March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage Green
Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage Green!
This is the third monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month we’re writing about being green — both how green we were when we were young and how green our kids are today. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
The great thing about “going green” is that so much of it is easy on the wallet. When I tried to think about ways my family was green growing up, all I kept coming up with were the ways my parents were cheap. Here are a few examples of how my mom and dad scrimped and saved while being environmentally friendly (if not consciously so), and how my own family is green today:
1. Buying Second Hand or Accepting Hand-me-downs: My mother and maternal grandmother were the queens of the garage sale. They could sniff out a sale within a 5 mile radius, and believe you me they would turn that car around to get their bargain hunting on. I got some of the coolest – and most hideous – things from garage sales. The best? A few rockin’ record albums (Slippery When Wet, Thriller, and the like). The worst? An itsy bitsy teeny weeny puke yellow bikini that my grandma gifted me when I was about 10 years old. It was an abomination; thankfully my mom didn’t make me wear it to “be nice.” My parents were also not ashamed to accept hand-me-downs, whether they be clothes, furniture, dishes, etc. Our financial situation required it, but it was also Earth friendly.
Today, Tom and I scour garage sales and thrift stores for both reasons: First, because it makes little sense to waste $15 on a shirt for Kieran that he will only wear a handful of times. Second, because that $1.25 shirt at the thrift store is better for our bank account. And we don’t just shop secondhand for Kieran, we do it for everything. We figure that vintage goods have more personality. Plus, we have a toddler in the house (and a clutzy mama) – why buy expensive stuff that has a good chance of being broken?
2. Cloth Diapering: Cloth diapers are the environmentally responsible choice when used appropriately (wash in full loads, line dry when possible, etc.). My parents fell into cloth diapering after I got persistent diaper rash from disposables. They kept using cloth with my sisters because it was cheap. Of course the diapers mom used on us were plain white prefolds with the stereotypical rubber pants. She might have used duck-head pins to dress them up.
Today, Tom and I use cloth for a variety of reasons, but the main two are cost and environmental. Disposable diapers can run parents anywhere from $1600 to $4,150 for only two years of diapers. Cloth will typically run you far less than $1000. We’ve kept our diaper expenses below $500 by buying secondhand at sites like DiaperSwappers. We can recoup part of that cost by either using them again on a second child or by selling them after Kieran is out of diapers. The best part? Cloth is so much cuter now than it was when I was sporting it.
3. Gardening: My grandparents gardened for leisure and to save money at the grocery store. My parents grow a variety of flowers and vegetables for the same reason.
Today, Tom and I are expanding our garden every year as we get more experience. We are also committed to gardening in a way that is healthiest for our family and the environment. There is really little better than eating the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor.
4. Creatively Repurposing Your Stuff: My mom and my grandmother (who was basically my second mother) used to drive me crazy with the way they would reuse everything. My grandma – a product of the Depression – saved bread bags, twist ties, plastic butter containers, cardboard tubes, bits of fabric, buttons, every single Christmas card she ever received, pens, matchbooks, the list is endless. She bordered on the obsessive. And oddly enough, she’d actually use that stuff again. Plastic butter containers would be surreptitiously slipped from her purse to hold leftover fish and chicken from Old Country Buffet (she fed them to her cats). Bread bags would cover rarely used kitchen appliances to ward off dust. Et cetera.
My mom did the same thing. The one thing that sticks out in my mind? Pantyhose and soap. The woman made us save soap slivers. Once there were enough slivers (did she count? weigh them? I don’t know!), she would take the foot part of pantyhose that had too many runs to wear anymore, put the soap slivers inside, and tie it up. Then we would use the foot soap in place of a bar. Ew.
Today, Tom and I are also big advocates for repurposing things that may otherwise be thrown away. Kieran has a couple of huge (formerly pretzel) containers holding his blocks and trains. I reuse glass jars for freezing and storing dried goods like beans and rice. When I freeze certain things in Ziploc bags (waffles, rolls of cookie dough), I save the bags to use again once they are empty. We save containers to make toys for Kieran – different sized plastic containers have become piggy banks and shakers, cardboard tubes are now tunnels for his Matchbox cars, and oatmeal containers are integral to art projects (put a piece of paper inside, squirt in some tempera paint, throw in a couple of rocks, put the lid on, and shake).
I draw the line at pantyhose soap slivers though.
How about your family? Were you green growing up to be Earth friendly, or to save money?
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated March 9 with all the carnival links.)
- My Momma Was a Hippie — Jessica at This is Worthwhile is continuing her Earth Momma mother’s way of honoring nature by taking her child outside every day. (@tisworthwhile)
- Mom Did Know Best, About Diapers at Least — Guavalicious at They Are So Cute When They Are Sleeping has a dirty secret about cloth diapers: They’re easy. (@guavalicious)
- The Force that Drives the Water Through the Rocks — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest remembers her first spiritual connection with nature, granted to her through her father’s care for the spirits of the earth.
- Confessions of a Cabbage Patch Kid — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma learned about landfills and recycling through gardening. (@kitchenwitch)
- Seeing My Grandmother Through Green Colored Lenses — Michelle at Seeking Mother was raised by a grandmother who wouldn’t let anyone throw out used clothing — ever — and who believed baths were water enough for two or more people at least. (@seekingmother)
- Through Green Tinted Glasses — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis realized her family didn’t so much choose green as it chose them, since not being green would have cost a lot more.
- Green or Die! — NavelgazingBajan at Navelgazing remembers berating her family for not turning off the faucets — and notes that her efforts to save the planet for another 20 years must have worked.
- Natural Parenting Carnival: Green Living — Sarah at Natural Parenting is doing more to make her children’s generation green than what she had as a child.
- Natural Parenting Carnival: Vintage Green — pchanner at A Mom’s Fresh Start used to fill her own water bottles from a spring — before doing so was cool. (@pchanner)
- Getting Dirty — Molly at Molly’s Place is inspired by her mother’s camaraderie with nature. She’s going to get back in touch with the real food cycle, as opposed to the “shrink-wrapped nutrition” you can buy. (@KPMolly)
- My Vintage Green Raincoat — Mama at Maman A Droit is wearing her brother’s bright green raincoat — 16 years later! (@MamanADroit)
- Vintage Green — Darcel at Mahogany Way hasn’t realized it yet, but she is slowly turning into her parents. ;) (@MahoganyWayMama)
- Vintage Green — mrs green at littlegreenblog reminds us that children can be green simply by being kids. (@myzerowaste)
- March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage Green — Lauren at Hobo Mama was eco-chic before it was en vogue. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Growing Up Green — Chrystal at Happy Mothering honed her green instinct from an early age. (@HappyMothering)
- greener pastures — The Grumbles at Grumbles and Grunts has a list of ways she’s transitioning from green living as a novelty to green living as a lifestyle. (@thegrumbles)
- Vintage Green: The Hot Water Tank Is Not Sexy — Zoey at Good Goog had to go green when moss started growing around her feet. (@zoeyspeak)
- We Walked Softly — Starr at Earth Mama wrote a beautiful post about how her parents instilled a love of and respect for Earth and nature in her, and how she is passing that gift on to her own children.
- Save the Mermaids! — CurlyMonkey is learning from her daughter how to keep the mermaids happy. (@curlymonkey_)
- March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage Green — Dionna at Code Name: Mama sees glimpses of her mother’s greenness frugality in her own life – but she draws the line at pantyhose soap. (@CodeNameMama)
- I Thought I Made Them Green, But Really They Made Me — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! thought she made her parents green — until she took a closer look. (@bfmom)
- A Culture of Less — Alison at BluebirdMama explained why homebirth is the green childbirth choice. I love this thought! (@childbearing)
- 5 Ways to Embarrass Your Children While Going Green — Acacia at Be Present Mama shares some of the embarrassing things her parents did to her in the name of being eco-conscious.
- Ending Is Better than Mending? — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries is teaching us how to darn socks armed only with a light bulb. (@babydust)
- There and Back Again: A Green Girl’s Tale — Lactating Girl offers a gentle reminder that certain eco-conscious practices shouldn’t be “ideals,” but realities. (@LactatingGirl)
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"March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage Green"
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