Green living is something I have been learning more about over the years. When I was a kid, I remember the blue box for recycling being a new thing, and I had my own Kids for Saving Earth club. We did a rainforest walkathon to save however many acres of rainforest (I wonder if those acres are still there??). As I grew up into a young adult, I was leaning more to the greener side of the spectrum of green, but I didn’t actively search out information. Things can sure change in a heartbeat, though! My sister (5 years older than me) was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 31, and we had no history of it in our family. She is my only sibling and my best friend, so it was a huge shock. When she started learning about lifestyle changes to prevent the cancer from coming back, I jumped on board with her. It was overwhelming how much I didn’t know about what was in my food, my skincare products, my cleaning products, my clothes, my bedding, and so on. My sister did a huge purge of her stuff and started seeking out natural and organic products, and slowly I did the same. I started reading labels and keeping those lists of ingredients to avoid in my wallet. It was a steep learning curve, and still is.
When I became pregnant, I worried a lot about what I was doing for the development of my baby. My mother-in-law also had breast cancer in the past, so the fact that my child would have a history of it from both sides of the family was always in the back of my mind. It scared me. But it also inspired me. Because it was an opportunity to have a clean slate. I can’t control all of the things I ingested and was exposed to since I was born – so there are chemicals and toxins in me that will stay there. But with a brand new baby – I would be the one to control what she ingested and what she was exposed to (to a certain point, of course). So when I started thinking about baby cribs and furniture and bedding I started doing research on what was safe. Adria Vasil’s Ecoholic book was a great resource and starting point. And then I started looking at baby soaps and lotions and diaper creams. And on it went. It was a whole new world of learning for me, and it was definitely overwhelming a lot of the time. But it was also empowering to know that I could become informed, and make decisions that made me feel good about what I would be giving my baby.
I wasn’t the greenest mother-to-be or mother. There were things that I couldn’t give up, or couldn’t afford, or just didn’t know about until later. But it’s a lifelong learning process, isn’t it? Being a mommy is a learning process, and learning to live a green lifestyle is too. My child doesn’t eat organic at every meal, but I do my best to give her organic whenever possible. She was at someone’s house once and was offered some Bits and Bites. When I looked at the ingredients, I was shocked to find MSG in there. She had already ingested it! Argh! I didn’t stop it in time!
Living greener can be daunting, because the more I learn about things, the more I learn that things are complicated. But it isn’t impossible. And as cliche as it may be, every little bit does help. Every time I get organic strawberries is one less exposure my daughter has to pesticides. Every time I get cereal with a non-GMO label is one less exposure to GMOs. We have so many opportunities, so many moments of the day where we can choose to be just a little bit greener. And it’s pretty amazing what’s going on with blogging and social media to help inform people and raise awareness about what choices to make. So it’s not easy being green… but it can be. We just have to try.