Mommy Greenest

I’d emit one-ton of carbon dioxide for an hours rest.

I wanted to be a green mom. I really do care about the environment; I compost and garden, turn off lights and use CFLs. I even unplug appliances when not in use. But being a new mom to a sleepless babe quickly changed many of my actions.

It started when I was eight months pregnant and my old car broke down. And the thought that my car might stall in the winter with an infant inside was too much. A week before O’s birth I purchased a used Subaru outback. Much more car than I need but heated seats and 4 wheel drive suddenly felt like needed safety features. And my carbon footprint grew…

I was sure I would use cloth diapers until the second day home from the hospital when I had already used 2 dozen cloth diapers and hadn’t done laundry yet. I poop once day, twice if I am lucky, yet no one told me my daughter might poop 10 times a day! The morning of day three I sent my husband to Target to buy disposable diapers with pictures of commercialized characters all over them. And my carbon footprint grew…

Just a few days later on yet another trip to Target to buy more things I never realized I needed, O fell asleep during the short car ride. Desperate for some sleep of my own, I suggested that the two of us nap in the car while dad did the shopping. When I cut the engine O let out a grunt and then a cry. I quickly turned the car back on, but she continued to stir. I put the car in drive and made a slow circle around the lot and she lulled back to sleep. I pulled into a spot and the fussing and crying resumed. I drove in slow circles for half an hour so I could have quiet and she would take a nap. A month before I wouldn’t have left my car running for anything longer than a red light and now I was aimlessly driving nowhere for 30 minutes of peace. And my carbon footprint grew…

And while I thought that maybe this growth was only temporary, I have run my furnace through the night, turned on my air conditioner more frequently and burned through a lot of D batteries all to keep my babe comfortable. I have purchased toys with flashing lights, mechanical songs and bright plastic pieces all made in China. And my daughter likes them better than the hand-whittled wood rattle made by local artists. I have tried hemp salve and organic jojoba oil for O’s dry skin but the petroleum by-products just work better. I am a little cheap and a little lazy but mostly I just want a happy, safe child. And my carbon footprint grows…

I am not the mother I planned to be.

– ACK

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