As a mom, I carry around a lot of guilt. Guilt that I'm not doing enough, guilt that I'm doing too much, guilt that I could have handled certain situations differently -- guilt, guilt, guilt. And I know as a mom in the year 2017 I'm supposed to shed that guilt because it truly is all about "doing the best we can," but what can I say? I was built for guilt. So as Earth Day approaches this year, I'm feeling particularly remorseful. Planet, I feel like I'm failing you, but I promise I'm trying.
Here's the deal: I haven't exactly been the best citizen in terms of reducing my family's carbon footprint. For starters, I have two kids at two different schools with separate sets of after-school activities. If someone charted an overview of the pinball-like way in which my husband and I dart around Los Angeles on a daily basis, well, it would really be something. If carpools or public transportation were a logical option, I would take them. Currently, they're not.
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Then there's the topic of waste. I remember a frustrated friend posting this to Facebook: "If you enjoy wasting food, then parenting is for you." The sentiment made me chuckle in a "this is so sad" kind of way. It's completely true. The amount of food my children reject is shameful. Not only are there starving people all around the world who could use that food, but the production that goes into it has its own effects on the planet.
Don't get me wrong, I do my due diligence in trying to get my boys to eat the meals they are lucky enough to have in front of them, but after a particularly long day, I've lost my fight.
And don't even get me started on the amount of clothing these little people burn through -- and the amount of laundry they require. Their closet and dresser are way more robust than my own, and somehow they manage to either outgrow or destroy every pair of pants that have been purchased. Hand-me-downs are getting fewer and further between because it appears my oldest son tackles recess and PE with the same gusto as the Incredible Hulk.
Those reusable shopping bags? My brain is in so many different places I feel like I have a 50 percent success rate in remembering to bring them on my next grocery trip. You frown, but that rate has grown in the last six months. Progress!
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Of course there are plenty of unintentional ways I'm actually doing my part for the planet as a busy mom. Five-minute showers? Try no showers! What I used to consider a daily requirement has become a treat that hopefully happens four times a week. That means not only less water wasted, but less shampoo ... and fewer product bottles in the trash. And in the interest of saving time before bed, the kids bathe together.
I've also cut way back on my own personal shopping. New clothes seem pointless considering everything I own mysteriously gets stamped with a jam hand print or chocolate milk. There may be growing landfills out there, but I can attest to the fact that they are not growing with my clothes. I've been wearing these jeans since 2010.
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And believe me when I say at the end of the day, after the kids have gone to bed and I've successfully reached peak Real Housewives–viewing bliss, I always remember to throw my empty wine bottle into the recycling bin. Baby steps.
Planet, I know I can do better. I believe climate change is real. And I want to do my part. I know I can't expect you to cut me much slack. You have needs, too. Just know I'm trying. I'm really trying.