At brunch one recent Sunday, my friend Alex asked me if having a baby changed my attitude toward conservation: Now that I was a mom, did I still find time for all that environmental stuff?
My answer is a happy yes.
I’ve given up on a lot of things since Max was born. I rarely clean the house and almost never weed the garden. A year into being a parent, I’m just starting to talk to friends on a regular basis again.
But conservation is one value I’ve kept as best I can. It’s a way of life that matters all the more now that I have a kid: The world we’ve wrought is the one he’ll inherit.
I think one reason it has been fairly easy to stay green post-baby is that my husband and I had long ago incorporated many simple measures into our life. Here are three that I’d like to share, with the hope that you might consider them, too:
Tupperware at restaurants:
We try to bring our own containers for packing leftovers up when we eat out. It’s an awesome, easy alternative to the leaky clamshell boxes many restaurants provide. I have these spill-proof glass cubes from Wean Green. As an added plus, you can pop them right in the microwave, unlike many take-out cartons. (You can usually get these cheaper on Amazon and other websites.)
Reusing deli tubs:
Most people recycle the little round plastic tubs that you get when you order olives or potato salad from the deli counter at the grocery store. We wash the containers out and use them again.
Abolishing plastic bags:
I’m sure this one’s nothing new to you, but I think it really does make a difference to bring your own bag. Especially when you have a baby, it sometimes feels like you’re constantly at the store buying this or that oddball thing you never knew existed before you had a kid (like tiny cloth mitts to prevent newborns from scratching their own faces).
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And this brings me to my next thought, which is that perhaps this blog post is paradoxical; after all, my husband and I often joke that having Max is the most carbon-unfriendly thing we’ve ever done.
But like billions of others before us, we wanted a child. And now that we have him, I feel that it’s imperative that I do what I can to neutralize some of the havoc he will wreak upon the Earth.
I am proud to say that as a parent, I don’t produce much more garbage than I did in the Days Before Max. We use cloth diapers (which I’ll write about later), make our own baby food, eat minimal meat, get hand-me-downs wherever we can, and use our legs for transportation when feasible.
We are not perfect, but we try.
They say no matter what you attempt to teach a kid, children will just copy you and act however you act. It would be my greatest achievement if, at the end of life, I could say that I lived in a manner that set a good example for Max.