I gave birth to Joshua on March 12, 2010. I knew that my life would change forever when I became a mother, and one of the areas where I struggle the most is keeping up with my sustainability goals. With a baby in my arms, I’ve found I don’t have enough hands to do everything that I used to, and I’m backsliding. I’m still doing my best to live in an eco-friendly way, but “best” has been temporarily redefined.
Cooking from scratch has been difficult, since I don’t have the time or energy to do things like knead bread, make homemade ricotta, or make my own pasta. I’ve decided that using my bread machine or buying bread, cheese, and pasta are okay for now. I also haven’t had time to can, but I’m really hoping to find time to can tomato sauce later this summer. I still try to support local agriculture and cook with sustainable, local, humanely raised foods, but some nights are just take-out nights.
Our garden has also suffered from my newfound lack of time: filling up with weeds, getting pretty thirsty, going to seed. I’ve decided I’ll consider whatever we pick from our garden this year to be a success, and so far we’ve had lettuce, peppers, peas, and a handful of raspberries. The potatoes, carrots and tomatoes are still looking pretty good, too, despite being neglected.
I’m embarrassed to admit that while I bought a retractable clothesline with the best intentions, we haven’t yet put it up. Our laundry has increased quite a bit and it all goes in the dryer. I can’t wait to see the beauty of sheets hanging out on the line, drying in the hot sun and blowing in the soft breeze. But that might not happen until next spring.
The good news is that it’s not all on hold. Even with my new busy life as a mom, I have been able to adopt new sustainable practices. I’m exclusively breastfeeding Joshua, which is not only good for both of us, it’s good for the planet since there’s no need to produce, package or ship formula, wash bottles (at least until I go back to work), or give money to corporations that don’t share my environmental values. We’ve also found that gDiapers work well for us, since their hybrid system allows us to use cloth liners or biodegradable, flushable disposable liners (gDiapers has not compensated me in any way for writing this.) Knowing that his diapers won’t still be in a landfill 1000 years from now gives me peace of mind.
These successes give me hope that as Joshua grows we’ll be able to regain the sustainable practices we once considered to be normal parts of our lifestyle. After all, I care about preserving the planet so my son can live a long, healthy, happy life. I want to share my love for the environment with him and teach him how to live sustainably. I still have my from-scratch skills, and I hope to use them again someday!
How has having children impacted your sustainable goals?