Catlin Gabel: what education can be
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My story is probably not much different from yours. Despite varying degrees of awareness and acceptance of seemingly “necessary evils” in our lives, we make choices every day influenced by our priorities and values. Sometimes it appears that constraints of time and money can limit access to better choices. Then I realized, Why should this be true? Sure, local, organic food choices tend to cost more, but as we know, a bombarded immune system from pesticides, preservatives and GMOs is also a cost.
Spending quality time with family or friends, or just with yourself, has a cost, but spending time with stress, or not having the energy to be present in the time spent with others, certainly has a higher cost. Better choices are a matter of not compromising your values, and health and happiness should be accessible to everyone, without compromise.
I have my experience with parenthood and Portland’s environment of forward-thinkers to thank for the opportunity to re-prioritize the costs of eco-friendly and health-conscious choices over the costs of not making those choices. Thankfully, the supportive community of our great city broadens the awareness and accessibility of sustainable choices, including bountiful outdoor activities in which to enjoy those choices.
Parenthood prompts a higher level of scrutiny over things we may not have previously considered priorities, such as reading beverage or snack ingredients, or understanding the need for hazard labels on bedding or baby products.
Having such a broad awareness of better living choices can also immobilize us. We cannot do it all. So it helps to start small with choices that improve the quality of life. For some, easier decisions begin with considering those elements with which we interact every day: being aware of consumption and waste, cutting out fast food and teaching those values to our children, and learning about food and clothing sourcing. Little steps are liberating and soon, Who knows? You could find a compost bin on your counter and only send trash to the curb every other week. However, the most rewarding choices are those that pay back immediately in health and happiness. Keeping a clean, less-toxic home for your family, without spending hours to do so each week, is one such choice, too.
Whether you try to ignore the dust bunnies under the bed or give up precious free time to tackle soap scum every week, choosing a reliable, consistent maid service that uses a non-toxic, sanitary cleaning process is an investment in your families’ health and your peace of mind. It saves you the lost time in fighting sickness from excess allergens, breeding germs, or toxic buildup from non-biodegradable traditional cleaning products. It also allows you to enjoy more free time making memories, and a chance to enjoy coming home to a sparkling home, instead of being too exhausted to enjoy the product of your own hard work!
This may seem a choice of trade-offs, either in the cost (prices typically start at $100 per month), or in your own hesitation to give up control of taking care of these chores. But considering the potential costs of not making the choice, it’s no compromise. I have built my business, EcoMaids, around providing women and their families the opportunity to choose happy, healthier homes. Women often feel they have to “do it all.” This includes all the tasks of daily living: taking care of kids, working and of course, keeping up with the housework. But I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of an improved quality of life that comes with delegating some of that load.
Spring is often the time when we get the itch to clear out and clean up the spaces where we live. Do take a look at healthier, non-toxic cleaning products as a small but important choice. It will also be the time when kids will want to get out of the house and shake off some energy, as the days become nicer. As a busy working mom, I know that choosing how to best spend that quality time — productive versus playful — can be overwhelming. Just a few words of wisdom as a gentle reminder, based on the spring cleaning time of year and my personal and professional experience: Give up the idea of doing it all, and your heart will be thankful for those little and larger choices that improve the quality of health and happiness, without compromise.
Lindsay Dellasega is the owner of the local eco-friendly maid service EcoMaids. Visit Lindsay for suggestions on eco-friendly cleaning products at the Better Living Expo March 22-24or visit www.portland.ecomaids.com