting parenting articles, I might go completely crazy.
"Make sure you child has an iPad for learning purposes! Your child can get so much out of educational APS!"
"DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES let your child under 12 use a held held electronic device. If you do- they will never sit still longer than 10 seconds ever again."
"Play with your kids! Guide them! Teach them! Don't let a minute go to waste!"
"If you hover over your kids too much, they won't learn to play on their own! They will be scarred for life!"
"Your kids should be able to do this, this, and this by the time they are X years old OR ELSE YOU HAVE FAILED."
"Your kids should focus on play ONLY or else by the time they get to kindergarten they will have horrible behavioral problems because they are bored!"
Or Guilt articles
"10 things Moms should NEVER wear"
"5 Reasons your Kids hate you"
"20 ways you are ruining your children for life" (#1 is probably letting them drink water. Selfish, selfish parents)
Make it stop. Please.
The other day I couldn't go back to sleep in the middle of the night after feeding Eli, so I popped onto Facebook. Flashing up onto my newsfeed was an article warning about the dangers of letting a drop of water touch your contact lens. (I wear contacts) If one tiny drop from your shower, or swimming, or from freshly washed hands gets in your eye- a parasite could lodge there forever, eating your eye and requiring eye removal surgery.
Needless to say, I lay awake for an additional hour, my eyes feeling strangely itchy and weird.
(Ok- sorry about that last one. Your eyes feel weird now too...right?)
All this to say- I hate sometimes this modern world where information is too available. What happened to parents intuition? What happened to making good choices on your own without an extremist article on everything being forced on you by the internet? What happened to giving your kid a drink of water without worrying if it will ruin your child's future?
I understand researching and gathering all the information so that you can make an informed decision, but really? I feel like I am being inundated with information that is just.too.much.
Like finishing up twenty million loads of laundry only to learn that the gentle laundry soap I use is EATING MY CHILDREN'S SKIN because I didn't love them enough to make it from scratch.
Thanks for the guilt.
Suddenly the innocence of Laura Ingalls Wilder's life looks wildly appealing. I wonder if the grass roof on their house was full of pesticides?