Rebecca and I survived years of poopy cloth diapers in our households without the help of a diaper sprayer. Still, if I would have seen this video and learned how to make one for so little, I may have taken the leap! (They’re about $50 on many websites but the do-it-yourself version comes it at less than $20 and takes just 20 minutes to set up!) Do you have a diaper sprayer? Have you yearned for one and felt they were too expensive? Check out this link to the video and you’ll have one for much less in no time at all!
DIY Diaper Sprayer for Less!
Saving the environment takes time and energy that we don’t always have. The more I write this blog and raise my kids, the more I’m convinced that sustainability has to include more than just the environment. To be great parents and environmentalists, we have to sustain ourselves.
And by being happy!
Think about it, how many truly effective green moms are exhausted and bummed out all the time? How many guilt-ridden women are motivated to keep tinkering with their lifestyles to make eco-friendly shifts?
So maybe, every once in a while, we need to take a hot bubble bath (regardless of the gallons of water it requires) or go for the nap instead of whipping up a batch of home baked bread from flour we milled ourselves.
As our children grow (and our hours of sleep slowly increase) we will have time to keep working at green shifts. In the meantime, we need to make sure that this journey is fun. If not, our sustainability efforts simply won’t be sustainable.
Personally, I want my children to see that this simple, green lifestyle is jam-packed with secondary benefits that will enrich their lives while helping the environment for generations to come. Hopefully if they see me enjoying it, they’ll jump on the bandwagon later. (After a brief period of parent-directed mockery during their teen years.)
How do you sustain yourself in the midst of trying to make green changes? Do you suffer from green guilt?
Today I’m on a family trip in Denver but gathered up a few quotes from Natural Life Magazine to provide a bit of Monday inspiration. Enjoy!
“There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation of the way we raise our children.” ~ Marianne Williamson
“People will always try to stop you from doing the right thing if it is unconventional.”~ Warren Buffett
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
A hilarious quiz in Tina Fey’s new book, Bossypants, made me think about the difference between support and pressure when it comes to breastfeeding. Nursing is hard work, especially in those early days, and new moms need encouragement, meals and commiseration. (And humor. They might need a copy of Tina’s book, or just a glance at the photo to the right.)
My best strategy for supporting new breastfeeding moms is to let them know that the really hard part comes right at first in those grueling early weeks. It does get easier month by month, and more precious as babies start to become toddlers and those moments of snuggling start to disappear.
I also candidly share that I often totally felt exhausted and frustrated by nursing early on. New breastfeeding moms can feel physically chained to an infant and then have secondary feelings of guilt that they aren’t enjoying nursing. It’s a relief to know that lots of breastfeeding women feel that way at some point.
What happens when we provide all of that support and advice and a few of our friends decide to switch to formula anyway?
Hopefully, we veer far, far away from pitying their child, loading them up with guilt, or reflecting on how great our breastfeeding experience was. Hopefully we let them know that they don’t have to make a hard and fast choice–that it’s possible to part breastfeeding and part formula and alter that ratio in whatever way works for mom and baby. And if they do switch exclusively to formula, we respect their choice.
What do you do to support new moms in their breastfeeding efforts? What was helpful (or unhelpful) to you in those early days?
Some of us come by thriftiness naturally. Because of my depression era, midwestern relatives, I’m genetically programed to avoid waste at all cost. In college, while other students were buying extravagant items like milkshakes and cheeseburgers, I was preparing ramen noodles in my hot pot. (and feeling ever so resourceful)
For the last nearly four decades of my life, I have embraced adventurous frugality with humor and sometimes even a bit of moral superiority. During the decade that we drove my un-airconditioned car while holding frozen wash clothes in our armpits, my husband and I were proud of our sweaty sheen when we arrived at our destination. This was after hours of heat exhaustion interrupted only by squirts of ice water that we kept in a squirt bottle in the cup holder.
But does this frugality ever go too far? Yes! Let’s face it, ramen noodles have absolutely no nutritional value and riding for four hours in a car without air conditioning is exhausting (with or without the frozen wash clothes) But beyond sacrificing health or comfort for financial savings, I’ve made other bad frugal choices as well. Sometimes my creative money-saving efforts end up being more expensive. Sometimes I am blind-sided by low thrift store prices and buy more than we really need. Most often I forget that it’s o.k. to be generous with myself now and then.
On the whole, I’m so grateful that I’ve had the natural tendency to save over the years. It’s given us freedom to spend more time with our children and make choices based on our values instead of our bills. Still, I’m glad to be drifting more towards the middle ground where the occasional splurge can actually be enjoyed!
Juley A. from Anchorage, Alaska will soon be getting her copy of 15 Minutes Outside on her doorstep. Enjoy! Now that the weather is getting a bit warmer, it will be even easier to gain inspiration to be outdoors with baby.
In just a matter of days, Andrea B. from Chandler, Arizona will be able to toss a the Smartklean Laundry Ball into her washer without using any laundry detergent–for an entire year!
And, our biggest winner so far of the Hygeia EnJoye Breastpump is….Ashley B from Los Angeles, California.
Thank you so much for your comments and interest. We have some more exciting giveaways coming up so keep coming back to see if you’ll be our next lucky winner!
Is it deciphering cloth diaper vocabulary? (Like hybrid, chinese prefold, pocket diaper, all-in-one?) Is it being able to afford the organic produce you’d like to buy? Is it the physical challenge of early breastfeeding? Do you need some homemade babyfood recipes? Or are you still trying to prepare for baby’s arrival with the planet in mind?
My children are now leaving the realm of babyhood and hearing your questions and challenges keeps us connected with what our readers need in those early days of parenting. If you have a problem, chances are there are dozens of other women face the same dilemma. Thanks for sharing ideas that we can present to our readers for future Friday questions!
Here at Greenbabyguide.com, we’re all about simple eco-friendly changes. They have to be things you can do while sleep deprived, nursing, and trying to get at least one load of laundry done per week. That’s why we love
Marcal is a small company that has been making paper products for more than 60 years. Their products are easy to find in mainstream stores, affordable, and high quality. Since we just use rags around here, we haven’t yet given their paper towels a try, but we love
If a family of four switches to 100% recycled paper products, in just one year they’ll save two trees. And in 20 years, they’ll save about 34 trees. (That’s a small forest!) Imagine if businesses and schools switched to fully recycled paper products. It seems like such a small change but the benefits are tremendous!
If you chose to “like” Marcal on facebook, you’ll get a $1.00 off coupon for your next purchase of
Do you buy greener paper products? If so, what are your favorites? If not, what’s holding you back?
We just bought a 2300 square foot house. I’m wincing as I type that because although it’s actually now the average size of an American house, it’s more than twice what we currently own. That means a much bigger carbon footprint (and mortgage.)
Honestly, I didn’t plan on falling in love. We had set our criteria for size to be no bigger than 1800 square foot for our family of four, but the moment I walked through the doors I knew I was a goner. It’s surrounded by massive pine trees, is south facing with raised garden beds and lots of light, and there’s plenty of room for for play dates and extended family visits.
By the way, the photo to the right is not our house, or our dog. It comes from the book The Not So Big House, by Sarah Susanka, an architect who has pioneered the smaller house movement. Interestingly, the plans she designs come in at 2400 square feet, which assuages my eco-guilt a bit.
Beyond the size though, the new location is one mile away from where we currently live, on a hill, which will make it less bikable too. But it is within close walking distance of schools, parks and a community pool and biking distance of the grocery store.
Is there anything green about it? A ductless, high efficiency heating pump was just installed last year and it has almost no lawn despite the fact that it’s nestled on a quarter acre. I also love that every inch of that 2300 square feet is liveable for our family. We didn’t want walk-in closets, a formal dining room, or a breakfast nook simply because we’d rather have more space dedicated to the kitchen, living room, and family room.
I know my eco-cred has taken a hit, but I still believe in smaller houses–especially in the early years with children. In the 1950′s the average house size was about a thousand square feet and most families had at least three kids, so our perception of how much space we need has certainly shifted.
And truly, babies don’t need a whole lot of square footage, especially if you manage to cut back on the mounds of blinking gizmos threatening to take over the living room. I have to say though, now that I have a toddler and a preschooler, play dates with four or five kids in this house are pretty challenging. Plus, I would love to host friends and family more often without always relegating them to an inflatable mattress on the living room floor.
Because we didn’t rush out to buy a bigger house or a minivan when I was first pregnant, we’ve had more time to save up for this step in our life. We rent out a mother-in-law unit in the back of our current house that has also really helped us save money. We have no furniture for the new house, and probably won’t be able to afford it for awhile, but I think we’ll be just fine with bean bags and lawn chairs until I have the time and money to pick up secondhand furniture at garage sales.
I’m going to miss never being more than 15 feet away from any member of my family and having four people in the bathroom engaged in various acts of toiletry together, but there will also be something nice about the kids having room to run, explore and play inside. (Oh, and being able to send kids to a different bathroom!)
Have I become just another suburban mother? I hope not! Feel free to lessen my eco-guilt or condemn me for my drunken square footage greed! (or perhaps offer me congratulations? )
We’re still getting mailing info from our recent giveaways but we should be announcing our EnJoye Breastpump winner and our 15 Minutes Outside winner soon! Also, there’s still time to enter the SmartKlean Laundry Ball giveaway!
My pregnancy moved my thrifty, green tendencies to a whole new level, but people discover this blog at different points in their parenting journeys. Why are you considering eco-friendly, budget-friendly choices? Was is economic necessity? A newfound environmental awareness? A friend or relative who blazed the trail? (Rebecca was certainly a huge help for me since we were both pregnant at the same time and she tutored me in cloth diapering, buying used, and reducing purchases.)
Whether you’re just beginning to make frugal, green shifts, or were eco-conscious to begin with , you may want to read our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet. Request it at your local library to read it for free or pick up a copy of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide on Amazon for less than ten bucks. (That’s 60% off the cover price!)
Please share what helped you become a greener, more resourceful parent to inspire the rest of us. And don’t forget that today is the last day to enter our Hygeia EnJoye Professional Grade Breastpump giveaway!