Guest Blog by Emily Anne Jones: As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mother. I distinctly remember playing “pretend” with my little sister, each of us having several babies to take care of, feed and change. Motherhood, in my mind, was pure bliss. Fast-forward a few decades and I suddenly found myself the mother of three beautiful, precious, LOUD and dirty boys…age 3 and under. Pure bliss? Um. Not quite. “Pure stress” was more like it.
I had always been a happy person throughout my childhood and pre-mom life–one of those naturally high people for whom others often rolled eyes. I’m not really sure when that all changed exactly. Maybe it was when I went from an elementary teacher with a rewarding professional career to a diaper-changing milk-machine. Or maybe it was when my robust social life of drinks, dancing and girlfriends turned into PB&J park picnics with inanimate Disney cars and a 3 kids who can’t wipe themselves. I dunno…but I changed.
I slipped into a terrible, sad, deep and often dark place. “Post-partum Depression” the doctor said. “We think it’s probably severe enough to warrant medication.” Wait. What? Really? I spent the next few days in a mental debate with myself, too long to recap here…but finally decided that I’d rather be dependent on meds my whole life and be a happier, better mom, than waste any more time in the darkness. So, I took the pills…and they helped. They helped a lot.
I definitely felt better, but still, there was something missing. I felt a longing, a yearning–I wanted more. I needed more purpose. Please don’t mistake my longing for purpose as somehow under-appreciating my blessing of being a mother. I totally understand that is a HUGE purpose and one that I’m forever grateful to have. I just wanted more.
Enter my sweet friend, Jen. She came over to share an opportunity–but for me it was A LIFELINE. She gave me one of the most unexpected gifts at a truly unexpected time. Jen told me about a new company, called Beautycounter–barely 3 months old at the time–that was a founded with a mission of EDUCATING and ADVOCATING. Beautycounter was a product line, yes…but with PURPOSE. It sounded a little too good to be true, if I’m being honest. Great products and a chance to save the world? Seriously? I was skeptical for a hot minute or two…but the more I read and the more I learned, the more compelling it became. During the next 24 hours I did some digging. I discovered that the US has not passed a new federal law governing the cosmetics industry since 1938. You read that right: 1938. I learned that the European Union (EU) bans approximately 1300 ingredients from personal care products alone…the US? 30. After just 48 hours of thinking about it, I decided to jump in with both feet and lend my voice to the movement. I was scared about the amount of time it might take (did I have any to spare with 3 little people?). I was skeptical about the “performance” of the products (can safer things actually work?). I was worried about what my friends would think (omg, what if I’m the laughing stock of Kindermusik?!?). But what I quickly learned was that I found time for things that mattered, the products were incredible and my friends and family were happy for me.
It’s been a little more than 5 years since I joined Beautycounter and looking back, I’m so proud of the work we’ve done, where we are today and where we are going in the future. In just 2018, my personal team of 150 women put $1.1M worth of safer products into the hands of Americans and Canadians! AND Our company was THE #1 MOST GOOGLED BEAUTY BRAND! That’s saying a lot!
I could never have imagined the vast impact that this business would have–not just financially (which has been significant) but mostly in how my boys see me. I think it would have been easy to have a traditional “stay-at-home” mom life: cooking, cleaning, crafting and Marie-Kondo-ing a home into an organized and smoothly run household. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a beautiful life for some women…but not me. I wanted my boys to understand that women can be great moms, wives, businesswomen and change-makers… I wanted them to see great examples of strong, capable, independent and powerful women…who are also soft, gentle and lovely. I wanted them to see that if you believe in something enough, then it’s worth working hard. And that if you work hard, then nothing is impossible. My boys are who drive me to continue marching along this path.
So, on this day March 4…Beautycounter turns 6 years old. Our company started with the only command of the year: MARCH FORTH. I love that. Marching forward to Washington, DC to ask for better, more health-protective laws, to demand that other companies follow suit, to demand that the FDA get its act together and provide some oversight to regulate ingredients that are known to be carcinogenic or hormone disruptive. I’m marching forth in the name of safety so that my children’s children might not have to worry if their shampoo or toothpaste contains ingredients that may one day make them sick.
I ask, no URGE you to march forth with me. Here’s how:
-Educate yourself on toxic ingredients (here’s a link to our Never List, a great place to start)
-Use brands that you can trust (Certified B Corps are usually good).
-Vote with your dollars (what you buy) and ask yourself WHY some companies are formulating products one way in Europe and a different (less expensive, more toxic) way in the US
-Reach out to your representatives and make your voice heard…it’s easy and effective.
-JOIN ME. It’s been such a rewarding and purposeful journey.
Here’s to nearly 6 years of the best version of me…marching forth happily in my better-beauty-boy-mama world.
Connect with me:
Emily Anne Jones lives in Clemmons, NC with her husband, three boys ages 9,7 and 5 1/2 and an energetic GSP puppy named Knox. She loves Jesus, people, working out and all things girlie.
Megan is a family, children, maternity, newborn, baby, high school senior and wedding photographer. She specializes in family photography, children photography and newborn photography at an affordable price. Most of her sessions take place in an outdoor setting in Mocksville, Advance, Clemmons, Winston-Salem and Kernersville, NC. Her main goal is to capture lasting photos for you of your kids being kids, you being you and your family being your family!