Dear Stress, Let’s Break Up.

I’ve hit a rough patch. No, that doesn’t quite describe it accurately. For those of you who live in my hometown of Worcester, you will understand this metaphor better. For the past few months I have been going back and forth, up and down, Plantation street, at rush hour, weaving in and around the ever active construction, and hitting just about every pothole in the road. Bumpy, to say the least.

Last year at the Caya Retreat, I met a mom who had 5 young children. She described the experience like this, “Imagine that you are drowning, and then someone hands you a baby.”

I’ve been wishing, hoping, praying, for someone to hand me a baby (my own, in my uterus) for months now. (More on that later) But lately, I’ve been feeling like I am drowning. In typical Jozie fashion, I have made too many changes, and taken on too much all at once. Why do I keep setting myself up to crash and burn? Why do I have this unrealistic idea that I am super woman and can handle IT ALL? Oh, because modern society likes to tell me that’s what I should be.

I had a wise teacher in massage school that used to say, “Quit shoulding on yourself.”

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The truth of the matter is, I am once again at a point in my life, where something has got to give. The beauty of this experience is that I have recognized it (from having seen it many times before) and I have a choice. By something has got to I give, I mean I have got to stop doing one of the things I am doing that is draining my energy. To some this may look like quitting. To others, who have an understanding of energy, priority, and healthy balance, this will look like a reasonable decision. In truth, it doesn’t matter what this looks like to anyone. What is important is how it feels to me.

Honestly it’s one of the best and worst feelings that I have the privilege of experiencing in this beautiful life. 

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The guilt of “giving up”, the resolve to stay truer to myself next time, the relief from exhaustion, and the realization that my choice always brings me back to what is truly most important to me, my family.

Every time I make a decision to leave something, to “give something up”, to stop doing, I decide that what is truly worth my time and effort is the ones I love. Nothing is more important to me than them.

Some will say I’m losing out on my goals and aspirations by putting my husband and child before myself. Some will say I should be able to do it all, work, parent, and go to school, because lots of people do it. But I say, my family IS me. By putting them first I am putting myself first. And I say, that I cannot do it all at the expense of my physical and mental health. Lots of people are sick and miserable in this country, because they push themselves too hard. I do not want to be one of them, not for any goal or aspiration.

And so to me, saying, “I Quit” or, “I Give Up” really means that I am saying, “I Choose Me” or, “I Choose Us”. I choose to keep myself healthy and happy, so that I can keep you healthy and happy. I choose to be with you, instead of running myself ragged in pursuit of “goals”. Yes this means I won’t achieve what I set out to achieve. Yes this means that I am accepting a path that is different from what it might have been. But in all honesty, I am OK with that. I am OK with being a mom who chooses to put my family first. This thing I am giving up on, really isn’t mine anyways. When the goal or the dream IS something that is truly my heart’s desire, I won’t give up, but it also won’t be as hard.

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And so, dear stress, dear self-induced exhaustion and overload, let’s break up. I don’t need you. What I need is the me that is calm, and happy, and in love with the world.

My Go-to Non Toxic Products

My desire for non-toxic products and cleaning solutions began years before I ever became pregnant with my son. I dappled in making my own cleansers, face products, and the like. I even vowed to make all natural sunscreen and give it to my group of springtime detoxers after hearing about all the hormone disrupters and carcinogens in commercial sunscreen. However, when I did become pregnant, my desire deepened… but my time lessened. I still wanted to use and share products that were natural and non-toxic, but I didn’t have the time to be making them. Enter stage right, a company who not only uses only the best, natural, non-toxic ingredients, but also has a message to share with the world, the same message I had been sharing with my students and clients all along.

Ava Anderson Non-Toxic is a direct selling company (meaning that you can buy their products through independent consultants and these consultants get a small percentage of the profit to help support their families). It is a company founded by a young woman, Ava, who upon finding out about all the harmful, and often hidden chemicals in our daily products, put her foot down and said “no”. “No” to using these products on her body. “No” to supporting these chemical companies and their indifference for our health. “No” to accepting that there wasn’t any other way. Being from a family who had experience in direct sales, she began her own company to find a solution to this problem.

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I discovered Ava Anderson Non Toxic when a single product (which is now still my favorite) was gifted to my at my baby shower. The diaper cream. This diaper cream is unlike any other cream, in that it’s not just for your baby’s bum. It has uses that extend far beyond the crevices of your wee ones private area. Check them out:

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The diaper cream began my journey in to learning more about these products. I wanted the absolute best for my baby, but also for myself, my husband, even my pets. Ava Anderson Non Toxic had a solution for everything. When I was opening my eensy, weensy yoga and massage studio three months after my son was born, I decided I wanted to sell Ava products in my eensy, weensy store. I became a consultant and stocked the shelves with samples. I thought surely these products would sell themselves, and in many ways they did. I however, I have learned over time that I am not the best at direct sales. I am simply not so awesome at keeping up with hosting parties, entering orders and calculating gifts, and the rest of what goes along with running that kind of business. I do however love to support my friends who are good at this kind of stuff, and my sponsor Jen Pignataro is one of them.

Even though I am no direct sales superstar, I still love the products made by this company. My favorites are: the shampoo and conditioner, because it is literally impossible to find another product that doesn’t have some form of chemical in it, the body butter, because mmmm, butter, and the cleaning products. All. of. them. Everything smells fresh, but not overpowering (because as my husband will tell you my nose has the sensitivity of a blood hound). And they work. Plain and simple. I don’t have to worry about chemicals, AND the products get the job done. What else can a mama ask for, really?

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Oh, price. Yes, a mama can ask for price.

We are a family on a tight budget, as I know most other families of little ones are. These products are not as cheap as the ones you might find in your grocery store, unless you shop at Whole Foods, then you can ignore the rest of this paragraph. The ingredients in these products cost more because they are better. The phrase “you pay for what you get” applies here in a very positive way. You pay for amazing ingredients that won’t make you or your family sick. Period. The end. BUT…. these products are so effective, that a little goes a long way. For instance… I bought a bottle of the shampoo and conditioner in June 2014, and I am still using it. It’s March, 2015, the thing might actually last me the whole year. Granted, I wash my hair every other day, use sparingly, and occasionally dabble in other methods (like no poo, which I will save for another post). But I think you get my point.

Ava Anderson Non Toxic really is a great company. Their “Ava Hours” are all about educating people on what harmful chemicals they might be exposing themselves to without even knowing. It can be scary people, really it can. But not to fret. Once you are educated, you can make a choice. I choose Ava products as often as I can. Yes sometimes my wallet, and occasionally my husband (he’s still a bleach lover, or advocate, as he would say, much to my chagrin) point me in other directions. But overall I feel safer, and even cleaner when I use a product that I know has nothing to hide.

Have you used Ava Anderson Non Toxic products? 

What do you love?

What are you still searching for a solution to?