photo courtesy of Manuel J. Prietoon Flickr
It has been close to 12 years since a mix of “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” and “Hot For Teacher” welcomed the new Mr. & Mrs. Hurff! He is an old school farm boy and she is the crunchy special education teacher who is going to right all the wrongs of the world. We vowed to one day raise a family, never truly understanding how insanely rewarding and exhausting the journey would be. The journey as of today has blessed us with three children (ages 5, 8 & 10), each a firecracker in their own right that keeps us on our toes every day. We have a small farm with a great garden and six feisty chickens. Our daily routine also involves navigating the world of food allergies and Meniere’s disease. The calendar sometimes gets the best of us and we are quickly reminded to slow down. We treat each day as a gift and a blank page ready to be jam-packed with the musings of our crazy wonderful life journey.
We make it a priority to know what goes on and in our body; what we can grow on the farm and how we grow those crops and how to raise our animals in the healthiest way. We are passionate about these things and it is something we research, question, discuss and yes, sometimes clash about daily. We know we still have a lot to learn and that adjustments are just a part of life. We also know that taking the first step toward a lifestyle change is the hardest; but very quickly you hit your stride and are off and running. I mean let’s face it, the labyrinth of organic, Non-GMO, all natural, BPA free, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial colors or flavors, peanut free, tree nut free, gluten free, no artificial sweeteners, no aluminum and no parabens is (and this is a gross understatement) overwhelming, expensive, contradicting, politically and socially arduous. My absolute favorite part of navigating this (insert sarcasm) is when I make a brilliant and healthy decision that I know is going to help the health and wellness of my family. I am doing a happy dance! My husband and I are in agreement. There is a rainbow over our home confirming we are on the right path. Then 2 days later someone sends me an article or I see a news cast announcing that the very choice I made will now (insert mocking tone) kill me, my family and my chickens in 24 hours unless we all eat three avocados standing on our heads each day for the next week! WHAT?!?!
I know I am poking fun, but you get what I am saying right? The conflicting stories, the news reports, the label changes, the sifting through fact vs. fiction is enough to cause even the most committed to a healthy lifestyle to ponder throwing in the towel. I have been there – feeling defeated, confused and even lost. I got over it. Reality is we are not going to get it all right all the time and that is okay. As parents we do the best we can each day. There will be times my family is running like a well-oiled machine and other times “hot mess” is a more suitable title. There are nights when a healthy home cooked meal gets replaced with a piping hot pizza that I didn’t cook because quite frankly I just did not feel like it.
The point of this post is…go easy on yourself. Stop comparing yourself and your family to the neighbors down the street. If your child has 2 lollipops while waiting for the van’s flat tire to be fixed because you are spent and just cannot give any more…so be it. The world will not end. In fact I bet you will gain a few moments of peace to regroup, which is a win-win in my book! Please let go of the guilt that you aren’t living up to the media’s expectations for parenting and managing your family. Be authentic in your living while continuing to make healthy and smart choices for the betterment of your family.
|Taralee A. O’Malley-Hurff is an educator, a philanthropist and a published author. Her book, 100 Things To Do Before You Are 10, is the go to resource for family bonding and adventure. Taralee has passionately contributed to the fields of special education and early childhood education since 1998, meeting her students as needed in the home or in school. She excels at recognizing each child’s unique gift and successfully ignites their love of learning through exploration, discovery and play. It is through this work that Inspired Eductation was born. As a philanthropist, Taralee currently serves as the President of the Board of Trustees for the Southern Regional New Jersey Early Intervention Collaborative. This is her 6th year as a Board Member. Taralee enjoys family life in Southern New Jersey with her husband and three children.