Dear Mother Nature,
There once was a time where I tried really hard to reduce my carbon footprint and help you out. Growing up in the 90’s meant we were the first generation really exposed to this idea of recycling. Recycle, reduce, reuse and close the loop, right? I knew that my actions wouldn’t completely reverse global warming, but if many people make incremental changes in their daily life it would be enough to make a difference and I made it a point to change my habits to do my part.
Planning my errands so that I could make multiple stops in one trip (this one really makes me reminisce about easy errand trips pre car seats) was simple. I even was religious about using reusable grocery bags. My showers were short, mostly because I was able to take them daily and they weren’t an excuse to hide from people. And paper towels? Only some kind of monster would use those!
Like I said, I had no illusions I was single handedly saving entire polar bear clans, but I felt good about the contributions I was making. Sure each of these things took a little bit of extra time and effort, but it was important to me. I mean, ice caps are melting!!
Then, I had kids. Please, here me out, Mother Nature. I don’t want to let you go forever, but I need a break. Just while I figure some things out. It’s not you. It’s me. Let me explain.
One day these things will actually make it to the car. I’d say into the store too, but ya gotta start somewhere.
Trying to save you didn’t stop being important to me, but convenience is now king. And queen. Those extra 30 seconds it used to take to run in and grab the grocery bags I left on the counter on the way to the grocery store is now more than I can spare when it’s already taken 30 minutes to load everyone in the car.
So here, dear Mother Nature, is a list of all the things I’m going to suspend for sanity’s sake.
- No more farmer’s market and eating only organic, local food. Only shopping on Saturday morning requires a level of organization I can no longer achieve. Not to mention that kids are a giant money suck and feeding two extra humans has really stretched the grocery budget. I might try and swing it if my kids didn’t end up feeding most of their food to the dog. Maybe when the local farmer’s market starts offering free cookies and carts with tiny race cars attached to them we can reconsider. I’ll still try to sneak in a few organic, local things when I can, but when you go through blueberries faster than diapers (and that’s saying a lot), I can only do so much.
- Saving energy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve slept with the light on so as not to disturb a sleeping babe, or left it on out of sheer laziness because I finally got two seconds to sit down. Plus, do you know how hard it is to keep a light off with a toddler and a step stool in your house? Switches are toddler crack. At least they’re CFLs?
- Waiting to run appliances. Running the dishwasher only when it’s to capacity? Not up in here. That sucker is running if it’s even close to full because chances are the next time I get around to dishes, there will be a whole other load’s worth piled up in the sink. Do you know how many tiny plastic things kids come with? The top rack of the dishwasher is now prime real estate for our extensive collection of rainbow dinnerware. At least it’s BPA free…I think? The racks are never full at the same time, but if you think I’m going to risk not having a clean sippy cup at the ready, you’re dead wrong. I really think you’d agree one whiff of a day old milk cup is reason enough to run the dishwasher ASAP. Full loads definitely aren’t happening with laundry either. Children are like tiny bodily fluid time bombs. You never know which end will explode, but chances are it will be at 2AM when you’re more concerned about how quickly you can get back in bed rather than if you set the washer on the water save mode.
Can you even call yourself a parent if you don’t own a rainbow set of IKEA bowls?
- All the disposable things. There are so, so many. I know, it looks bad, especially since most of them are used so often they’re shipped right to our doorstep. Paper plates, cups, take out containers, fruit snack and granola bar wrappers and Ziplock bags galore. California is in a drought, so it’s a few less things to wash, right? My sanity lies in not having to stand at the sink at the end of the day, and for that Mother Nature, I apologize, because it means more trash. While we’re talking about disposable things, sorry about all diapers. Oh, the diapers. We have two in diapers. Ain’t nobody got time to even think about cloth diapering. Especially our, shall we say, metabolically efficient duo. Surely you can look past that one, Earth? Paper towels? Oh, you noticed that one too, huh? We easily go through a roll every few days. My condolences to the trees, but they’re just so damn useful. But we color on both sides of the paper. Six of one, half dozen of the other, yes? I’m not even going to mention all the paper Starbucks cups. I’d like to think we both understand the necessity of that.
I’m sure there’s a thousand other ways I’ve let you down that I’m subconsciously blocking out. Raising kids is a messy business and anything that can help you cut a corner, save some time and/or sanity must be utilized. I hope that you can see that I want to do these things, but it’s just something I had temporarily give up. Convenience wins every time, but it comes at a cost to you, dear environment and while it does leave me with a certain amount of guilt, I’d like to think that I have enough good karmic reserves built up to cancel out some my destruction. I mean, I still cut up the six pack rings and recycle the wine bottles. I’m not a complete monster.
One day, life will be a little slower paced and all of those things I used to do won’t feel so unattainable or burdensome. It will be a great teaching moment when my kids are old enough and hopefully something I can pass on. But, while they’re still too little to notice I’m giving myself permission to stop feeling guilty for not trying to single handedly save the environment.
Please don’t give up on me Mother Nature. We will be together again one day.