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!).
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Green Spotlight: Eileen Tackles Green Guilt and Eco-Friendly Economics

We at Green Baby Guide love to hear voices from the trenches of eco-friendly parenting.  In part three of our Green Spotlight series this month, Eileen Spillman, single mom, middle school teacher, and environmentalist, inspires us to use green guilt to our advantage. 

How do you handle “green guilt?”

I put it to good use!  Seriously, guilt is normal and healthy.  If you didn’t feel guilt, I think you’d be a sociopath.  Just don’t let it turn into anxiety and paralyze you.  I use it to fuel my creative energy.  I try to always tell myself that I can’t completely change my whole lifestyle overnight.  I make one change at a time and once I’ve got that down, I can think about the next thing. 

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Green Mom Guilt

Motherhood has moved my capacity for guilt to a whole new level—and I was pretty advanced to begin with. The guilt-rants that occur in my brain are often totally illogical (due to sleep deprivation) but it’s amazing how powerful they can become.  Here is a sample of a sudden guilt gush: “Why didn’t I bring mittens to the park? Now he’ll probably get frostbite and never be able to pursue his dream of professional fiddling!”

 

O.K. It doesn’t always get that bad, but it is hard to feel as though the entire well-being of another tiny soul rests on my shoulders.   So when I throw the health of the planet into the mix, I can occasionally become overwhelmed.  As I’m wheeling my son through the grocery store (and sensing an impending fit) it’s tough to make quick decisions about green packaging, organic products, and price—all while singing Itsy Bitsy Spider and planning a diaper change in a public restroom.

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