I am all for a greener planet. I think its great that words such as sustainability and carbon footprint have become part of everyday vernacular but I sometimes wish it would just stop.
I am not sure who drives the eco-bus but occasionally it feels like it is being jammed down one’s throat. I actually don’t think there is room in my brain on top of mother guilt to also feel guilty about how I can help save the planet.
The whole green parenting thing didn’t really kick into gear until I started having children and I very occasionally wonder whether it has the ability to oppress women when they are already feeling vulnerable.
Earlier this year American author Erica Jong wrote an article in the Wall St Journal suggesting green parenting was imprisoning Mothers. I respect her point of view but I also understand there are many parents who enjoy eco-parenting and like making a difference. Conversely it can be tiresome when programs such as The 7pm Project highlight the amount of nappies in Australian landfill. Maybe our aging population can give up incontinence pads whilst we stop using tissues and napkins too. Parents cop enough flak, particularly mothers.
A friend of my Mother’s once informed me in a crowded cafe that I shouldn’t be using disposables because they can cause infections in male genitals. In between that and the time I used the dryer on a sunny day to finish off some damp towels I’m pretty sure I’m going to hell.
When you have a child that doesn’t like sleep and bites people the last thing you need is to worry about their genitals falling off because you’re using disposables. I was already doing the whole apprentice chef thing, boiling, peeling, mashing HUGE amounts of food when it was entirely possible a jar of store bought stuff had twice the nutrients by the time I’d finished boiling the crap out of everything.
Store bought baby food has come a long way however people don’t admit to using it too often, “Oh this”? It’s quinoa mixed with gruyere and pasture-fed beef”. I did all that stuff but now all my kid wants is chicken nuggets so I sometimes don’t see the point.
I’ve been to a birthday party where the jelly cups had a hand written disclaimer stating that no artificial colourings were used. Is that necessary? Who’s judging? The sugar high is half the fun. And please don’t get me started on the diminishing state of the lolly bag. We know that parents eat half the lollies so less of the novelty items and more musk sticks and red snakes please*.
We also have a vegetable garden but then I get caught up in whether snail bait is “ethical” and the weeds start returning. I’d also love to contemplate attachment parenting but the amount my second child is feeding I’m looking for any opportunity to have her away from my body.
In all seriousness despite the media’s often patronising portrayal of mothers, (impressively highlighted on The Gruen Transfer’s “as a busy mother” segment), I know there are some great benefits derived from both attachment and eco-parenting. I for one am insanely jealous of parents who have children that sleep happily alongside them instead of inviting fifteen hard, plastic dinosaurs to tag along and who knows one day I may be talking about genital infections in a crowded cafe too.
* I just received five fillings at my local dentist so feel free to ignore this comment.