We live in a very complicated society. There are no more simple decisions to be made, no more boxes in which you simply check yes or no. There's too much information out there. Our information superhighway may make decision making more effective, but many times leaves me feeling like I'm stuck in traffic. There's just too much. We live in a society of too much. In fact, I think that "too much" needs to become the new official motto of the United States. We have too much, we consume too much, we know (or think we know) too much, and we still want more. Too much...
I was contemplating this state of too muchness today while reading information on homemade baby food. Our 9 month old has been attempting solid foods for a few months now. I have tried in the past few years to be more conscious of what I put into my body. I buy organic milk and vegetables, frequent the local farmer's market in the summer, and try to buy more natural products. After I had a child, I decided I wanted the same for him. I wanted to be very aware of what he put into his body and wanted to make sure he stayed away from processed food. My goal was to give him only breast milk until he was a year old and to make all of his baby food from scratch. Ha! The things you learn as you go... Working full-time, my milk supply has not grown with my son's appetite, and my husband and I introduced formula into his diet at 6 months. As for the food, the closest I've come to making it from scratch has been to mash up a banana!
I was reading a series of e-mails on a listserve I belong to about baby food, and all of the mothers who responded to a question about baby food make their food from scratch. One of the mothers found a website which she directed the group to that had baby food recipes and tips for parents to make food on their own. It's a great website, with great recipes and advice. The authors of the website have lots of facts and figures for why you should make your own baby food and the great benefits your baby will receive. It's one of those websites that makes me feel like a bad mother for investing in Gerber. The problem for me is that it's just too much. It's too much to bake chicken and apples and peaches and rice. It's too much to get out the food processor three times a day, dirty it up, clean it up, and put it back, only to go through the whole process again the next day. I only have so much time during the day, and I'd rather spend that time playing with my son and talking to my husband. That, for me, is not too much. Most days, it feels like it's not enough. It's easier for me to pop open a tub of Gerber sweet potatoes and corn than to go through the process of baking a sweet potato, roasting corn, and puree-ing them together. I know in the eyes of some this makes me a less than ideal mother, but I was never cut out to be June Cleaver. Anyway, June Cleaver is too much.
This idea of too much was driven home to me again when I was reading the latest edition of UN Wire, a daily e-mail update of articles published about human rights issues throughout the world. I was struck once more by the disparity of the too little in which most of the world lives and the too much in which Americans live. As a friend of mine recently said, at least we have a choice in the type of food we consume and give to our children. So many don't. Maybe my Gerber food isn't ideal, but it's food that nourishes and sustains my son, and for that I am very grateful. Gratitude can never be too much.
Blessings and Peace,