Green Spotlight: Eco-Heroine Eileen Provides a Planet Saving Pep-Talk

Eileen Spillman is a single mom who works full time as a middle school teacher, raises two children, and saves the Earth in her spare time.   As you’ll see, Eileen is very humble about managing her hectic lifestyle, but she has lots of down-to-earth wisdom to share. Her online interview will be broken down into a four-part Sunday series, so stay tuned!

How (on Earth!) do you juggle a full time job, raising two children, and keeping the planet in mind?  

Ha!  I don’t.  Everything doesn’t get done perfectly, or even close…..I’m really fortunate to have wonderful family and friends who pitch in for me, a lot.  The other thing about being a single mom is that I don’t have to expend any energy in negotiations – it’s my way or the highway.  I have also realized that watching TV was a couple thing and since I’m not half of a couple, I don’t watch it at all anymore. ….Oh, and sometimes I tear my hair out and cry like a baby.   

No but seriously, if you are a mom, you have already discovered that you have super-human powers you didn’t know about.  You never thought you would survive labor or waking up in the middle of the night or colic, but you did.  And you just do.  Hey, I don’t have it so bad… I don’t have to walk 10 miles just to get water and carry it back on my head.  And that is really what I do, try to focus on how lucky we are and think about what we can do to help the less fortunate.  Obviously green living is a huge part of that … living simply so others may simply live.

What would you say to new moms who are overwhelmed by trying to make green choices?  

Cut yourself some slack and focus on the baby.  The trick is to keep it simple and your life will actually be more manageable with less stuff.  You don’t need 90% of the gear Babies’R’Us wants you to have and you won’t realize that until after you are done with it. 

But oh my goodness, I REMEMBER when my son just would NOT let me put him down and I got at least three baby carriers trying to find one that would be comfortable, but it didn’t work because when I needed my arms, I was doing something where it just wasn’t safe to have him in front of me.  Then in about two months he started crawling and he was happy.  Seriously, these “emergencies” will pass so quickly you won’t believe it.  There is a billion-dollar industry built on your new-parent anxiety.  You’re going to be fine! 

As far as making green choices (besides not being an over-consumer), try to just implement one change at a time.  If you start off with cloth diapers and breast-feeding, you’re almost there. You might find that your own mother and grandmother know a thing or two about green parenting since when we were babies, cloth diapers were all they had. 

 It DOES get easier.  I promise you.  In a few short years you will be crying as you sign your “baby” up for school like I did today.  Sigh.  And my four-year-old baby told me yesterday that we walk because “we love the erf”.  (That would be Ian-ese for Earth.) 


  1. This is great–thanks for posting this!

  2. I think that Eileen’s advice is the best advice I could have gotten as a new mother. I just did not have the experience or perspective to know that things would change and get better within months. That newborn phase just seems overwhelming and at the time I thought “this is how the rest of my life will be.” Somehow I couldn’t imagine my needy, crying baby ever sleeping, crawling, walking, or talking. Usually you don’t need a product or gadget to solve your baby emergency–just time!

  3. Great interview. I hardly watch t.v either! You’re doing a great job! Keep it up!

  4. You’re so right about those super-human mom powers! I remember being shocked by my endurance after so many sleepless nights. People have no idea what they’re capable of until they survive those first few months of parenting. Thanks for your insights Eileen!

  5. You guys are too sweet! This has been a busy, busy week getting back into the swing of things – you know, having to actually go to work and all that.=) Today I finally felt like I could breathe, but still have several stacks of pre-tests to correct! I felt bad because BOTH kids are taking lunches this year and in a moment of desperation, I bought snack packs at costco. They are healthy, organic snack packs, but individually packaged items nonetheless. Some weeks are greener than others. So much for my plans to make homemade snacks from vegetable purees to pack in re-usable containers for their lunches. Maybe next month.=) Ha ha.

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