The Consumerism Conflict
I had a few posts about gift ideas lined up to publish, but my spirit felt conflicted about my participation in promoting a consumerist mentality this season. In fact, over the course of a 6 day period, I got upwards of 7 emails per company whose newsletter I was subscribed to informing me:
Black Friday Sale is coming
Black Friday Sale is live
Black Friday Sale is extended
Black Friday Sale is ending
Cyber Monday Sale is coming
Cyber Monday Sale is live
Cyber Monday Sale is ending
Black Friday through Cyber Monday Sales are a great once-a-year opportunity to stock up or grab gifts you were already planning to buy. (Have you noticed that these emails tend to really be focused on buying for yourself even though they say "gifts"?) Those of us who know what we want and were waiting for the sale didn't need more than ONE e-mail announcement. But they know that. They email over and over to get you to finally give in because it's "such a good deal." But, it's not a good deal if you don't need it.
Most of you know I started this blog as a way to share my life as mom and recipient of PCOS, MTHFR and SOD (don't worry, it just means I'm a total handful and can't eat or drink or touch anything). We had already been eating a clean and organic diet, but we later discovered virtually everything in our home was contributing to worsening my endocrine disorder, and setting my daughter up for the same.
I worked tirelessly to find pure and clean alternatives for things like soaps, laundry detergent, shampoos and conditioners, skin and body products, make-up, water filters, glass storage containers, feminine products, essential oils, bedding, mattresses, etc, so it felt only right to share those findings with everyone.
It is impossible for me to run this blog without recommending pure and clean products that work.
Meanwhile, I found an incredible community with the #greenbeauty world; likeminded women who strive to make the best choices for their families diet and product choices. As an active member in this community, I've been able to test a lot of skin care and make-up as a "beauty blogger" - a title alone I'm not comfortable using! It is, admittedly, a lot of fun to get to play with new product releases and color schemes even though I don't need any of it.
Here's the thing: The Green Beauty movement has taken off in full force (YAY!) yet there are plenty of manufacturers trying to take advantage of this. They try to get away with what we call Greenwashing, using words like Natural, Organic, Baby Safe, Mineral-Based, etc. to trick the consumer into believing it is a pure and harmless product.
This is where I feel a sense of responsibility to keep up on the latest brands and products: to keep the ingredients first and foremost in everyone's mind. And if it happens to be clean, I'll tell you if works and if it's worth buying. I do NOT want to be a walking commercial but lately that's what it's felt like.
I took a look at my post content and my Beauty category far outnumbers those about PCOS, Motherhood, Marriage or Faith and it really bummed me out!
I'm struggling with the way my posts might come across. I want them to be an option for those in need, not to feed the appetite of a make-up junkie or pressure anyone to buy more stuff.
As a minimalist, my skincare and make up stash make my nauseous. Yes, it's all clean, but I don't need it all. Over the coming weeks and months, I hope return my blog to a more balanced representation of my life. Beauty and skincare products are the smallest portion of my life and therefore should be represented as such.
We are living in an age where we have access to anything we want whenever we want and our children have learned/are learning that instant gratification is normal and expected. Our culture's preoccupation with getting and spending has set us up for catastrophic failure. Not only are we trying to fill a void thinking we'll be happier with more, but hardly anyone I know even bothers keeping a budget, not to mention the heavy toll our environment takes for our materialistic appetites, including degradation of natural resources, pollution, slave labor and more.
I ditched the upcoming gift guides I had planned because the sheer volume of the ones I've already seen was insane. I don't mean any disrespect to the bloggers who spent time on theirs - believe me, I know how hard it is to make those!
I also recognize those who truly love to give gifts and those whose love language is gifts - but what is the motive behind it? The material possession or the thought and care? I'm not saying you shouldn't buy presents for your friends and family, but how amazing it would be for us to spend more time than money on others?
You can still spend money on things that give experiences - like:
a membership to a museum
tickets to a theme park or sporting event
a professional photo shoot
games for game night!
We want to institute the rule for giving gifts to Sawyer this year that has been around a while:
Something you want
Something you need
Something you wear
Something you read
I know my daughter may remember some Christmas gifts, but feeling loved, affirmed and encouraged will help build her confidence.
Helping her understand the importance of giving to the poor instead of getting an extra toy will help shape her character.
Spending time outdoors on adventures will build incredible memories...unless it's camping, please oh please don't let it be camping.
More than anything, we want her to participate fully in giving. Be it toys, time or baked goods, I want her to experience this joy and have it become habitual.
What about you? Did you feel pressured to spend this past weekend and moving into Christmas? If it bothers you, how are you planning to combat this? I'd love to hear your ideas!