She may never get to be Darth Vader when dueling lightsabers with her son, but a quick check of her twitter profile reveals that @OpheliaRising is still "pretty badass with a lightsaber". When asked why she has to act out the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi she tells me it is because her daughter insists on always playing Padme while her son plays Anakin. Wait, she has lightsaber duels with her kids on the living room furniture? I wish my mom played Star Wars with me when I was growing up!
Becky Powell (the real world face behind @OpheliaRising on twitter and author of the blog "Alice in Motherland") plays quite a few roles at home including: wife, mother, writer, star wars re-enacter, and (my personal favorite) fellow Tarheel. I had been following her on Twitter for a few months when I was asked to interview her for the fridgefilters blog. Since her Twitter account is one of my favorite follows I was really excited to have the opportunity to learn more about the real Becky Powell.
One of the things you need to know about Becky is that she is incredibly smart (I did mention she graduated from UNC right?) and puts a lot of effort into taking care of her children. Naturally we spent a lot of time talking about her family and how to raise happy, healthy kids. When she and her husband found out they were going to have their first child they agreed to try and make the healthiest choices possible. Becky set out to learn as much as she could about how to take care of her child, "I read books, ate all the right stuff" she explains and even switched to drinking only bottled water. At the time there were a lot of people saying that tap water wasn't safe and her doctors were telling her to drink a lot of water.
According to Becky that is when she first started to think about the quality of the water she was drinking. Her family has always been very health conscious and so when her second child was born it was back to bottled water, because "it seemed like a healthy choice". She had read up on Bisphenol A and knew to only buy plastics that were BPA free, but then she started following @fridgefilters on twitter. "I read on your blog that BPA Free is not the only toxin in plastics and the thing that really worried me is that they can leach estrogen disruptors". Now she tries to use less plastic, but if you have ever had a baby you know that avoiding plastics is not an easy job.
"Have you ever been to a Babies 'R Us? It's like the evil baby stuff Wal Mart," she tells me "they have everything for babies and so much of it is plastic." To make matters worse for a young health conscious mother she explains they also have a "huge display of Nursery Water, which is steamed, distilled, boiled water with fluoride added." Why put fluoride in water for babies for their formula when the babies teeth haven't even emerged yet? Oh, and Nursery Water also comes in large plastic containers. Which reminds me, never mess with a mom, especially not an informed one.
So Becky and her husband stopped buying plastic water bottles and switched to tap water. Their refrigerator had a water dispenser with a filter so they started using only water from their fridge. What she did not do was remember to change the water filter in her refrigerator. Ironically, Becky explains to me that her husband works in heating and air and often has to remind homeowners to change their air filters. It is really easy to forget to change your fridge's water filter, but you really can taste the difference. Becky found that out recently when she got a new water filter and "within a day I felt that our water tastes better. Now our kids are drinking a lot more water. Our kids don't drink a lot of soda, they drink juices and things like that, but I used to have to flavor their water to get them to drink it...now they are okay with drinking it straight from the fridge". The best part is that her whole family is no longer drinking from PET plastic bottles.
There are so many resources available now trying to tell you how to raise your kids and there is no way you can do them all. I asked Becky what her advice would be for other moms. Focus on the things you can control, "for me it is all about making incremental changes for me and my families health." A very special thanks to Becky for taking the time to share her story with me today. You can follow her on Twitter @OpheliaRising and on her blog at "Alice in Motherland".