Like many (maybe all?) moms, I often feel guilty about my parenting choices. Do I let my kids have too much screen time? Should I force them to eat more vegetables? Do I yell too much? I am ruining the environment just by raising a family?
That last question is one I have asked myself from the moment I had my first child. Living in an apartment at the time with a communal laundry room, cloth diapering was not practical option, so I used disposables. But, not just any disposables, mind you; I had to have the most natural, sustainably made diapers your could buy (read: the most expensive).
Using the fancy “eco” diapers made me feel a bit better. Still, I was worried about all the garbage I was adding to the world. I decided to try elimination communication, or the concept of letting babies/toddlers go diaper free as much as possible. I guess I did manage to reduce my diaper use, and my oldest did potty train on the earlier side, but I am not sure all the time spent cleaning up messes was worth it in the long run. When my second child came along, I was often too distracted by other matters to really focus on teaching him to use the toilet. He was in diapers much longer than my oldest.
Over the years my guilt over my family’s impact on the environment, has evolved to include, worrying about how much packaging we’re throwing away, wondering if we are being energy-efficient enough, and thinking about how to be less car dependent.
I also constantly consider choices that are best for my family and compare them with their impact on the environment. Like my choice to use disposable diapers, often my desire to help the Earth and my family don’t always align.
A more recent example, is driving. Where my family currently lives, we need a car to get to most places safely. You may ask why someone like me, who cares about the environment would live in such a place, but again, sometimes needs don’t always align. Right now, this is the best choice for my family.