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What I've Lost & Gained Trying to be an Eco Mama

Having a child changes everything, this I was told before Juliette's arrival September 1, 2009. Boy is it true. 10 pm seems like a perfectly amazing time to lay my head on the pillow whereas 10 was a time I'd be applying mascara to pop out for the night only a few years ago. I've learned to eat with 1 hand only, quickly might I add so I can make sure Juliette is fed and not flinging bowls and plates across the room. Yes everything changes. I've tried to incorporate my eco habits into every aspect of parenting but as anyone with kids knows (or no kids actually) it is hard sometimes. REALLY hard sometimes. Especially when your baby girl is covered in sticky blueberry jam and all you can reach is a few paper towels not the reusable napkins a few rooms away.

When Juliette was born we decided for for financial reasons do use disposable diapers. I would have loved to have use a diaper service and all reusable-cloth diapers. But when we figured out the financials we realized we could not afford to live in Brooklyn, raise a baby, eat and have cloth diapers. Oh ya and we have no washer dryer in our apartment (or building for that matter). So right off the bat we were conceeding our beliefs and it was tough to swallow. I balanced out the diaper decision by buying Seventh Generation wipes in bulk (and have used them ever since), lots (and LOTS) of organic cotton onsies (that I stored for future use too instead of chucking when done).  But I still feel guilty about a choice at least once a day. Here are some things I do and don't do. What do you try and do? How do you make it work and make it eco?

Eco Mama Choices:
*Seventh Generation Baby Wipes
*Many eco brand choices for baby shampoo, lotion, diaper cream, sunscreen etc.
*Lots of mini tupperwares and to go snack containers (instead of baggies)
(I breastfed for 22 months (never buying formula, no container waste etc.) *this was a choice not made for eco reasons, but the eco benefits are always welcome)
*Organic stain remover (use a LOT)
*Natural home cleaners (counter spray, floor cleaner, dish soap etc.)
*Juliette wears hand me downs and we hand down many items to friends (NO clothes have EVER been thrown away, they are saved, sold, given away or donated)
*Mostly organic produce
*I made Juliette's baby food for months and months when she first started solids
*We are a big leftover family, Juliette loves them!
*Try to buy in bulk to cut down on packaging
*Still toting reusable bags with me for errands, a few tucked into my diaper bag even.

My Not so Eco Choices
*Often picking up smoothies in disposable cups/straws instead of remembering to bring my cup
*Sometimes getting a small cup/straw from coffee shops to entice Juliette to drink milk (whatever works!)
*Recently switched to cheaper wipes for quick on the go clean ups (I can't seem to find the eco brands in my local drug stores in the small size)
*We have a bunch of plastic toys, we also have lots of wooden, hand knit and small batch produced toys too, but it's a mixed bag.
*Juliette recently started loving the pouch baby food packets, not eco friendly. Organic ingredients yes, but disposable packaging. Hmmm what to do about this one? I am happy she's eating something on the go but how do I go about recreating these containers myself?
*I don't always find the organic produce I am looking for for Juliette so I sometimes give in and get what is available. This one I know I need to try to stop. For the planet but mainly for Juliette.

It is important that I am aware of these things and that I am trying to make an effort to change them. I want Juliette to grow up learning to recycle, remake and enjoy keeping our planet beautiful. Sometimes parenting is overwhelming and if a plastic cup from the cafe down the street perks Juliette up and convinces her to drink some milk so be it. But I'll make sure I recycle the cup of course.


stephanie said...

Everything EVERYTHING about raising a child is a challenge. The simple choice? Convenience. It amazes me that during survival mode (you mentioned blueberry jam) you're still concerned about being green. Props to you for giving tips...

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Pooja said...

For the pouch baby food packets, you should check to see if you can recycle them with TerraCycle. Pretty soon, eco-mamas should be able to choose to use disposable diapers and not feel guilty by being able to recycle dirty diapers too! Read more:

Lesley said...

I see you and you are an amazing mother, I watch you with such pride as you pass love and care to precious Juliette

Unknown said...

you go mama!! doing great, leave that guilt behind and continue to make rocking good choices. It's all ok and your health and sanity and love, LOVE, are the most important :)