Every Green Mom Needs Someone in Her Corner | Seventh Generation
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Every Green Mom Needs Someone in Her Corner

Author: greenyourdecor

Recycled LoveWhen you haven't lived your whole life as a treehugger, it can be hard to explain to friends and family members why you're so concerned about the environment all of a sudden. I spend countless hours justifying to people why I no longer use traditional personal care products (many contain potential carcinogens and other chemicals, including traces of formaldehyde) or why it really is a big deal to carry reusable shopping bags (too many discarded plastic bags are already clogging our landfills and waterways).

I guess I understand why this could sound strange coming from a woman who used to be a serial shopper, practically lived in clothing stores, and who had to have a new something cute for my baby at least once a week. Thankfully, my daughter was too young to remember that version of me.

What that means, mercifully, is that I never have to explain my newfound passion for all things eco-friendly to my toddler. My family has been on a gradual, but steady, journey toward a more sustainable lifestyle for nearly two years now -- half of my daughter's life. This means that recycling is a normal thing for her. At 4 years old, she no longer has to ask which plastics can be recycled, because she can read the numbers herself. She knows where her empty juice pouches go and why we don't throw away apple cores. She doesn't roll her eyes when I ask her to help me get the reusable bags from the trunk of the car. And when I remind her why we don't drink bottled water, she doesn't respond with, "Aren't you doing enough for the Earth already?"

Explaining my passion to my older loved ones, however, is a steep, uphill battle. Among my favorite conversations:

THEM: I grew up using product XYZ (or doing thing XYZ) and I turned out just fine.
ME: Doctors used to endorse cigarettes in the 1950s, but we now know cigarettes are directly linked to lung cancer. Would you let your kids smoke?

THEM: Recycled toilet paper is too hard and scratchy. How can you use that stuff?
ME: Can you really justify cutting down old growth trees for such an inglorious task?

THEM: Bottled water just tastes better.
ME: Most bottled water comes from the tap anyway. So why not pay a whole lot less for it and drink your own tap water?

THEM: Green products cost too much, and it’s all just a marketing gimmick anyway.
ME: You don't have to buy green products. Just don't buy anything at all. And while some sustainable products might cost a little more at the checkout counter than conventional products, there are much bigger, and much longer-term savings that show up in the health of your family and the health of the planet.

Perhaps I could be more understanding about their positions, given that I probably felt the same a few years ago. Mostly, I try not to preach, but to lead by example. This tends to be more effective with kids than adults. Still, the fact that I don't have to explain my motives to my daughter every time I want to try some new, greener product or activity is refreshing.

Even if no one else in my life "gets it," I know I'll always have her in my corner.

Do you wish you had someone in your life like that? If you already do, how has it helped you in your green journey? I'd love to hear your comments below!

photo: mandiberg


greenyourdecor picture
I am truly amazed by the response this post has gotten! It's great to hear so many stories from people who are trying to make a difference for our planet. I know it's not easy getting our loved ones to join us in our journey, but the fact that so many people are making the effort warms my heart. As long as we keep fighting the fight, eventually they'll come over to our side :)
Jane Nabors picture
Jane Nabors
Great dialog. I recently dragged a recycle bin over to my neighborhood block party. I was waiting for groans, and was happily surprised to be met with cheers. My not-so-green husband even brought home some reusable grocery sacks that his employer gave away as a promotion --just for me. Hopefully more people are converting and making small green steps.
NergySaver picture
Even when I was small I would recycle, not litter, the small stuff. My grandma bought me a book, 50 things kids can do to save the earth, so I made a compost. But when I got pregnant with my daughter I was super into it. My aunt died a few years ago from breast cancer and that began opening my eyes to chemicals in products and it took off from there. But the rest of my family seems to not get it. My mom sometimes has this look on her face when I am explaining why I do something that says, your wasting your money. And don't get me started on finding a caregiver that doesn't feed my daughter HFCS! I don't like that people give the impression that I am "wasting my time". What I do for my family and myself is an investment. I recently had a stillborn little girl 5months into my pregnancy. And why they say that her condition wasn't caused by anything that I did or took I wonder, "Did that anti-perspirant I use make that one cell mutate?". Of course, this thinking could drive ya just crazy but knowing that I am living the greenest life I can and making the choices that I believe are best for my family gives me piece of mind. So I'll keep it up and hope for the best.
groll picture
Ever since my son was born 17 months ago I decided to be as green and organic as possible for him including purchasing him an organic mattress, bedding, etc as well as the products I use for him. While I find it hard to be 100% I feel we have made a lot of changes that will become a common part of his life and that I feel great about. It is funny because to my family and co-workers I'm the Wacky Organic Tree Hugging person...but I realize that is just fine with me! Thank you for writing this article so we know there are others out there like us trying to make a difference small or large even while others really are confused what we are doing ;)
mehogref picture
we can only hope that someday, fewer, and fewer people will think we are weirdos. I've always been a supporter of green issues. Back in college I distinctly remember a friend of mine calling me a tree hugger. Back in 2003, I got much deeper into the personal movement. I read a great book called Drop-Dead Gorgeous: Protecting Yourself from the Hidden Dangers of Cosmetics. It opened my eyes to the dangers of personal care products. My husband thought I was crazy when I began throwing away tons of stuff from under our sink and spent almost $200 on Aubrey organics products. Of course from there it grew into an organic food habit. And when my daughter was born we did everything as green as we could afford. Can you say organic crib mattress, sheets, baby products, cloth diapers, food....and the list goes on and on. Granola is the term my friends now like to call me as my family and I do as much as we can to be good stewards to the Earth. But no matter what they say, I know we're doing the best thing for our bodies, and the environment. We have to live by example and hope others will follow.
shell1215 picture
Did I write this? Thank you for sharing your thoughts, glad to know others are out there too!
lminney picture
is the person that inspired me to take the plunge into the world of green living. From her first diaper change she would scream when I put conventional diaper rash cream on. From that point on, I started to change the things we put in & on our bodies. All of us have been so much healthier since. I still have a long way to go, but I hope that I can lead by example. It is a process of evolution & learning. It is fascinating and exciting to know that every little choice we make does in fact make a difference! Having a baby has changed my life in so many more ways than I could imagine :)
robynk picture
Amazingly, I was the somewhat "close-minded" one in the relationship who never really thought twice about the way anything effected the environment. Until I started dating my boyfriend who is a nature, bug, animal, fish, ocean, planets, eco-freak! I was the one who thought organic food was a joke and that buying things I didn't really need was only hurting my bank account. He opened my eyes, so now when I encounter people who are still in the ridicule stage (i.e. "okay hippie" I get that all the time) I just remember that when I find a new cleaning product or a new idea for reusing or composting, my b/f will think it's just as cool as I do. And the funny thing is now, I actually have friends and family call me asking me specifically about what to do with their E-waste or how to compost!!! It's awesome!
cleaningcoach picture
I love how you have done a 180! I try to tell people to take baby steps. Going totally green can be very overwhelming, but making small changes can create new habits... one spray bottle at a time!
kak005 picture
I never really used to be like I am now. I just recycled when it was convenient. It wasn't until I was pregnant that I really started making an real effort to becoming more green. My fiance is mostly on board with my efforts. One thing we still butt heads on... paper towels! I buy recycled paper towels, if I even buy paper towels. Every time I go shopping and actually buy them, he cringes. He says they just don't work well at all. I think they work just fine and I can not justify using virgin wood to clean my counters. I think what it comes down to is that we were raised in two very different households. My parents recycled and were at least more aware of the environment than my fiance's parents. I guess the next step on our family's green journey is try and come together and raise our child so she is more aware of the environment. It is going to be hard, but if we can try and hide our little argument of paper towels each time I buy them... it just might work!
LylithStarchild picture
I started to seriously 'go green' when I found out that I was pregnant with my first child. Now, 2 weeks from my due date, I'm proud that I'll be able to bring my child into a green(ish) household. It was certainly a rocky start. My husband rolled his eyes at my reusable bags, shook his head at my green research books, and simply laughed when I told him all the green ways in which I wanted to raise our child. But now, he asks me at the check out line if I've got my bags, and he's not said one derogatory word about my decision to use gDiapers for the baby. He even watched the videos and now considers himself an expert. (Even though he's never changed a diaper in his life, so we'll see how that goes...) It gives me immeasureable ammounts of joy to know that my baby will grow up in a home where green is the norm.
Rebekah Smith picture
Rebekah Smith
I find it hard when speaking to family and friends who haven't quite "got it" or who just don't care. I appreciate your candor. We need to be good stewards of what God has given us and not destroy the world for our future generations. This is our decision as a family to go green and to not have everything "fast". We live in a culture that wants everything immediately...it is also our generation that believes this to be a right. Doing things the long way, the "hard", the inconvenient way is not always easy, but it is best for us and for the future of our children...thanks.
lizjane picture
This article is so 'right on'! I could have written it about my own life. I went green 3 years ago after my mom was struck down with metastatic breast cancer, spread to lungs, bone, lymph, and brain. With no family history and having lived practically a nuns life, I was looking for answers as to why this happened to her? Once I started looking into personal products and what they contain, the ball just began rolling. Now I no longer use products with chemicals on my families bodies or to clean my house. I don't use synthetic anything anymore, make most of my cleaners (with the exception of laundry) and have given up using paper towels and paper napkins entirely. Cloth does a better job every time anyway! I carry re usable bags and take tap water from home. I try to explain this to my neighbors and friends, parents and relatives but get mostly weird looks and an occasional eye rolling. I have found that this is a one way street, once you get going there is no going back and I wouldn't want to. I have more road to travel, so to speak, on my journey to greenness but I'll get there in time. I feel healthier and I spend LESS over all not buying all the stuff that is advertised on tv. The only thing I hate is that I can't get more people to try it.
momsicle picture
find a Mexican or South American Market. They have Pepsi and Coke made from sugar. Not only are you getting the coke the way it was, there is no high fructose corn syrup and you take your bottles back to the store to be cleaned and refilled not recycled into new products. Glass is on its way back
Cheryl Herrick picture
Cheryl Herrick
I had the best confirmation that I'm on the right path with my kids when, on a recent very hot day, I told my passengers that I just had a one-minute errand and would leave the car running so they could have the air conditioning on. "No, Mommy! No idling! Think of Planet Earth!" my 6 year old cried. Already, I'm learning earth stewardship from them.
dldobbie picture
I keep telling myself and my family that we need to make one small change a day whether it's bringing a commuter cup to Starbucks instead of using their paper products or buying an extra reusable bag at Trader Joe's for .99 cents. My daughter liked the raffle for groceries that Trader Joe's offered with purchase. Now by daughter gets excited about our website because she get's to choose "Green Videos" to post. Currently we have a Green Video by Mitchell Musso. You can check the video out at UpliftingGreen.com
lindaben picture
I find I'm having a hard time getting through to my friends too. I wish I could get them to change their ways, but they just don't feel the same urgency as I do to help our planet in crisis. Not to mention, the toxic waste dumps our bodies are becoming! This post was refreshing because I'm glad to see I'm not the only one with this problem. Thanks! Elle
apoglitsch picture
You are not alone in this battle. Thank goodness I too have my 6 year old that is now coming up with her own ideas and reminding me of my re-usable bags before each shopping trip. My husband has seen how my actions have influenced both our kids and is now doing his best to lead by example. This summer we watered all of our vegies in the garden THEY planted with the 2 water barrels HE bought!! Life is good, we are having a blast doing our part!
ecokaren picture
My 14 year old daughter is that person. We weren't always green but the girls in the family seem to "get it" more than the boys in my family. We are always, sorting out the garbage, we are always lecturing the boys about waste, we are always the ones buying the "greenest" products, and we are always reminding the boys that earth is not ours to keep. It's probably just my family with the gender difference on this issue and she's not always on my side but heck, it's nice to have her in my corner on this one.
kb7441 picture
this is my first time writing a blog ,for me my parents realized i was a nature girl!AT age of 12yrs old i was building a solar house for a project.im 44yrs old and my family just accepted i was different and always used only organic on my body and always grew as much veggies my children understand why we do what we do w/recycling,donating when they purchase a new toy @ game they have to give back.I fine my inter-peace is in nature we have so much to protect i know i do it for my children,and now for my 3 grandkids.I believe with are only visitors on this earth,and we should respect and protect it.
J. FHRNHYT Petersen picture
J. FHRNHYT Petersen
The earth was created w/ love so let's continue to care for and treat it w/ love. Our duty to Mother Earth is to make sure that we are doing our part to sustain what we have left of this once pure and(still in most places)fertile planet.
greenyourdecor picture
I know that I'm a much different person now than I used to be because of my efforts to live a greener lifestyle, and it can be hard to explain to the others why the change is so vast. Thankfully, there are many of us who are willing to push through all the challenges and raise our kids to do the same. And I'm happy to hear I'm not alone!
jodycamille picture
This is exactly how I feel! It's so wonderful to read those words from someone else so I don't feel like I'm crazy having to explain myself to my in-laws, relatives, friends, etc. I often think how excited I am for my one year old to grow up "green" and how it will just be natural for her and there will be no convincing at all. Thank you for sharing these thoughts!!!!
sharisse.dy picture
Reading this blog made my day. I'm finding it challenging to go green, but I know why I should and want to. I never used to care so much either, but it's all I can think about now once I realized that the benefits far outweigh the consequences, even when the consequences are not fully known just yet. Thanks for the story... You are not alone in your corner! :)