Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage green!This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month we're writing about being green — both how green we were when we were young and how green our kids are today. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Hi there! I am currently drinking coffee out of a styrofoam cup.
Oy. This is a toughie. I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm not very good at being "green". I do try to be aware, it's just not second-nature to me the way it is to many kids who are growing up today. My childhood was in the Midwest during the 80's, when being environmentally friendly mostly meant turning the faucet off when you brush your teeth. In fact I remember a huge push being made about that on the news at the time, like that would save the world. And don't get me wrong, those little steps do add up to big change, but that was so typical of the attitude about the environment at the time- it was more of a novelty than an actual way of living.
That's where Jude comes in. I can admit that being environmentally friendly is sometimes a struggle for me but I can also take the steps to combat that and work to correct it in the next generation. The whole point of this parenting thing is to make the next generation better than us, right?
(Also, cuddling. That might also be the point.)
So, here's my beginner's draft of goals- things I'd like to share with the Jude. Scarily enough, many of these things may require me to change my own behavior because kids learn best by example:
We recycle, and actually we recycle quite a bit. What I'm not good at is knowing what exactly is recyclable and when and how and what and where. Recycling is more effective when you're doing it correctly, which sometimes means separating out by the right levels of plastic, glass, paper, etc. And to make it even more complicated, this also varies by your location and the recycling center that you use.
We're learning more and more about how plastics can sometimes be dangerous and contain harmful chemicals. I want to be more aware about what the levels of plastics mean (here's an excellent article listing all the plastic ratings on Babble). I also want to reduce our dependency on plastics, though obviously that's incredibly challenging because of the amount it is used in toys and packaging. But these are, you know, goals and hopeful aspirations. I'm a big fan of wooden and handmade toys.
I grew up hearing about this but not taking it very seriously. In fact until we moved to an old house where the pipes back up quickly I wasn't even very good at turning off the water when I brushed my teeth (Thanks Indianapolis news! You fail.) Thankfully now that bad habit has been totally quashed. But, taking shorter showers, using a rain barrel, and just being aware that water is precious on our planet are all things that I hope Jude can know as common sense information. I want him to catch me in a few years and get all up in my business, "MOM, geez, turn the faucet off, don't you know anything?!"
As much as I would like to, it's unrealistic for my family to consume a 100% organic diet. We just don't have the budget for it. But the first step in the right direction is memorizing the list of foods you should always buy organic. Milk is not a problem around here because I am already totally obsessed with drinking organic milk. Mmmmmm, delicious organic milk. I should also maybe not eat a baloney sandwich every day. But as far as I'm concerned I'm allowed a few vices which may or may not include disgusting tasty processed meats.
There is a weird problem I have with turning out the lights when I leave a room. And Mythbusters has proven that it actually really saves energy, but it's also a really annoying habit for me to break. I'm bad about turning off the lights in major rooms or areas I walk though on a regular basis, thanks in part to the fact that I am still mostly scared of the dark. So MAN UP, lady, and turn off the damned lights already.
Waste and "Things"
Our culture is so in to owning "things" and having more "things" and accumulating these "things" and then... letting them sit around and fill up space. I'm hoping (and this is a lofty goal) to at least give Jude some perspective on owning all this wasteful stuff and using our resources judiciously and with discretion. This is a hard one for little kids to get but I think more important in the long run. In fact I'm not even sure how to do that. I guess just model this in my own choices, for now.
I feel like I could probably go on and on about more things I'd like to do, but in order for this to be successful it's more realistic for me to start out small. Let's be honest, changing old habits is a bear. But it's also important, especially since this is an area I'll probably have to work extra hard in to compensate for my greenery failure.
So first, I'm going to go turn out the light in the basement and then run up the stairs as fast as I can without biting it. Damned creepy old basement.
Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Enjoy the submissions by this month's other carnival participants:
- My Momma Was a Hippie — Jessica at This is Worthwhile is continuing her Earth Momma mother's way of honoring nature by taking her child outside every day. (@tisworthwhile)
- Mom Did Know Best, About Diapers at Least — Guavalicious at They Are So Cute When They Are Sleeping has a dirty secret about cloth diapers: They're easy. (@guavalicious)
- The Force that Drives the Water Through the Rocks — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest remembers her first spiritual connection with nature, granted to her through her father's care for the spirits of the earth.
- Confessions of a Cabbage Patch Kid — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma learned about landfills and recycling through gardening. (@kitchenwitch)
- Seeing My Grandmother Through Green Colored Lenses — Michelle at Seeking Mother was raised by a grandmother who wouldn't let anyone throw out used clothing — ever — and who believed baths were water enough for two or more people at least. (@seekingmother)
- Through Green Tinted Glasses — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis realized her family didn't so much choose green as it chose them, since not being green would have cost a lot more.
- Green or Die! — NavelgazingBajan at Navelgazing remembers berating her family for not turning off the faucets — and notes that her efforts to save the planet for another 20 years must have worked.
- Natural Parenting Carnival: Green Living — Sarah at Natural Parenting is doing more to make her children's generation green than what she had as a child.
- Natural Parenting Carnival: Vintage Green — pchanner at A Mom's Fresh Start used to fill her own water bottles from a spring — before doing so was cool. (@pchanner)
- Getting Dirty — Molly at Molly's Place is inspired by her mother's camaraderie with nature. She's going to get back in touch with the real food cycle, as opposed to the "shrink-wrapped nutrition" you can buy. (@KPMolly)
- My Vintage Green Raincoat — Mama at Maman A Droit is wearing her brother's bright green raincoat — 16 years later! (@MamanADroit)
- Vintage Green — Darcel at Mahogany Way hasn't realized it yet, but she is slowly turning into her parents. ;) (@MahoganyWayMama)
- Vintage Green — mrs green at littlegreenblog reminds us that children can be green simply by being kids. (@myzerowaste)
- March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage Green — Lauren at Hobo Mama was eco-chic before it was en vogue. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Growing Up Green — Chrystal at Happy Mothering honed her green instinct from an early age. (@HappyMothering)
- greener pastures — The Grumbles at Grumbles and Grunts has a list of ways she's transitioning from green living as a novelty to green living as a lifestyle. (@thegrumbles) <-- THAT'S ME!
- Vintage Green: The Hot Water Tank Is Not Sexy — Zoey at Good Goog had to go green when moss started growing around her feet. (@zoeyspeak)
- We Walked Softly — Starr at Earth Mama wrote a beautiful post about how her parents instilled a love of and respect for Earth and nature in her, and how she is passing that gift on to her own children.
- Save the Mermaids! — CurlyMonkey is learning from her daughter how to keep the mermaids happy. (@curlymonkey_)
- March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage Green — Dionna at Code Name: Mama sees glimpses of her mother's greenness frugality in her own life — but she draws the line at pantyhose soap. (@CodeNameMama)
- I Thought I Made Them Green, But Really They Made Me — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! thought she made her parents green — until she took a closer look. (@bfmom)
- A Culture of Less — Alison at BluebirdMama explained why homebirth is the green childbirth choice. I love this thought! (@childbearing)
- 5 Ways to Embarrass Your Children While Going Green — Acacia at Be Present Mama shares some of the embarrassing things her parents did to her in the name of being eco-conscious.
- Ending Is Better than Mending? — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries is teaching us how to darn socks armed only with a light bulb. (@babydust)
- There and Back Again: A Green Girl's Tale — Lactating Girl offers a gentle reminder that certain eco-conscious practices shouldn't be "ideals," but realities. (@LactatingGirl)