(Wo)Man in the Mirror

I’m on a mission to simplify.  Having a baby definitely complicated life, but babies just do that.  It's life.  But the rest of life around the baby can be simpler than it is.  While we can’t control the world outside our homes, we have control of what’s in our homes, and if that space is a mess, then life feels a mess.  We live in a materialistic society (and Los Angeles is a particularly materialistic city), and I confess that my household has too much material stuff (if we had a bigger house, I may not say the same thing about my current volume, so it’s a good thing at this point we have a small space.)

Being a mom now has caused me to re-evaluate the way I live my life, and as cliché as it sounds, priorities have changed.  I want to set a good example for my son, and set him on a path of responsible living.  And while it will be hard for my husband and I to change our habits, if we start now, it will be the norm Baby J grows up with, and will be easier for him when he’s on his own.

I saw a video, where a college-aged girl was being interviewed because she was living a waste-free life, and has only produced a mason jar full of garbage in the last 2 years.  It has stuck with me for a couple reasons: 1) its hard to wrap my brain around how that is actually possible, especially if you have a baby in diapers (which she obviously did not), and 2) I really like the idea of cutting down on waste.  I feel like we are emptying our kitchen garbage can every day, and it’s the big, 20-gallon can.  And this is still after I separate all the cardboard and paper I can and take to our recycling bin.  Doesn’t it say something that one of the first instructions our 15-month old has learned to follow is “Throw the trash away?”

The average American makes more than a ton of trash a year.  And the reality is, that’s because we are all much busier than we used to be,  packaged products are convenient.  But with the convenience of packaged products comes the waste once we’re done.  If you Google “Living Trash Free” there is a growing community embracing this life-style. However, I feel like a lot of it is stay-at-home moms, who, by definition, have more time at home to implement these types of changes.  I fully believe that being a SAH mom is a full time job, but as a working-outside-the-home mom, I just know that I don’t have time to make our own toothpaste and deodorants. I barely have time to make dinner when I get home.  I need to find a degree at which we can implement these changes into our very busy life.

There are baby-steps we can take.  Like any new habit, getting started is the hard part.  There are many ways to start taking steps, but it's going to have to be a couple things at a time.  We already take our reusable bags to the grocery store, but then we fill them with the plastic produce bags and other packaged products.  Like I mentioned above, the reason there are so many packaged products are because they are convenient to us.  Shopping in bulk would be as easy as not if the stores that sold in bulk were as conveniently located as the ones that aren't.  Many of the blogs I've read about implementing this lifestyle say it ultimately simplifies things because you have to plan efficiently.  That's the goal.  But for now, I'm going to start with stocking up on some of these re-usable bulk bags (it always seemed so contradictory to me to do the good of buying in bulk, but then having to put it all in a disposable plastic bag.)  And I'm going to set up a compost bin for our produce waste.  Its a start.

And like the late Michael Jackson reminds us: If you want to make the world a better place,
take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

Some additional waste-free resources: