To look at us, we look like your average family. But when people spend time around us or observe us in daily life they begin to see that we go against the grain in a lot of ways. Over 7 and a half years of marriage we have lived and learned. Our current lifestyle looks completely different than it did when we were newlyweds. Daniel and I are passionate about learning and seeking out information on new and better ways of doing things. We are constantly challenging the norm, and a lot of our conversations revolve around things we have read or seen, and whether or not we want to introduce them into our lifestyle.
I don’t believe there is anything wrong with the conventional way things are done. That being said, it surprises me how little people look into why they do what they do, and/or whether there are gaps in their knowledge. This only really bothers me though when, after doing research and making decisions we feel comfortable with, people still look at us like we are crazy.
I can’t count the comments we’ve gotten about natural birth, baby wearing, eating organic, eliminating most grains from our diet, cloth diapering, wood burning, vaccinations, chiropractic, alternative medicine, and especially baby led weaning. No one has better intentions for our little boy than Daniel and I. We would never do anything to jeopardize his safety or well being. We want the best of the best for him, that’s the whole point. It’s not fun to get “the look”, to be told “you are doing what?”, or to be treated like we believe everyone who takes the conventional route is beneath us. That is not how we feel at all!
Daniel has told me that he would be perfectly happy if no one ever knew these “against the grain” things that we do, and I share the sentiment. Some of our goals in life are to keep our family healthy, and be conscientious about consumption of resources and food. That does not mean we feel the need to convert everyone to our ways. On the contrary, we are a little family who prefers to stay below the radar. Like Daniel has told me before (he is so much better with words than I am), “We don’t like to rock the boat. Unfortunately things we choose to do tend to rock the boat.”
Daniel and I have discussed so many times how exhausting it is to feel like we constantly have to justify ourselves, because we really shouldn’t have to. We try to be patient and put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Maybe the people around us get defensive, or maybe they are concerned because they don’t know something we do. Who knows. Nothing in this area is worth making people feel inadequate or hurting feelings, so we try to pick our battles. What matters is that at the end of the day, our little family of three is happy and thriving greatly because of the lifestyle decisions we have made.
The question I have been asking myself is whether we should live our lives openly, or keep everything quiet? While I love conversation, I hate put downs. And I’ve wished I’d kept my mouth shut one too many times. Explaining why Daniel and I do certain things requires time and open ears – which are not always offered. In these kinds of situations I’m not very good at explaining things on the spot. I get the nervous jitters and wish I could just direct them to the source instead.
I don’t know that there is a global answer to my self-reflective question of whether I should be open, or keep things to myself. I’m sure there are going to be more good and bad experiences with all of this. But if life so far is a testament to what God is doing in my little family, hopefully I will become more discerning to decide when and where I should explain myself in ways that are helpful and constructive to others. I’m a work in progress!
If you are in the same boat as Daniel and I please share. You are not alone!
To those of you who inspire and encourage us (you know who you are), a blanket thank you!
Here’s to learning and living and taking care of ourselves and our families!