Happy Being Green: Just How Sustainable is Sustainability?

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.

How?  By enjoying our thrifty green adventures.  By letting go of green guilt.  By embracing progress instead of perfection.

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.
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Transitioning Back to Work After Being a Stay-At-Home Mom

After slogging through three years of motherhood while teaching nearly full time, I was heartily ready for a break.  Last spring I took a year’s leave of absence to be with my children and experience stay-at-home motherhood.

I loved the intensity and importance of being with my kids full time, until one day, I didn’t.  Was it a dramatic episode?  Nope.  I simply reached a point where the endless cycle of laundry, meals, and playtime wore me out.  My brain felt rather mushy and creating daily structures and routines exhausted me.

Plus, although frugal living is a passion of mine, it felt a bit uncomfortable to have absolutely no spare room in our budget.  I longed for the occasional dinner out or swimming lessons for the kids.  If we stayed exactly on track and no emergencies came up, we still had to take a little out of our savings each month.
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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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