Les bons parents propres
Si les images publicitaires du bon père ou de la bonne
mère sont justes alors, je dois vous avouer quelque chose : "Je suis
fier d'être une mauvaise mère mais consciente de l'environnement."
Les entreprises qui vendent des produits nocifs tels les
nettoyeurs et les désodorisants ne mentionnent nullement dans leurs
publicités que ces derniers ne sont que des mélanges de produits
chimiques comme des formaldéhydes, des phénylphénols, des
dichlorobenzènes, des hydrocarbones aromatiques et des naphtalènes. Ces
produits chimiques peuvent être la cause aussi bien de dysfonctions
cérébrales que de dommages au système nerveux central; ils peuvent
aussi faire en sorte que même des enfants ou des personnes parmi les plus
vigoureuses soient incapables d'apprendre!
Mon objectif est plutôt de me laisser baigner dans les
parfums tels que notre mère Nature nous les offre et non pas d'être
assommée par une suffocante exhalaison synthétique capable de causer des
dommages au système immunitaire et de donner des maux de tête.
Je suis fière d'être capable de dire que je m'intéresse
aussi bien de la santé de ma famille que celle de son environnement.
Good Clean Parenting?
Campaign for Pesticide Reduction, Quispamsis NB
it, an ambiguously blonde mother, young, thin, casually dressed,
attractive (but not too beautiful), disposing of her mop and bucket in
an impeccably decorated kitchen (color coordinated and clean counters
too!). She is not alone in her kitchen. She is accompanied by a blonde
cherubic child (genderlessly dressed and coiffured). Both are displaying
wide, white, "I can afford a dentist", toothy grins, seemingly
happy to be alive. She emphatically states that a new product has ended
the drudgery of housework and she presents us with a Swiffer-type mop
produced by the makers of Pledge (you know, the polish that shines the
furniture with Naphtha and other petroleum by-products that causes brain
damage and smells sort of like a lemon). Cut to cherub crawling across a
perfect floor with perfectly clean knees on his/her pants (Wow, I think,
not a mark on it, not even one scuff). Cut back to Mom who states, and I
quote, "My house is clean. I feel like a good mother!"
As a woman, and a mother, it upsets me to see how advertising
manipulates viewers. The woman in the commercial has been hand picked
because the makers of Pledge want to reach a stereotypically specific
demographic, i.e.: white, middle class urbanites who have cash to spend.
She can not look too good, because the viewer may not identify with her
if she totally out shines us, but she must look better than us so we can
have something to strive towards. And we must not forget that this new
Pledge (they mean promise) mop will be all we need to have this
lifestyle. The message is that to be a good parent your house must look,
smell and taste a certain way or you are not worthy of the title.
This commercial is but a sample of what we are faced with, sometimes
on an hourly basis, that has, for generations, influenced how we define
ourselves as parents. Since the dawn of radio and television,
advertisers have tried to sell us things that they believe we cannot
live without (while they make a few bucks in the process). Their job is
to convince us that we need their stuff in order to be worthy of the
title "good parent".
play on our sympathies, our longing, our low self-esteem and our desire
to belong, to be like everyone else, to look like a good parent, and to
rid the world of that dreaded bacteria whose name we cannot pronounce.
(photo: SC Johnson)
Let's think this over for a second…
It has been brought to our attention that this dreaded bacteria hangs
around the toilet and will make us sick if we drink the water... we must
try the new and improved 2000 Flushes with chlorine bleach! All of this
makes me want to scream, "So don't drink the water, already. It's
not rocket science, it's a place for human waste... think about
it!" Advertisers fail to mention in their commercial that when
chlorine is mixed with a fatty acid, such as urine, it off-gasses
chlorine gas. You know, the stuff they killed people with during WWI!
Picture it, an angelic toddler sitting on the toilet in a perfectly
clean, color coordinated, towel-less bathroom. After a stinky, he (it's
a boy because it is okay for boys to smell but not little girls, God
forbid!) presses a button to emit gas to rid the bathroom, and the
world, of the smell of his stinky. They cannot even say the word, they
allude to it with a nose pinch. It makes me want to scream! The
advertisers who sell these noxious products fail to mention in their
commercials that they are made from a combination of chemicals, such as
formaldehyde, phenylphenol, dichlorobenzene, aromatic hydrocarbons and
naphthalene, chemicals which can cause everything from brain
dysfunction, to central nervous system damage and can render even the
hardiest child/person unable to learn!
Have you ever walked into someone's house and you could not breathe
because of the Glade plug-ins that make the house smell like everything
from a "I cannot believe it's not a real pine forest" to a
floral bouquet (if you have ever gone out of doors you would be able to
spot the difference in a split second).
Well, if a product-selling advertiser's version of what it means to
be a good mother/parent is true, then I have a confession to make--I am
proud that I am an environmentally conscious, bad mother. My house does
not smell like a "sort of lemon", or a "real pine
forest", or a synthetic floral bouquet. On occasion, I have scuff
marks on my floors, I get mould in the most unlikely places because my
house breathes, on occasion my children wear socks that have darkened
soles from wear, I have fingerprints on my windows and sometimes you can
see crumbs on my counter. (Gasp! Shameless!) The upside is, that since I
gave up the pine forest dream, I am a happier, more involved mother. My
day is filled with my children and work, rather than constant anger at
the little spills and messes that children often make--which seem to
disrespect my hard work. My stress has decreased and I spend less money
on those synthetic cleaners. My children and I have more time to spend
together working with clay and paints, while sitting on the floor or at
the table without a shine. We have not had the need for penicillin in
years and I have only missed one day of work this year due to illness,
not mine, but my child's.
(photo: Peter Walsh,
outside her home
in Quispamsis, NB.
need to reassess
where they put
what are we supposed to clean with? I clean my house with Nature Clean
organic cleaners (which can be purchased at most health and grocery
stores), baking soda, vinegar and occasionally Borax, washing soda, and
pure lemon or peroxide for those tough stains. What does my house smell
like? My home smells like thyme, sweet grass, cedar, sage, rosemary,
juniper berry, yang ylang or patchouli (and occasionally lavender) that
comes from either plants that I grow in my yard, or from organic
essences that I purchase from reputable sellers. I add those to my
unscented cleaners when I feel the need to sweeten the air. My goal is
to embrace Nature's odors in the form that she gives them to me, not
through overpowering synthetic knock-offs that cause damage to our
immune systems and give us headaches. I am proud to say that I care
about my family and the environment. Staying healthy increases my
self-esteem and empowers me as a parent. For me, the healthier and
happier my children are, the more reinforcement I get that I am doing
the right thing.