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Lately, I’ve been consumed with guilt over the amount of waste I personally produce. Living in a coastal town, I’ve seen enough news stories about marine animals killed by waste and plastics that I’ve worried that I personally contributed to each animal’s death somehow.
I have never, however, considered myself an activist of any kind. So don’t worry about me making some grand eloquent argument here for going off the grid and living the ultimate “crunchy” sustainable lifestyle (although, kudos to you if this is something you can accomplish and thanks for generating enough power with your stationary bike to read this blog.)
Being a mom living a modern lifestyle, there are lots of times where I choose convenience over conservation. I realize that most of us moms are constantly trying to be better and more mindful of…well…just about everything. Sometimes when it comes to the narrative about our environment, conservation can seem so daunting and helpless that it’s easier to default to, “Well, if I can’t make the big important strides for this planet, why try at all?”
Instead, there are just some itty bitty steps that, I think, are a great starting point for being mindful of the waste we produce.
Recycle often, and recycle PROPERLY
This is probably the easiest place to start. Just pay attention to the things that are going to the trash. Can they be recycled instead? And are you recycling them properly? First check the guidelines for your city or whichever company picks up your recycling. Pay attention to labeling on packing material and plastic bags – it can often be taken back to the grocery store to be recycled. Packaging for paper towels and toilet paper is often labeled as “store drop-off”! Then make sure you’re not contaminating recyclables. I’m always taking stuff out of the recycling to wash it after my husband throws things in because if it’s not clean, its contaminated and won’t be recycled.
Reusable Grocery Bags
If you want to reduce waste, why not start with the bags that literally only get minutes of use before getting tossed. I use my reusable grocery bags whenever I can PLUS resuable mesh bags for produce.
Reusable Food Storage
Too often I’ve packed snacks or lunch for the kids using ziploc bags that would get thrown away. Or buying water bottles while we’re out. Now, instead, I try to take my favorite Take & Toss bowls and cups. I even found these cute reusable ziploc bags at TJ Maxx that fit in their lunch boxes. For baby food or yogurt, I love these WeeSprout refillable pouches.
Switch to Bar Soaps
I have lots of hair so the plastic bottles I accumulated from shampoo, conditioner, and soap was feeling overwhelming. There are probably lots of local options for hand-crafted soap bars if you look around your town. For my hair, it took me awhile to find a product I like. I ended up trying a sampler of Ethique bars and found options I love for my thick wavy hair.
Menstrual cups/Period Panties
It’s an unpleasant reality, but feminine products also accumulate a lot of monthly waste. After a year or so of being on the fence, I finally tried a menstrual cup and don’t plan to go back to tampons. There’s a learning curve for getting comfortable with it, but I’ve been very happy with my DivaCup even with my heavy flow. If you can’t get onboard with the cup, how about a period panties like Thinx?
We go to a fair share of birthday parties for kids. For my own kids, I usually request “no gifts” because 1) my kids don’t need anything and 2) the things they do receive often go untouched or are broken in no-time (the middle child is especially destructive). I imagine other parents go through the same thing, so when the opportunity comes up, I try to do gift cards for experiences or to our favorite local ice cream shop instead of toys.
This has been a long-term ambition of mine, especially because of the sheer volume of weekly waste disposable diapers produce. I thought about doing it with my first, but my husband was NOT on board with the idea. Then, after doing the vast majority of diapering for the first two kids, and gathering info from friends, I decided I was up to the task. I bought a cheap lot of cloth diapers from a friend and it didn’t take long to feel like I had a pretty good routine down for them. A friend sent me some info on Fluff Love University to help get me started. And then I checked out what Lucie’s List had to say about all the types of cloth diapers to choose from:
I put this one last because I’m just so lazy when it comes to composting, so I’m striving to be better about it. The kids help me create a whole lot of food waste, so I’m hoping to be better about taking the scraps we have to decompose in our very own compost pile. A friend recommends a compost pail on the counter to make it easy (and reduce odor).
How about you? What do you do to go green in your household? What would you like to start doing?
When I used to speak romantically to my husband about the enthusiasm I have for our love; the fact that our love felt like fate, that we were meant to be, that we were soulmates, I used to get a disappointing response – he didn’t believe in “soulmates.”
This is to be expected from my husband. He is nothing if not a realist. His feet are firmly on the ground, so any flighty feelings of romanticism tend to allude him.
Here we are at the end of another year and once again, Mallory and I are lamenting our failure to keep up with blogging. womp womp. Instead of promising to do better next year (because let’s face it, we might actually just suck at this), I just want to talk a little bit about the thing that’s been distracting us both from making more regular internet rants: Stroller Warriors.
If you know either of us, you’ve probably heard us talk about this running club ad nauseam. BUT, for the handful of random internet viewers who might end up here one day I’ll explain: Stroller Warriors is a running club designed for military spouses and their families. There are chapters all over the world, which is why Mallory and I still have this club in common even on opposite sides of the globe.
Mallory and I joined our first Stroller Warriors club together in San Diego. I would classify Mallory as an ultra runner so she was a shoe-in, but for me running was just kinda okay and I’m still not sure how much I actually “like” it. For me, it was something that kept me active where I could also bring my kid. Getting to regularly talk to other adults and bring our kids to playdates was a great added bonus too. It didn’t take long for Stroller Warriors to become my community, my tribe.
Alas, along came the time to move again and even though I was 7-months pregnant in a new place, without Mallory and without the same group of running friends I had grown accustom to, I knew I just needed to join up with my new closest SW chapter and just keep showing up. Mallory did the same thing while she was in Iwakuni. I happened to be around enough that I was asked to help lead some workouts, and eventually, since the timing was right, I was able to step up with a couple of other fantastic ladies to help lead the Parris Island chapter. Wouldn’t you know it, that same thing happened to Mallory and the Iwakuni chapter!
So here we are now, both with a bit more responsibility on our hands to take care of our running communities — the reason you’ve heard a little less from us on the blogosphere. I’m happy with how far we’ve come with this club; it’s so so important to me. You see, even though I barely liked running to begin with, it gave me a newfound ownership over my body. I think it’s something a lot of moms can relate to. At this point I’ve spent about a year and a half lending my body to grow children, and then I spent additional 2+ years operating as a never-ending milk factory. Sometimes I feel like I’ve merely been a vessel for the survival of my offspring.
The Netflix show, GLOW, can actually help me communicate what it means to find an activity like running after having kids. I watched all of the episodes on Netflix and one of the most relatable parts to me is when Debbie Eagan talks about why she would be sad to leave Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling:
“…It’s like I’m back…in my body…and it doesn’t belong to Randy…or Mark. And I…I don’t know, I’m, like, using it for me, and…I feel like a goddamn superhero.”
Yes. A goddamn superhero. A warrior, if you will. Thanks to running, I actually strive to see my body’s performance improve and not for anyone but myself.
There’s a lot of snark and eye-rolling that can be found describing the mom who does everything oh-so Pinterest perfectly. As much as I love snark, I am not here to partake…this time. Oh no, I love the Pinterest moms! And that’s not just because I occasionally try my hand at a project or two.
Pinterest Moms make the world a better place. They put the time and effort into crafting and creating an experience for their kids’ birthdays and holidays. They’re making gorgeous, delicious cakes, themed DIY decor, over-the-top Easter Baskets. And that’s okay. It does not mean I have to meet them at every embellishment.
Before children, the idea of having a personal assistant seemed like some sort of unattainable dream; a frivolous luxury even. Now, with the variety of home delivery services and the reality of trying to accomplish a to-do list with two kids, having a sort-of personal assistant is actually very accessible.
From grocery shopping to planning date nights, the internet really does have it all. Here are some ways you can add a little personal assistance to your hectic life:
Mallory and I each have a list of things we’d like to write about on this blog. As you may have noticed, we haven’t been keeping up and those lists have been tossed, desperately, aside.
You see, the past few months we have been battling sick children who don’t like to sleep. Some of the time we’ve been sick ourselves and often we are both facing these challenges while our husbands are away.
By the time we’ve recovered, we usually just wanted to rest or catch up on this or that. Unfortunately “this or that” rarely ends up being the blog. (Please read on, as this post is not an admittance of defeat, but an attempt to hit the reset button.)
We have been spread much too thin to take-on all of the things we’d like to do. During this time, it’s been helpful to give ourselves permission to half-ass the house work, turn on the tv or tablet a bit more and to vent our woes to each other (after all, misery loves company).
Now that we’re both on our second kid, we find ourselves in a perpetual game of catch-up. But now I think it’s easier for us to admit we can’t do it all. I think we’re able to say, “I need a break,” and make it happen – even if it’s for as little as 5 minutes.
Luckily, being such good friends, we also keep each other accountable. Now that we’ve wallowed in our problems, it’s time to look ahead and give our blog some extra TLC and attention.
After experiencing some excruciating pain that felt like extreme heartburn, I was actually relieved to find out I just had gallstones. I thought I was dying. Apparently, pregnancy puts you at risk for developing them. The gallstones were too big to dissolve and not big enough to warrant immediate surgery, so opting for gallbladder removal was going to be totally up to me.
I sat on the idea for several days because my new baby boy was still only about 4 months old, so I was worried what effect the surgery would have on our nursing relationship and (since he was still so little) I worried that juggling him and my toddler while recovering would be impossible on my own.
You’re buying into the message they sell. Remember that.
This was part of one of the lessons taught in an advertising class I took for my public relations degree. The prime example used for this lesson was Dove and their “Campaign for Real Beauty.” We examined it as a brand that excels in messaging that reaches beyond their products.
Since taking this class I’ve always viewed Dove with high regard. I’ll gladly reach for their products over other brands. So, when they approached us with a chance to do a giveaway for our readers, I was more than happy to participate!
Now, as a mom, I’m elated to see their messaging hit all the right marks again with Baby Dove. “There are no perfect moms, just real ones.” Check out their commercial:
It’s one of those ads that makes you feel pride in the chaos and uncertainty of motherhood. Furthermore, I love that now I can look to Dove for the full package: something for me, something for my babies.
Want a chance to win a New Baby Dove Rich Moisture package? Hop on over to our Facebook page and join the conversation about #RealMoms there.
A little about Dove’s new products:
Baby Dove Rich Moisture range has been developed for babies with normal to dry skin and goes beyond mildness to actively replenish lost moisture and nutrients into baby’s skin. All products are hypoallergenic and mild with a fragrance specifically developed for delicate baby skin. Available in Tip-to-Toe wash, baby lotion, baby bar, shampoo and baby wipes.
(The baby wipes are my favorite for my own personal use! Nice for freshening up quickly when you’re covered in the dirty sticky sweat of the South.)
Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture range has been developed to take extra special care of babies with sensitive skin. It is fragrance free and designed to be kind to dry skin; is hypoallergenic and pH neutral. Available in Tip-to-Toe wash, baby lotion and baby wipes.
Disclaimer: I received samples of this product for my honest review on this blog.
Is it possible to be a fan of a new mom? (Some may even call it a mom crush). Well, I’m a fan of new mom, Kayla and after this post I think you will be too!
Seeing as my nursery decor is still just sitting on the nightstand and also lacks originality (woodland creatures w/ random lurking jungle creatures) it doesn’t take much to make me ooh and ahh over anyone’s nursery. But, oh man, am I swooning over Kayla’s nursery! So much care and detail went into the overall creation that I could feasibly make this a series of blog posts about her nursery, but that might be bordering on obsessive.