In brief moments of solitude, I find myself daydreaming of the following scene:
My well-behaved children are playing quietly with their hand-made ethically-sourced toys as essential oils waft through our spotless home. I hum cheerfully in the kitchen making a seasonal stew of locally-grown vegetables as the washer dings alerting us that the cloth diapers are ready to hang from the line.
But, if I’ve learned anything on this adventure of motherhood, it’s that real life doesn’t come together quite so perfectly. So maybe my fantasy is a little far-fetched for a lot of us and if you’re like me you probably love the idea of a “green” lifestyle, but in your busy life have a difficult time sticking with it, especially when the less “green” options seem so much more convenient and cost-effective. Heck, I’m lucky if I get to wash my hair more than twice a week at this point (pass the dry shampoo, please!). So, I’ve compiled a list of doable tips that help me stay on track that I hope you can put to use, too.
Try to “suck less.”
I know, I know, probably not the most eloquent advice you’ve ever received, but if we’re going to do this let’s adjust our thinking first. I’ve talked to a lot of parents who have given up on the idea of green living because it seems so daunting and unreachable. If we adjust our goals to be more realistic and forgiving of ourselves, I think you’ll find you can actually make some small changes, and even the smallest effort DOES matter. Take what works for you and your family and leave the rest. Essential oils make you gag? That’s fine! You forgot your reusable grocery bags in the car AGAIN? That’s cool, too. We’ll try again next time.
I knew that would get your attention, but the keyword here is: Secondhand. Sure, we could walk around Target to scope out the latest goods, but where’s the sport in that? I’ve found like-new shoes for my kids and other name brand items at crazy-low prices through yard sale hunting. Since kids grow so fast, many of the items for younger children are in great shape! If garage sales aren’t your thing, there are a ton of items regularly listed on Craigslist, the local Facebook rummage site, and you could even check out local secondhand stores that specialize in children’s clothing.
Looking for an excuse to drink wine with your girlfriends? Consider hosting a kids (or adults!) clothing swap in the comfort of your own home. Not only are these shopping tips great money saving habits but they’re great for our planet, too.
But, If I’ve learned anything on this adventure of motherhood, it’s that real life doesn’t come together quite so perfectly.
Are you still with me? Don’t leave! Hear me out; I realize that this tip challenges a lot of ideas and preferences we have about food, but there’s no denying that factory farming is messing with our planet and our health. I’m not suggesting you head to the kitchen immediately and fry up some organic tofu steaks, but I do want to challenge you to up your veggies and vary your protein. Whether you go vegan tomorrow or compromise to swap your Sunday bacon for pancakes instead, there is some take-away in this for everyone. For some humor and a taste of what a meatless meal could look like, take a peek at my all-time favorite cookbook (and I have a lot!): Thug Kitchen.
Still doesn’t sound right for you? Another planet-friendly alternative is to get your meat, dairy, and eggs locally at one of your local co-op grocery stores or even straight from a local farm. This is a great opportunity to show the kids where our food comes from as well as support area farmers and the local economy. Check out Eat Wild for a whole list of local farms to browse through.
Check the Ingredients.
From makeup to toilet bowl cleaners, there are a ton of chemicals that we come into contact with on a daily basis. Did you know that the US hasn’t passed any regulations on beauty products since 1938 and that we have some of the loosest regulations on cosmetics in the world? So, it’s up to us to know what we’re putting on our bodies and in our home. Check out the Environmental Working Group to get ratings on the products you’re already using to see if you want to make a change. And it’s actually REALLY easy to make your own cleaning products, trust me; I’m the queen of Pinterest fails and even I can do it!. With just some simple ingredients like vinegar, lemon, and baking soda you’re in business for a cleaner, greener home.
What simple Green Living habits have you picked up? I know I’ve just touched the surface with these tips so please share your ideas with us in the comments!
Contributing Sister Site and Author
Northwoods dweller and mom of two littles, Angie is a psychotherapist, nature lover and fluent in the art of sarcasm. She enjoys running, yoga, soccer, and finding humor wherever she can.
Angie is a contributor for Duluth Moms Blog, one of our Sister Sites.