The Newly Vegan Homemaker
I awoke one day...changed. I knew that making the life choice of veganism would change me but I didn't realize how it might affect those around me. I no longer would take my children to the fast-food drive-thru for a “Happy (or rather, UN-Happy) Meal.” I would no longer dine on a steak with my wonderful husband on a quiet date. These things may seem insignificant to many people (particularly those vegans who are unmarried or unattached), but they are daily issues here in my home.
"Why are you changing my shampoo, honey? You know that I have been using the same brand since I was a teenager. What is this new stuff? I am not going to like it!" exclaimed my husband of seven years. I recently switched his shampoo from a mainstream, animal-tested brand to a cruelty-free herbal one he never heard of. Yet there is no way he is going to drive twenty miles into town to buy his old favorite on his day off, so he grumbles about it and then concedes. This is the gist of my attempts to find balance -- keeping harmony within my well-established family, which includes me (27), my husband (30), my oldest son (4), and my youngest son (2). I can't compromise my newly found values, yet I don't want to cause a huge amount of upheaval to my omnivorous loved ones.
My balance is A LOT of hard work. I have to prepare meals that taste beyond fantastic. This is to ensure that my husband and children will like them regardless of the fact that they contain no animal products whatsoever. Taking the chicken out of my famous fajitas (that were mostly all vegetables to begin with) has been an issue, as has replacing the ground beef in my chili or even making a new kind of egg-free chocolate chip cookie. My husband had become famous at his office for bringing in large containers of my old cookie recipes that contained eggs and butter. He used to share them with his buddies and would get a lot of praise for them. Now he has to bring vegan cookies (gasp!) for his steel recycling mill co-workers to scrutinize. "What will they think?" he worries.
My children have done pretty well. However, my oldest had a love affair with dairy products, so that has been a tough uphill battle. The children are okay with soy hot dogs but not all of those extra veggies! They are disappointed that I took away their favorite bubble bath (made by a company that conducts animal tests) and replaced it with something that smells different and doesn't make very large bubbles. Luckily for me, they are young and impressionable, so making the change now is probably more painless for them in the long run.
It isn't easy putting vegan meals in front of three omnivores daily, as well as keeping them pleased in all other areas of life. It makes them uncomfortable right now -- this isn't their "norm." So, even though becoming vegan has been an uplifting experience for me, it is a lot of hard work on my part. Keeping everyone happy without cruelty has been difficult for me to accomplish. It is worth it, though, and I won't give up on my dedication to this lifestyle. This is what keeping balance for me is all about.
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