About two months ago, I decided to embark on the adventure of making my own laundry detergent using Ivory soap, washing soda, Borax and scent crystals. I had so much fun I tried my hand at making dishwasher tablets and my own home cleaning supplies using the same ingredients plus vinegar, scented oils and castile soap. I thought it all was marvelous, I was able to make simple, very cheap, but effective replacements for the expensive home supplies we have purchased throughout the years.
Not so, my friends. It was truly marvelous for me, however, my husband was not enthralled, not one bit. He tried to be somewhat supportive in the beginning when the detergent replaced his beloved Tide Pods, but as I made more and more ‘non-commercial’ products out of the same ingredients, he became more nervous about the quality of the product, and what this change in my thinking meant. Would our house end up empty? Would I simplify him? Was I going to start purchasing only organic items? I was changing too fast, and because he isn’t as ‘intentional’ as I am, he was unsure of what would come next.
The last straw was my homemade toothpaste powder. Yesterday, I made a new batch of laundry detergent, and my toothpaste ran out in the morning, so why not look up a recipe and make a batch of that as well? My husband and I use two separate toothpastes anyway, so I wasn’t worried about what he would think. I located a recipe that included baking soda (one of my favorite ingredients for home supplies), sea salt and sage (for whitening purposes) and some lemon oil for flavor. I mixed them all together and ‘tada!’, I had homemade tooth powder to use instead of toothpaste.
My husband had been out doing some grocery shopping, and when he got home, I proudly showed him my new toothpowder, and what can I say…he flipped out! By flipped out, I mean he got mad and went to the bedroom and shut the door so he could be alone. I was somewhat puzzled, so after a half hour or so, I went in and proceeded to talk about what was bothering him. Out came the frustration finally that I am changing, with all my minimizing, simplifying, ‘intentional living’ talk and now changing all our home products to homemade ones which he just doesn’t feel comfortable with, well, it was just too much change, too quickly. The cherry on top was that toothpaste powder. He said I am starting to “push against too many ‘social norms’“for him to be comfortable with my changes.
That was an interesting conversation, which ultimately ended up with commercial detergent, a few cleaning supplies and dishwasher tablets back in the house. I did keep my toothpowder though, just on principle. J I learned quite a bit this weekend from this experience-
Go Slow. When you decide to make life changes, move slowly and intentionally, and involve those around you, especially those who live with you, so you can make sure they are in agreement with the changes. No matter how good of an idea or change you think something is, if those you love aren’t on board, it is going to be difficult and not nearly as satisfying.
Commercialism has a lot of power. I love my husband to death, but he has very much bought into the commercialism, the pretty packaging and the idea that for a product to work, it has to be chemically engineered in a lab or factory somewhere other than our home. This experience has helped me realize just how much media influences us in our purchase decisions, and to make even more intentional decisions on my spending.
Good relationships trump purchases (or homemade supplies in my case). In my case, I told my husband that if he was that uncomfortable with the supplies I had made, that we could switch back to the store bought supplies. In the end, it wasn’t something I felt was worth fighting for, and I want him to be comfortable in his own home and not feel like it is changing beyond his control.
After this weekend, I am going to intentionally make an effort to go slower and think through changes I would like to make, and communicate more openly with my husband about his thoughts and feelings towards the change before I make it. Preserving a happy home and a happy spouse is my first and foremost reason for intentional living, and communication and going slow is essential.
Now, what to do with that 6 pound bag of brand new baking soda???