GREEN M0M, This one is for Mom to read-

My recent first attempts at living sustainably resulted in guilt. I was slowly making changes, but I was also becoming aware of my unsustainable habits. I felt so guilty about waste, excess, packaged foods, years of not recycling, using the wrong cleaners. Even after I became aware, I inadvertently bought greenwashed products or forgot and bought my old familiar brand instead of buying something that is more eco-friendly. And I felt guilty about the things that I wouldn’t give up: my Roomba, pre-packaged and overprocessed foods that my feeding-challenged toddler might eat, something to tame my crazy hair.

As for the things I was willing to change, I was overwhelmed and frustrated by the research and the options. The shampoos, the laundry detergent, the insect repellent. And I was frustrated by the products that didn’t work: the deodorant and the shaving cream. My toddler didn’t like the new toothpaste. My husband didn’t like change, period.

And I didn’t know what living sustainably meant. Was it buying certain personal care products and eliminating the hazardous cleaning products? Was it composting and using deodorant that doesn’t stand up to the summer heat in the South? Was it making my own clothes and living without a car? Was it growing my own food? Using cloth instead of toilet paper? How much did I have to change to make a difference?

Well, let me ask you: what does it meant to be a mom? Does it mean breastfeeding, staying at home, co-sleeping? Sometimes, yes. Does it mean bottle-feeding, daycare, and baby monitors? Sometimes, yes.

For the record, I’ve tried it all as a mom. I couldn’t breastfeed so I was grateful for bottles and formula. I work part-time from home and wonder if my son would be better off if I quit or put him in a nursery program. I co-sleep when that is easier but my son has his own room with a toddler bed and monitor. There is no judgment here.

And that’s what I’m learning about sustainable living. It isn’t about reaching some prescribed level of crunchiness. It isn’t about reducing your carbon footprint to a certain number. It is about changing something. Being aware. Making an attempt.

Being a mom means learning what works for you and your child. Time out or spanking? Rocking or lullaby? Kissing a boo-boo or Snoopy band-aids? Blanket or stuffed animal? Cutting tags out of shirts? Shoes on the wrong feet? Green spoon with purple plate and the fish cup, but don’t let the crackers touch the cheese!

Living sustainably works the same way. What makes sense for you and your family? Trying to run all of your errands one day to cut down on drive time? Carpooling? Bicycling? Recyclable plastic or eliminating plastic? Gardening or supporting local farmers? Rain barrels or installing greywater system?

And I’ve learned there is no judgment in the APLS community. You blog about switching to recycled paper towels? Someone that uses cloth wipes instead of toilet paper is likely to leave a comment cheering you on. APLS recognize that living sustainably is a process. As people become aware, they are compelled to make changes.

And there is so much optimism from embracing the process of living sustainably. Optimism from learning. From connecting with other APLS and realizing that as a group, we are making a difference. From learning what you truly enjoy about your sustainable changes: new foods from the CSA, homegrown tomatoes, the fresh smell of line-dried sheets, the compliments you get on the unique gifts you buy from the local soapmaker.

Where are you in the process of living sustainably? Let go of the guilt and celebrate the changes.

 

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Helpful green building links Green Mom?
Is Building Green Expensive? Why build Green?
Building Green is a MUST Living Green
Wikipedia- What's Green? Step by step Building Green
Green Design Concepts video             Global Warming

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Building Green PRINCIPLES

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