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Tonya Harris is an award-winning environmental toxin expert and the founder of Slightly Greener, offering busy women simple tips to reduce toxins without turning their family’s lifestyle upside-down.
As a childhood leukemia survivor and mom of three (ages 17, 19, and 23), Tonya helps parents learn how toxins in the home can affect their family’s health.
Tonya holds a Master’s degree in holistic nutrition, board certification and multiple certificates in the environmental health field.
She has been featured in multiple publications and TV shows across the country sharing her expertise in environmental toxins, holistic nutrition and how toxins affect children. And her new book “The Slightly Greener Method” was released by Sourcebooks on August 3rd, 2021.
Experience having her first child in college and then launching an e-commerce business
The ingredients she eliminated in her house to help her son’s attention issues
Other ingredients to get rid of in your house to make it “slightly greener”
Tips on where and what to start eliminating in your house by using her R.E.A.D. method
Her morning and nighttime wellness routine
Advice on raising teenagers
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[00:00:00] Stephanie: Welcome back to mommy’s on a call today, I’m bringing to you Tonya Harris. Tonya is an award-winning environmental toxin expert and the founder of slightly greener offering busy women, simple tips to reduce toxins without turning their family’s lifestyle upside down as a childhood leukemia survivor, and a mom of three Tanya helps parents learn how toxins in the home can affect their family’s health.
Tonya holds a master’s degree in holistic nutrition, board certifications, and multiple certificates in the environmental health field. She has been featured in multiple publications and TV shows across the country, sharing her expertise in environmental toxins, holistic nutrition, and how toxins affect children and her new book.
The slightly greener method was just released on August 3rd. Welcome Tanya.
[00:01:41] Tonya: Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here. I’m
[00:01:44] Stephanie: excited to have you and learn so much. You have such an incredible story. And what you’re doing right now, I think is so perfect for what moms need right now. But to start, I wanted to ask, what is your biggest mom win of
[00:01:57] Tonya: the week?
Gosh, my biggest mom wouldn’t have the week. Oh, I’d say almost at this point, cleaning my kitchen. I’d try honestly. Yeah, it’s a, it’s a tough question. It’s just been a really busy week, you know, and as you know, we just lost our family pet and I think just getting up and trying to get back into a normal routine.
I think that’s probably my biggest mom win this week, to be honest. I’m
[00:02:19] Stephanie: so sorry to hear about your dog. It’s heartbreaking.
[00:02:24] Tonya: Sorry, I wasn’t expecting that question. So I’m just like
[00:02:28] Stephanie: wins are happy things, but the fact that your back and your book is launching and, well, I guess when this comes out, it will already have launched, but it’s launching in a few days.
So I’m really excited. I think that’s a win too, is getting through all of it.
[00:02:43] Tonya: That’s that’s very true. And
[00:02:46] Stephanie: to give the audience a little bit of context, what is your family structure look like? How many kids you have ages and sort of, what are the roles you and your husband
[00:02:53] Tonya: play? Sure. Well, my husband and I are married 20 years this year, so he works out of the house.
I obviously worked from home and then we have a 23 year old son and. Uh, I have to think of their ages, cause they’re just having birthdays coming up. So 19 year old daughter, probably by the time this launches and then a 17 year old.
[00:03:14] Stephanie: Oh, wow. So three CA you’re you’re in the, like almost something other side I’m in the, like the beginning stages, you are like almost an empty-nester sort of
[00:03:24] Tonya: sad.
You know, I realized like right now the teenage years are so hard. Well, all the years are pretty hard, but. They’re like little humans now they’re people. So just being able to spend time with them cause I’m like, wow, I really there’s so such cool individuals. It’s so fun to just hang out with them and not have to parent so hard, even though there’s still that parenting.
So it’s kind of a hard balance, but it’s just amazing. The changes. Once they turn 18, it’s almost like a flip switches. It’s really interesting. Wow. And did
[00:03:51] Stephanie: you work while they were growing? Or when did you start all of this stuff into slightly greener and into, I mean, your background’s in environmental toxins and all of this, but what was kind of your life pre I guess teenagers and then pre mom life.
[00:04:07] Tonya: Oh, wow. Okay. Well, I guess I didn’t start this until about, I guess officially 2008, but 2006 is when I really started. But up until then, I was an elementary education major in college. I stayed at home pretty much. And yeah, I guess if we’re spilling everything, I think if I get in college, I was told I probably couldn’t have kids.
It was a surprise.
[00:04:29] Stephanie: And why were you told you weren’t you couldn’t have kids?
[00:04:31] Tonya: Probably couldn’t. We didn’t know for sure. From my childhood cancer. I had childhood leukemia. So yeah, I guess I will put it out there that, so I graduated college nine months pregnant. So I stayed, I was lucky enough. I did work some jobs here and there, but for the most part, once I married my husband, I second marriage was put it all out there, but we’ve been married almost 20 years that I stayed home once, I guess.
And then I started having my daughters too. So I stayed home from that point on. I did always have something in the back, so I.
[00:05:03] Stephanie: Right. Or I guess in college you said that was your second or your first marriage. Okay. Okay. Got it. And how was that? I mean, like becoming a mom. While you’re doing all that kind of, what did your life look like in the beginning?
[00:05:19] Tonya: Well, that’s, yeah, it’s so different. It was hard. And especially, you know, graduating college, nine months pregnant being your senior year and your friends are all out having fun and I’m like, I’m a whale and it just, it was, it was a lot, so, yeah, I mean, at the same time, Again, I would, I came home from college after I graduated and all my friends would come over and see the baby and then they’d go out.
And so it was, it was definitely rough. And that was probably about a year, I would say about a year and a half, two years married there. Yeah. Then after that separated, I worked a little bit just jobs here and there working for my family and then met my husband not too long after.
[00:06:00] Stephanie: Okay. And then starting this company, obviously, then you had kids by then, what kind of inspired you to go down this route?
[00:06:08] Tonya: Well, it was a, I know it was 2006. It was when my son was in second grade and the teacher had called me in because they had seen some attention issues with him. And I was deaf. I was not surprised I seen them at home. It’s kinda like fidgety, just not paying attention super long. And I don’t know what exactly I was thinking, but I knew my, my past who was a childhood cancer survivor that I was always told, be careful what you eat.
So I asked for a little bit of time, because I didn’t know if I wanted to go ahead testing. I don’t know what in my head just said, just wait.
Exactly. Yeah. So I went home and I researched and back in 2006, it was hard to do online research, but I did a ton of hours of it read some books. And then the two things I took out first were artificial colors and sodium benzoate and just took those two simple things out of the diet. And then.
[00:06:59] Stephanie: And sorry for the, for the person who doesn’t, who might not exactly know what that is.
I mean, artificial colors is in a lot of things, but what is sodium benzoate and like, where do you find that in?
[00:07:09] Tonya: Oh, that’s a great question. Sodium benzoate is a preservative. So it’s found in a lot of like canned foods. Um, you’ll see it in some beverages, fruit drinks, so be on the lookout there. And then especially when they’re in a combination of the artificial colors and the sodium benzoate that can actually cause attention and behavior and.
All sorts of issues and kids who don’t even have ADHD.
[00:07:28] Stephanie: Wow. And were you eating pretty clean beforehand because of your, you know, cancer in the past? Or like, did you want to raise your kids to be that way or did things just kind of shift once you started to focus in on his attention issues?
[00:07:42] Tonya: I’d say it’s a combination.
I’ve always been pretty careful, but of course. The occasional junk food in our house, but this just changed everything. So just by removing those two ingredients, I went back to the school a few weeks later and they said, oh, we don’t need to test them now.
[00:07:57] Stephanie: Wow. So it was like immediate. It was pretty quick.
What is it about those two things? I guess causes that. And I’m just curious, like, I, I know there’s all these like lists of things to avoid and you can’t avoid everything. So I’m curious why those two and how did they like contribute
[00:08:13] Tonya: to that? I’m not exactly sure how they work in the body necessarily to do that, but it’s interesting because the European union actually puts warning labels on their foods and beverages with artificial colors.
Wow does that. This is known to cause hyperactivity in children. I don’t know exactly the mechanism, but it does. It’s got a strong correlation, a strong link. So just by doing that, and then I started doing more research cause I’m like, holy cow. And I always say, we did not care him. Like still has symptoms, but we, we lessened the symptoms enough that he was able to pay attention longer in school and they didn’t want to test him anymore.
But then I realized doing more research. That is what we put on our bodies. That’s what we put on our bodies. Even the things like. Things that we just smell that you wouldn’t necessarily think we get toxins that way, but that is another route of toxin exposure is through smell and ingesting so many different.
[00:09:04] Stephanie: Wow. So in 2006, you started on this journey where like, how were you working at the time or was this like, I think I’m just going to start a business. I’m going to start doing research. And now teaching this, like, how did that transformation go? And you were a mom with three kids and at the time your kids were pretty young stuff.
[00:09:23] Tonya: Yeah, I’d say eight, four and two probably at this point.
[00:09:26] Stephanie: Yeah. So how are you managing
[00:09:27] Tonya: all that? I don’t know if I managed super well, but I like, luckily I’m a night owl, so I would stay up later at night and get things done, but out of frustration, because I thought I was buying safer products most of the time.
And when my son was a baby and I mean, I was what, 22 or 23. I didn’t know. What’s biased. So I buy things formulated for a baby thinking they were safer. But when I started doing all this research, I’m like, wow, they’re not really any safer. If they’re formulated for a baby, they can slap the word natural on a product.
So as I was doing a lot more of this research, When he was in second grade, I told my husband, I’m like, I, you know, wasted money on these products that I went out to buy that I thought were safer, but they aren’t. And I’m like, it’s frustrating. And how are parents supposed to know what to buy? So I opened an online store at that point and I found out I love to research because I’m like, how do I get a business license?
How do I get a wholesale license? And so I started vetting all these products really carefully. And if I liked them and tried them, I’d bring them in and sell them on. So then I was like a safe spot for parents to come and get products that they knew truly were safer rather than like what I went through with, oh my gosh.
Hidden toxins on labels, miss clever deceptive marketing, that type of thing. Oh,
[00:10:41] Stephanie: so you started off by building an e-commerce company
and no idea on how to do it. None. Did that go? Like what happened with it?
[00:10:53] Tonya: It went really well. I think I probably could have done a little bit more with it knowing, well, definitely knowing what I know now, but I mean, for me just starting out, I did pretty well, but I almost did so well. I had so many parents contact.
Me asking me all these questions. And I’m like, I knew the answer to a lot of them, and I knew how some of these things work just through my research, but I realized I wanted to do it on a more official, I guess, basis. And I wanted to really understand how these chemicals can work in the body. So I went back to school and got my master’s degree in holistic nutrition, and I think I shut the business down.
Three years later, just because school, family and the
[00:11:28] Stephanie: store. And I was going to ask, like, when you started the store, like how did you get that out there? How did you start to market it? How did you get?
[00:11:36] Tonya: Oh yeah. Well, I had a blog, so I would walk quite a bit back then. I knew a little bit more because now things are changing so much.
I need to get back into search engine optimization, but I was pretty decent at it. And back then, I don’t think things were as packed online as they are now. So I think I was a little bit easier to find.
[00:11:53] Stephanie: I love that you say you decided to close it. Cause it was just kind of too much. I think a lot of moms also, like we do a lot of things and we’re unwilling to like let go of stuff.
Cause it’s like, I worked so hard to build that. And then now what, how was that like process in your head or. Just to like, let go of that. And then what made you feel comfortable to move on to the next thing and where you contributing, you know, financially to the family, like, there’s all these other questions that people have that are like, well, I have this business, but I can’t stop because I’m contributing financially to the family or was it kind of just more of a passion side
[00:12:28] Tonya: project?
The point it was a passion side project and I was able to contribute, but at the same time I saw a bigger picture. So. I don’t know why, but I always told my husband, I’m like, I see it as being on a bigger scale. Like I want to create a movement because I feel like I started out so strong with getting rid of toxins and driving my family crazy and driving myself crazy.
So I’m like, there’s a better way because what I did was I tossed everything, you know, that I’m like, oh my God, no, I replaced it. How do I it’s so expensive replace. It can be there’s tricks now so that it doesn’t have to be as expensive as. So I didn’t want that to be that way for other people. So I wanted to kind of introduce what I had learned with my family.
And then again, what I would tweak later on with clients, but realizing my why. So that’s the first thing I do when I work with clients. Or even though this book to like, start with your why, because first of all, when you’re on this non-toxic journey, it can get a little frustrating, especially if your family’s not a hundred percent on board, but if you can start there, like say you have a certain health concern or you have a health issue.
Start with just those ingredients. So for me, I’m like, instead of avoiding everything, why don’t I just start with food since I know that that has a big impact really fast, I memorized just a couple ingredients instead of having to go to the store and memorizing a hundred ingredients. So I call those your deal-breakers.
[00:13:49] Stephanie: What are some of those ingredients besides, I guess your artificial coloring and your sodium? Are there any other ones that we should maybe pay attention to?
[00:13:57] Tonya: Yeah. I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners. Like the aspartame monosodium, glutamate, I think is another one. Oh, I’m
[00:14:04] Stephanie: allergic to MSG. I can tell when it’s in something.
Yeah, but it’s in so many things. I get this weird, funny thing. My friends call like kimchi arms, because it’s like, when there’s so much MSG, usually in like pickled things. And every time I used to eat it, my arms would like spasm. I wouldn’t get like these, like my arms would like shoot out, like, cause it would just feel funny and I would like have to shake them out.
And so I, yeah, it’s weird. I don’t get like a rash, but I get weird spasms from MSG anyway. So I know it can’t be good for you if it’s during
[00:14:36] Tonya: that. I think that it works on the brain in a couple of different ways, but another thing it does is it shuts off the hormone leptin, which tells you you’re full. So I mean, if you’ve ever sat there and ate a bag of chips, like I’m sure we all have.
And they’re like, oh my God, where’d that bag of chips fell. It could be because it shut off our hormone that told us we’re full. So that’s another thing it does. I think that’s definitely another one. And I don’t remember exactly what I was talking about. My
[00:15:03] Stephanie: a couple of ingredients. So we have artificial coloring, the sodium, the MSG, the artificial sweeteners, any of them.
[00:15:11] Tonya: Oh, gosh, I’m trying to think of my top 10 lists because I think carrageenan, carrageenan, I don’t know how to say that. Carrageenan is another one. That’s an emulsifier used in foods. It comes from a seaweed, but they have found that it causes inflammation in the GI tract. So that’s another one. Yeah.
[00:15:27] Stephanie: Have you seen changes in your other kids too, by going this more detoxing?
[00:15:33] Tonya: Oh, that’s an interesting question. And the thing is, is this is what’s so interesting is I really think that toxins are the missing piece of the puzzle. And anytime we have something, you know, we make full seeing a doctor doing all that stuff. But at the same time, I would say my youngest daughter has learning discipline.
So they don’t necessarily help in that department. They can, because actually kids with learning disabilities have usually a toxic overload, which you’re not going to see like a quick turnaround on that. And then my oldest daughter, I don’t, we really don’t have any health concerns with her. So it’s hard to tell if she’s having, but what’s important to me is what are we preventing down the road, right.
Kids, especially are so susceptible to these toxins and the health effects more so than adults because their detoxification pathways, they’re not as developed. And usually they’re more closely tied to their environment because they lick their toys. They look their hands they’re on the floor, you know, they have thinner skin, so they’re, they just have more susceptibility to these toxins.
So I feel like with so many, not being so many toxins, not being tested and then the kids have more years of life ahead of them. And we don’t know how these taxes work synergistically because most of the time we get multiple exposures per day. So when a company says, oh, there’s only a little bit, and it’s under the recommended amount or allowable amount, but usually you’re getting two to three or four exposures of that same thing through different products all day long.
[00:16:56] Stephanie: Right. Just like I was going to say the recent scare. I’m actually one of the people who use Neutrogena and the whole sunscreen thing that just came out. I’m like, oh my goodness. Like, what am I doing? Cause I use like, think babies think baby. And I use like things sport and all of that. But then I also, I, I like to double layer.
So I do like the lotion and the spray, but I was spraying them with apparently toxic chemicals. So stop doing that recently. And I looked at your sunscreen. And I’m like, I don’t even know how to find
[00:17:25] Tonya: sunscreen. So at work. Oh yeah. And this I’m glad you brought that up too, because my, my number one, guilt, my number one rule, and I know mom guilt because we’ve all done it like buy stuff.
And they were like, oh my God. Oh, we do the best with what we know how to do. So, you know, and you’re, you’re double layering. You thought you were doing. So, you know, it’s like that you find these things out and now you just know I’m not going to use the Neutrogena. So yeah, that’s one of the things too about this mothering thing too, is like all this stuff that we realize we put on our kids when they were little or now or anything.
[00:18:00] Stephanie: I’m overwhelmed. I think by thinking of everything, like of looking at all the stuff and being like, is this toxic? Is this not like, oh no. Like now with my baby, they love, she loved like those happy baby pouches. I’m like, am I giving her whatever that is, that they came out with the baby food? Like, am I like giving her toxic metals or whatnot?
And it’s just all of these things. So like, Say we’re like, okay, we’re just starting out now besides food. What are kind of the other tips that you can give to like eliminate right now so that we don’t do what you did in purge? Every single thing in our house, think the whole world is trying to kill us.
What are some like, okay, tomorrow I’m going to work on like household cleaners or something, you know, what, what would you say are the top three things we should do if we haven’t done any of this?
[00:18:48] Tonya: I love that because this is exactly what I did. This book too, is the slightly, I call it the slightly greener method, because I really feel like if you concentrate on foods and beverages, cleaning products, and then personal care and beauty products, just to start, those are three simple areas where we can make a huge improvement on our family self.
And then if you follow these three rules, so I mentioned my deal. Finding those ingredients that have to do with a health concern that you’re concerned with or health issue maybe you have, or someone in your family has. The other thing is, and I’ll get to that in the first one. I’m going to mention, but choose your top one or two items.
That’s the second thing. And the third thing is I think most important is the 80 20 rule because it goes as well as so many different things, but if you can buy safer products or do the healthier thing, 80% of the time, You don’t have to worry so much about that 20% of the time where you don’t have control or where you just, or if you want to have the occasional treat or you’re traveling.
So basically I created something called I called this, the read method is not the necessarily the same thing, but it helps me remember. So I was hoping it helps other people remember, but it’s R E a D and the first one is to replace plastics in the kitchen. And I, this one’s very important to me because I tossed all my plastics in the kitchen and I was like, oh shoot.
[00:20:02] Stephanie: saying like Tupperware, Ziplocs, all those. What about those? What about those plastic reusable bags? Or I guess they might be BPA free, but like, I have like, not Ziplocs, but you know, the like plastic reusable
[00:20:15] Tonya: and I, from an environmental perspective, don’t like them, but from, I did not, those were not one of the things I tossed.
Actually, if you put like trail mix or pretzels or any type of dry food in there, There’s no leaching, but the most important thing is the plastic reusable food storage, like the Tupperware type things, although they have better options out too. So looking for glass or stainless steel options, and that’s because those plastic containers can contain things like Falaise and BPA, and they can leach into the food or beverage, especially if that plastic is heated and lights and BPA, they can act as hormone disruptors.
Which means they can come in and get in the way of your hormones doing their job so they can over or under produced hormones or black or mimic them, which can cause just about any health problem that you can think of. And dailies are linked to lower IQ in children and BPA is linked to behavior issues.
Wow. So those are two things. So this is where the choose your top one or two comes into a fast is don’t look at everything and be like, oh, I got to toss all this stuff. Choose your top one or two most use and just replace those first. So. When it comes to your food storage containers or your plastic utensils that you’re cooking with.
That’s what I recommend replacing. And I’m glad you mentioned the BPA free because BPA free is not necessarily any safer if it’s still plastic, but says BPA free BPA is bisphenol a and what they do is typically they use substitute it for bisphenol S or bisphenol F, which is gonna to be like
[00:21:39] Stephanie: BP
[00:21:42] Tonya: glass or stainless steel are really good options.
But yeah, so they found to have similar health effects, if not a little bit stronger. Oh, wow. Yeah.
[00:21:52] Stephanie: So that’s, that’s your R and now we have EAD
[00:21:57] Tonya: ease, eat organic as often as possible. And I know that that’s a tougher one, but a lot of times, especially when it comes to kids, some of those pesticides can act as they can be toxic to the brain and nervous system.
Somewhere like to ADHD also. So to protect there, I think it was, um, a doctor found that 16.9 that think it was billion. IQ points have been lost due to organophosphate pesticide exposure in kids.
[00:22:23] Stephanie: Wow. I mean, it also helps with like moms, for example, I’ve seen it linked to fertility issues to all sorts of different things.
You don’t realize that these hormone disruptors or. Just the chemicals are doing things to us internally, especially as women.
[00:22:39] Tonya: Exactly. And the good news is that they, they found that eating organic for just as little as a few days can actually really drastically reduce levels in your body. But eating organic can be a little expensive and sometimes some of it’s hard to find.
So that’s when the environmental working group’s dirty dozen and clean 15 lists come in. If you’re familiar, the dirty dozen list is the pesticides that they found have the most pesticide exposure or the produce that has the most pesticide exposure. And the clean 15 lists are the, is the produce that has the least amount.
So the ones on the clean 15 list are okay. If you buy conventionally grown and not necessarily organic, but the ones on the dirty dozen list you should, if you can buy organic as often as possible.
[00:23:22] Stephanie: Phase, avoid artificial fragrance candles. You’re talking
[00:23:26] Tonya: about. I was so, yeah, I love my candles, but the word fragrance could actually, that one term can be made up of dozens of different chemicals because companies want to keep it a trade secret.
So they aren’t required to list all their chemicals out that make up. And some of them can be toxic to the brain and nervous systems. Some can be allergenic and cause respiratory problems and cancer causing. We just don’t know what they’re using necessarily,
[00:23:51] Stephanie: unless it’s, it’s almost like secondhand smoke.
The reason you’re not supposed to breathe it in is cause it’s bad for you. And like, we’re like, well, but the candles smell pretty.
[00:24:01] Tonya: We
[00:24:01] Stephanie: don’t know what we’re burning. It’s really like secondhand smoke, second hand smoke pills. So maybe your candles do also.
[00:24:09] Tonya: I know, and it’s so disappointing because so many of us love our candles, me included, but the good news is with a lot of these products that there are safer brands out there.
So if you do want to still use a candle, just buy a safer brand or save it for special occasions, because again, this lifestyle and detoxifying your home, doesn’t have to be about deprivation. So again,
[00:24:28] Stephanie: a diffuser with essential
[00:24:30] Tonya: essential oils. Yup. Yeah. Baking soda is great for freshening your home. I like to sprinkle it on my carpets and then vacuum it up.
Just a really thin layer or on your couch to if anything’s like scented. I put a video out not too long ago. Dog’s built an entire cup of coffee in my car, hot coffee, like, oh, was so, and we couldn’t clean it out right away. And we were on our way somewhere. And I was like, oh my God, it reeked so bad. I put baking soda in when we got home, this was like three hours later.
And there’s no.
[00:24:59] Stephanie: Wow
[00:25:04] Tonya: by dark seats, luckily, but it didn’t, it might’ve stayed inside. I don’t know, but it didn’t say, but it also doesn’t smell. I can not believe it. Got that smell out. So baking soda is like a lifesaver for smells because you really want to address. If you do have a sense, you do want to address it at the root rather than like lighting a candle, just kind of covering that sense.
[00:25:23] Stephanie: Okay. And then lastly, D
[00:25:25] Tonya: D is dust, which nobody likes to
[00:25:26] Stephanie: hear, but that’s my biggest Allergan. I like, I’m definitely allergic to dust bites.
[00:25:32] Tonya: Oh, I know me too. It’s one of mine too, but it’s also, I was surprised and I learned this that super long ago. That dust is actually one of the biggest exposures to toxins in your home.
So it’s not just the dust mites. Like I kind of thought, but George Washington university did a study and they found things like flame retardant chemicals, which can be strong endocrine disruptors, and do so many different things, linked to IQ and everything too. And fail aids again, like to lower IQ in children.
So that could be something that we’re bringing in, even on our shoes, even if we don’t have the houses that are, I think it’s the paint before 1978, this will have led in our Dustin or home. And there’s no safe level for that. So. Wow. I know. And so I don’t want to tell everybody clean your house all day long, but if you can concentrate on those areas where your family spends the most time or where your toddlers are playing the most, just do that as often as you can.
And then the rest of the house. Just do on your regular schedule. And the good thing is too, when you dust that, you know, often enough in those other areas, the house overall.
[00:26:35] Stephanie: Yeah. We started putting those like air purifiers and different rooms and stuff, especially the ones we’re in the most and where we sleep in.
We have to, I had to do that mainly because of my allergies are so bad, but also I hope it filters some of the. Who knows. Well, we’ll find out in a, in decades, I guess. So if you were to pick, like, what are some of your favorite brands that you shop for, like say household products, what are your favorite brands that are so that you don’t have to like DIY and make your own, or,
[00:27:07] Tonya: you know, Right.
Well, I, uh, for cleaning, I love Vermont soap. They have a liquid sunshine. That’s my very favorite, but I’m a little obsessed with this new product I’ve been using it for over a year. It’s electrolyzed water. And what it does is it’s a little countertop device and you pour, tap water into it. And then they have capsules of vinegar, salt, and water, and you pour it in and you plug the machine in and the electrical current creates a cleaner and a.
From water. Yeah, completely. Non-toxic like, I sliced my thumb with a mandolin slicer and I sprayed it on there. Like it’s good for, I don’t know if
[00:27:42] Stephanie: I’m supposed to, like, it’s like my big fat Greek wedding with the Windex Windex on everything. But wait, so you’re saying not just to clean, it helped with.
[00:27:53] Tonya: I don’t know if I’m right using it that way.
I think I saw somewhere you can, but I mean, it’s my Windex,
everything it’s rated on the EPA list end as things notify coronavirus. So, but it’s also cleaner. So when you’re disinfecting, you want to make sure you clean the area. Well, first because dirt and grime can actually lessen the effectiveness of disinfectants. So with this product, you can actually spray the surface.
Clean it, and then you can spray it again and leave it for 10 minutes and it’s disinfecting, but it’s rated for ICU’s daycare centers. It’s an amazing product.
[00:28:29] Stephanie: I’m going to have to get the link to where you can get that. That’s.
[00:28:32] Tonya: It is pretty cool. And it’s just like, there’s I have a handheld steamer and I didn’t realize this, but you can use it to clean your windows.
So now that’s chemical free. You can also use a 50, 50 blend of distilled water and white vinegar. It can be as simple as that, put it in a spray bottle spray, use it. I found this attachment to my handheld steamer and I can go out and I can clean windows in like such a short amount of time with absolutely nothing.
Wow. That’s how of decreases my stove, tops. I mean, there’s so many, I think cleaning is kind of fun now because you almost have to put no effort into it. Now with those three
[00:29:05] Stephanie: products that I was going to say, it’s like, you buy that initial thing, but then it’s pretty much. Cheaper almost.
[00:29:13] Tonya: Oh yeah. I don’t remember the last time I bought something to clean with.
I use it as my toilet bowl cleaner. I use it as I’ve gotten stains out of carpet. I mean, I have so many things out with it. I took a picture of before and after when I started using it and I’m like, I’m down to two cleaning products. I have dish soap and that. You have to make it two weeks, because then it kinda, it’s kinda like a pop where if you open it then the air, but it’s so cool because when you take it out of the machine, it’s got a very light bleachy scent and I’m, I don’t like bleach.
Like I don’t do well around it, but it’s really pleasant and it’s just completely non-toxic, but it will also disinfect. Wow.
[00:29:48] Stephanie: I’ll have to look into that. So now switching over, cut it to the motherhood side of things. So you started your business, you basically in 2006, when you went into this deep dive, you had like kids and everything, and now you’re like full-blown written a book and are doing all this.
How are you managing your kids at home? I know you’re homeschooling while working. Do you have any help? Are they self-sufficient like, how are you doing this
[00:30:13] Tonya: Oh gosh. Well, my, my older two are pretty much, you know, my son’s 23 and in college. So he’s gone a lot of the time. Unfortunately, I miss them, but then I have a 19 year old, she went to cosmetology school during high school.
She went in the afternoons. So she graduated high school, not fully licensed. She just took the boards and passed. So she’s pretty much on her own. She’s got her full-time job already. And then I have my 17 year old who I do homeschool, but she’s got, most of the courses are on. I pulled some curriculum cause I used to teach and I kind of designed some of that for her to supplement, but she’s pretty self-sufficient so we just have kind of a morning routine where I’ll work and she’ll do that.
And then we both, I think she’s kind of adopted my routine to where it’s kind of nights and weekends also.
[00:30:56] Stephanie: I was going to ask, do you have like a morning routine U2 or any sort of self care routines?
[00:31:01] Tonya: I think the biggest thing I do right now is probably a gratitude list. So I learned that yeah. From my mentor.
Chris Winfield and Jen got leaves doing that gratitude list every day. I think that helps because that really just sets my day up for what I’m grateful for. So when I’m super stressed and I think things aren’t going my way, I’m like, but wait, here’s things I’m grateful for. And I think more good happens when you look at the good that you have.
[00:31:25] Stephanie: And what time do you wake up in the.
[00:31:27] Tonya: Well, I’m an Idaho, so yeah, I’d say about nine. So I know that’s probably sleeping in for some people, but
[00:31:35] Stephanie: like past school starting and everything for me.
[00:31:40] Tonya: So the thing I do is I stay up late. So I, I am the total. So when I had kids in school, I was up at what 7, 7 30, but I also adjusted my schedule. I wasn’t going to bed so late, but now I feel like I do my best work at night because truly after like 10 30, nobody needs me. So I’ll work 10 30 to one or one 30.
[00:32:01] Stephanie: Do you have any nightly routines then before you go to bed to kind of unwind after working?
[00:32:06] Tonya: I wish I had a better one right now. I try to start my computer off about it. I know I should do it more, but again, like I said, I shifted my schedule though. So I am getting up a little later. I try to shut my computer off and I don’t look at my phone for the half hour.
I’ll read. I know I should do it a little bit longer, but then I have, I do magnesium. And just try to do all these things that every once in a while, I’ll take a medic melatonin and I do it. I don’t do it very often, but I just really try to do calming things. I’ll have a nighttime tea. I really like just to try to start settling down and I do that probably.
So it is a crazy schedule, but with my kids being the ages, they are, their schedules are a little bit later too. And so I feel like we also do some of our fun stuff at night. So I’ll just go to bed. I’ll just work a little bit later, but it’s hard to snag time with them too. So it’s another thing I’m trying to put in right now is trying to snag the time with them, where I can.
So my schedule is a little bit more sporadic, but I mean, it’s worked for us so far. Do you
[00:33:00] Stephanie: think you could have done this when they were younger?
[00:33:02] Tonya: Oh my gosh.
I would like to say, I think so, but I mean, I think as they’ve gotten older, I like to say too, it’s a whole new set of difficulty because they’re all driving, they’re all coming and going. Like I have to set up group texts, like nobody come home right now and, you know, and, and if they need me, I know they’re not going to need me too much longer.
So I want to drop everything and do what I can to help them because they don’t ask me for help for so long. So I I’d like to say. I hope I could
[00:33:34] Stephanie: answer any advice for the moms who are, who have teenagers or who are going to be empty nesters soon on how to really just enjoy the season of
[00:33:43] Tonya: motherhood. Oh gosh.
Well, I would say, I know the teenage years are so hard. I mean, it was difficult with all my kids and I’m still kind of in it with one of them, but I, I feel like, and I mentioned this before we were talking too. I feel like a flip, a switch flips at 18. It’s the strangest thing in our case anyway, but I would spend those teenage years realizing that they are trying to communicate with you.
In ways that you might not pick up on, because looking back at it,
[00:34:14] Stephanie: like, for example, kind of like what nuance about it. So that moms out there that who might have teenagers who are like, oh, this is what they do. And that’s what they’re saying. Do you have any like, tangible advice?
[00:34:26] Tonya: I do well, I know my daughter was trying to tell me something very important, one time in texts, but we always text funny things back and forth, and she had just texted something very funny, but then she texted me something a little serious and I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have.
And I missed that. So what I’ve realized is they’re going to communicate with us how they’re comfortable. So we have to be on the lookout for that, even if it’s not the way we would expect it. Also, I think some of the times they snap at us the most are the times they need us the most. So one of the things I’ve realized is sometimes I just have to put the parenting aside and.
Just be a person and listen to them as a person because my daughter went through something a while ago and we were in the car on the way home. She was crying and I was crying because I felt so bad and I didn’t know how to parent her. And this is probably terrible advice, but I finally was just like, you.
She was, she had almost sworn in front of me and I’m like, just say it and yell it. I don’t care. Like you won’t get in trouble. It’s going to make you feel better. Just do it. So sometimes I feel like we just have to put our parenting aside and just be that person. And once I started doing that too, I realized they did, they did start coming to me for a lot more.
But he thinks
[00:35:33] Stephanie: that’s actually good advice. I like that real, because this is like what parents go through. Like, you never know, there’s no right or wrong way to parent. Like I always say like, what works best, but that’s so helpful to hear because I’m pretty sure there are other people out there who they try and always have that parent like, oh, we should know everything, but you don’t need to.
[00:35:54] Tonya: Exactly. And sometimes they’re genuinely not in trouble, trouble, real trouble, but sometimes they just really need something and you have to put on like, oh, when I was your age type of thing and just realize it’s not, not parenting and it’s not being their friend, it’s just being there as a person. So it’s easier to do it as a person.
I think that as a friend, even because then you have a, still a clear boundary, but you’re letting them know they can come to you and you will have.
[00:36:18] Stephanie: Right. Well, to wrap things up, I wanted to ask my final question, which is what is your mom’s superpower that you gained once you became a mom that makes you better at either business or life?
[00:36:30] Tonya: Oh, wow. That’s a great, I would say probably sense of humor with my kids. That’s always just been my way to communicate with them. And I see it in them too, in certain situations where I kind of have that thing, like. Don’t laugh, we’ll cry type of thing. So, but also I think it helps bring the mood up with whatever we’re going through and I kind of see it with them too.
So I would almost say sense of humor and realizing, I don’t know, using, using that rather than thinking of the worst about a situation. Right.
[00:37:00] Stephanie: Well, where can we find you online?
[00:37:03] Tonya: What’s your I’m at slightly greener.com and on Instagram, my handle is slightly greater.
[00:37:08] Stephanie: And your book is out now, so, or yes, it’s out in August.
So I’m really excited to see it and congrats on everything.
[00:37:15] Tonya: Well, thank you that that’s the slightly greater. Yeah, the slightly greener method and it’s available anywhere. Books are sold.
[00:37:21] Stephanie: Thank you so much for joining today, Tanya. I appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of mommy’s on a call.
Your support means the absolute world. To me. You can find the show notes for this episode and others. Over at mommy’s on a call.com. And if you enjoyed this episode or have gotten value from the podcast, I would be so grateful if you could head on over to apple podcasts and leave a rating and review so that we can reach and empower more moms all over the world together.
Thank you so much again, mommy pod, and I will see you here next time.