Falling Short of Green Aspirations: An Eco-Reflection

It’s New Year’s Eve.  My living room is strewn with child-related debris, my husband is feverish in bed, and my offspring are tucked in—leaving me to evaluate my green parenting progress this year.

In truth, I dread this reflection.  Although 2010 was a year where I finally had more time at home, it didn’t always feel productive.  In fact, never have I had so much time and so few accomplishments.  After all, in previous years I was trying to balance parenting with teaching middle school, writing our book, and blogging.

To make myself feel a bit better, I have to remember that getting the laundry done, wiping child-flung yogurt off the wood floors, and keeping food in the fridge are actually achievements.  Being at home this last six months has been an absolute delight, and the toughest job I’ve ever had (And my former job was teaching 30+ adolescents!).

Since I’m the co-author of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, a book that emphasizes “progress, not perfection,” I have to keep that in mind as I look back on this year.  My goals for 2010 were as follows:

  1. Expand our raised beds. I built another small raised bed.  Unfortunately, the area is devoid of light.  It was impossible to grow anything there, including zucchini.  I never knew zucchini could actually refuse to thrive anywhere!
  2. Pick, freeze and can local produce. We went on two blueberry-gathering missions, but spent most of the morning chasing our children.  In the end, we did buy several flats of local berries that lasted through November. No canning of any sort happened.  I may have been hallucinating with sleep loss when I dreamed up that eco-hope.

Perhaps it’s the cold, the dark, or the empty chocolate wrappers in our pantry, but I’m feeling a bit defeated lately.  There is just so much I want to cross off my list of green aspirations!  (Thoughts like these regularly pop into my head: “During my children’s nap times I’ll be able to install a drip irrigation system, programmable thermostat, and ductless heating system!”) But being home with two small children is an experiment in becoming a “human being” rather than a “human doing.”

Our budget is also smaller than ever, which makes it trickier to find the funds for organic produce or green energy.  Still, with enough careful thought and small steps, I shall fumble in the direction of my green ideals.  In the meantime, patience, patience, patience!  And progress, not perfection.

On Wednesday, I’ll forge ahead with a few manageable goals.  It will feel good to shift from reflection into action.  Are you planning on making any resolutions this year, green or otherwise?


  1. Please don’t beat yourself up. Do what you can! Even the little things make a difference.

  2. Don’t be so hard on yourself! It sounds like you are setting a wonderful example for your children already. We’re all doing our best to live green while raising a family with limited resources like time and money. Hang in there!

  3. I think this is the very thing that can be so hard for us green moms, not beat ourselves up for any shortcomings! Progress is the most important thing, and for those in the business of educating and inspiring others being accessible can be more meaningful than perfect. 😉

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