Green Mom Guilt and Parenting Priorities

Do you suffer from green mom guilt? When I first found out I was pregnant, I wanted to be a natural green mom.  I envisioned organic baby food and cloth diapers. My child would only play with natural toys and wear sustainable baby clothes.  Then reality set in.  I quickly learned that being a green mom wasn’t easy. And it involved a lot of guilt.

From that first moment when you know for certain you are pregnant, you begin planning the details of how you will raise your child. Will you stay home with your new baby or put them in daycare and go back to work? Will you breast feed or bottle feed? Do you believe in spanking or co sleeping? So many questions and which answer is ‘right’?

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Green Mom Guilt

Being a Green Mom Involves a Lot of Guilt

There are a huge number of parenting issues to worry about even before the baby arrives. Its no wonder we are overwhelmed with mom guilt over every action we take as a parent. But, when you decide you want to raise your child in as natural an environment as possible, the green mom guilt can become overwhelming.

I never used to live a particularly green or healthy life. After college, my now husband and I were fairly broke. Ramen noodles and Manwhich were high on our list of things to make for dinner.

Then, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I started reading everything I could find about pregnancy. Since I was working in the science field, a lot of what I read was scientific journals.

I came across an article about the effects of artificial growth hormones in dairy on unborn babies. I went out that day and bought a gallon of organic milk. It was my first step towards trying to be a green and healthy mom. It was also the first step towards an unimaginable amount of guilt.

It’s a good thing there was no Facebook and green mom blogs back then for me.  I’m not sure I could have dealt with that!

Green Mom Gult

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In a Perfect World

In an ideal world, we would all feed our babies homemade baby food and dress them in organic cotton baby clothes. They would sleep on sheets made of fair trade, organic cotton.  Their toys would include only natural bamboo blocks and homemade play-dough.

In the real world, we couldn’t afford organic baby food and who the hell has the time to make homemade play-dough when you are so exhausted you can barely keep your eyes open? You swore you would never feed your child fast food but does that mean you can’t let them go to their friend’s birthday party at The Golden Arches?

Multiply mom guilt by 1000 and you get GREEN mom guilt.

Natural Parenting and Green Mom Guilt

Green Mom Blogs Create Stress!

I was reading a green mom blog a few years ago and one very crunchy mom was horrified because someone had fed her daughter a non organic cheese stick. She wanted to know what the repercussions were going to be. At that point, I already had teenagers and almost fell out of my chair laughing.

Just wait til your kid comes home with a blue sports drink and a bag of artificially colored candy from the school football game! There’s that mom guilt again. Clearly, I didn’t spend enough time telling them how dangerous Skittles are. Or, you know, maybe they just don’t care.

children's health

Set Parenting Priorities

Everyone, even us green moms, has to decide where their priorities lie. Unless I win the lottery, I can’t feed my 18 year old 6 foot 4 inch son a totally organic diet. Do I tell him he can’t go to his friend’s house because they’re ordering fast food? Where does one find organic jeans for a kid that looks like a professional basketball player? I’m busy. I’m tired. And my kids don’t understand why their friends get to eat Pop-tarts and they don’t.

No matter how much I tell myself that I am doing the best I can, the green mom guilt can be overwhelming. If only I had more energy to make homemade bread every week. If only we had a Whole Foods budget instead of  a Kroger budget. My kids don’t understand why I won’t buy them neon blue cereal.

But, you can’t do it all.  Make one baby step at a time.  Set a few green New Year’s resolutions and make small changes.  And DON’T feel guilty about the rest. Check out my tips on how to save money so you can go green.  Every baby step helps but it isn’t an all or nothing parenting style.

organic baby food

Do the Best You Can

I have come to realize lately that there is no right and perfect way to raise our kids. We can only do our best and then keep our fingers crossed that it’s enough. Will eating a non organic cheese stick lead to lasting health issues in my kid? Will sleeping on non organic cotton sheets scar them for life?

I’m pretty sure they’ll survive.

I’d like to say that I don’t feel that green mom guilt any more but it would be a lie. I still cringe when I put stuff in my grocery cart that isn’t organic or natural. While I shop, I stare at the price of organic sheets versus non organic and wonder if it’s worth the price to buy organic.

I don’t think the green mom guilt will go away until the kids move out and I’m no longer in charge of raising them.

Then I get a few years off before the green GRANDMA guilt kicks in.

What are YOUR green mom guilt triggers?

(Note: Post updated and content added from previous publish date)

9 thoughts on “Green Mom Guilt and Parenting Priorities”

  1. I too have had to ask myself the same questions when I began my Vegetarian lifestyle. Sometimes just facing reality and knowing I couldn’t control everything helped ease the guilt. Great advice by the way and enjoyed reading your opinion about this.

    • I struggle with the meat/vegetarian issue sometimes but right now we are buying meat only from local farms or sustainably raised. Every little choice we make has a big impact, I think.

  2. We all do the best we can, Diane. I love Cheetos too andmake smart choices most of the time. My S-I-L is 100% organic and never lets her young children have anything that is not organic. My 5 & 8 yo organic niece and nephew are shoving (and I mean cramming) brownies & candy into their mouths when their mom turns her back at a holiday party. lol They are homeschooled and only have supervised play dates, so they never have a chance to eat anything “bad.” They do not eat restaurant (or Nonna’s) food either. It kills my MIL. My kids (older) prefer to drink water, eat fruits and veggies, and hate fast food. Believe me, I did not push it. There’s pop/beer/wine in the fridge for guests and they’re welcome to it, but not interested.
    Nope. I only feel guilty when I blatantly give them junk because I’m too lazy & tired to cook dinner.
    I bet you’re a GREAT MOM and will be a great grandma too!

    • Thankyou so much for the kind words and support! I agree that if you shelter kids too much they go wild the minute you turn your back. Better to teach them moderation whenever possible!

  3. I think it is really about everything in moderation. I also can’t control everything. So we try to eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits and veggies – but I also let the kids enjoy a bunch of Halloween candy. The only thing I am crazy about is what we put on our skin. There are so many great bath and body products, no reason to use ones that have chemicals in them.


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