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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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.
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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!
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.
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.
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.
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)
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.