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Monday, August 29, 2011

Simple, Green and Frugal Parenting

By: Notes From The Frugal Trenches

In one more sleep I become a mummy, it has been a long and hard journey and one I'm delighted is finally happening! I've been thinking a lot about how to encorporate a simple, green and frugal life into parenting and the truth is I know no one can accomplish it all, so I'll need to focus on the most important things. So far I've been focusing on a couple of key points/ideas so that I don't feel overwhelmed.

Simple
- Establishing a rhythmn that meets everyone's needs and is flexible, yet predictable
- Not over-committing and prioritizing time to adjust

Green
- No disposable products
- Get a community garden membership
- No plastic
- Shopping for locally sourced products and/or fairtrade

Frugal
- Focusing on what is really needed vs. what people tell you are needs (I'm shocked at what people believe you need in order to parent)
- Buying second hand where possible
- Establishing a "norm" which isn't about commercialism or materialism

But here is where I turn it over to you. I'd love to know how you encorporate a simple, green and frugal life into your parenting and family life? I feel like I have a lot to learn and am most probably only scratching the surface!

So dear co-op readers: what advice do you have for living purposefully while parenting? How do you explain raising your children so differently than most people they will come into contact with?

14 comments:

Mama Mogantosh said...

First of all , good luck for tomorrow! What an enormous, magical turn your life is about to take. My third was born two weeks ago so I'm deep in newborn-land too. We try and live a simple and ecologically conscious life at our place too. I agree absolutely on your thoughts about buying 'green' as well as trying to avoid plastic and disposables. But the most meaningful aspects of a frugal and sustainable home-life for me, are the parts which I can make myself. Time and life stress mean the amount goes up and down, but over the years it includes clothes, washing and cleaning products, soap, bread, etc. Keeping domestic life as handmade and simple as possible is not always easy, but it is deeply fulfilling. All the best!

sl.tudor said...

Firstly congratulations to you..and good luck...my only bits of advice are

1, GO WITH THE FLOW OF YOUR LIFE..
2, ENJOY IT..
3, KEEP TRUE TO WHAT YOU WANT AND NOT BE PUSHED INTO DOING THINGS JUST BECAUSE ITS THE TREND OR OTHER MUMS ARE DOING IT.
4, PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE..

Wishing you all the love in the world..
sara(mum of 6)

Grumbleweed Studios said...

Good Luck for tomorrow. Children are such a beautiful treasures.

Don't worry about baby books you have such a wonderful inbuilt intuition.
You can get some wonderful hand knitted baby items in charity shops usually brand new and dirt cheap.
I buy a lot of my baby clothes second hand and save money to buy a few really good quality winter woolies.
My son adores the tupperware cupboard and it will keep him amused for hours. I put a few toys in and a variety of interesting kitchen utensils and all his food containers.
Corn flour is a great green alternative to baby powder and helps nappy rash and lanolin can be used instead of bum cream.
You will more than likely get disposable items such as wipes from well meaning people. Disposable wipes and liners can be washed several times and you can make your own wipe solution. Once the wipes have been washed a few times then can be stretched out and used to tie plants to stakes.

It has took along time to be able to parent how I would of liked to and as you can see experimenting ever since. Sometimes things happen and you can't do what you have planned so you just take ownership when you can and do as much as you can do at a time. Hope I have been helpful.
Emma

Kirsty @ Bowerbird Blue said...

What an exquisitely wonderful stage of your life you are entering, good luck!

Christina said...

For me, establishing these things has been an ongoing journey in my 15+ years of parenting. One of the most important techniques you can apply is to prepare kind and loving responses to people who believe they have the right to challenge what they perceive as your craziness. (All the things that are not mainstream: reusable diapering goods, secondhand clothes, ad infinitum.) This covers ground from strangers in shops and on the street all the way up to the new grandparents and other intimate friends and family.

The other thing is to recognize that while you can establish a simple-green-frugal home for your new child, you cannot keep in your child's life simple-green-frugal sterile :-) Our biggest challenge in parenting has been a grandparent who is constitutionally driven to give gifts constantly. This is a moral quandary - what does this do to our child's environment? - and also a practical one of an insane amount of clothes, toys, etc. So finding the balance between being who you are, and letting others be who they be, is a definite tightrope that takes parental development to navigate...

The Professor's Wife said...

Frugal Trenches! So happy for you - I guessed that adoption was your "not-so-impossible challenge" and am rejoicing with you! God bless you on your new journey. I'm not a parent, but one piece of advice is you can get some very nice toys second hand, and make a lot of things that your child will love.

amy said...

Congrats to you! My daughter just turned two and it has been quite an experience for us. Being a green and frugal parent comes with many challenges and even more rewards. The best advice I can give is trust your instincts and don't second guess yourself. As I'm sure you've already experienced people in your life will be full, of mostly well intentioned I'm sure, advice. Some of it good, and some of it not. Don't let people make you feel guilty. Alot of people accuse me of depriving my daughter because she doesn't have all the best toys, or expensive clothes. What she does have, at her young age, is a great desire to learn. So I am teaching her. That's my next peice of advice. As your baby grows, don't underestimate their abilities. They grow and learn so fast and in the process teach you so much. My two year old spends her days, instead of being in front of the TV, helping me in the kitchen (she likes to knead bread and clean the floors) and in the garden (picking fresh produce is the highlight of her day. As many of the other commentors have said, just go with it. They pick up so much from you, espically early in life. If you have a happy and healthy life, your baby will too. Best wishes to you!

Hopewell said...

I used to believe certain things were "necessary" for babies, especially, until I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in southern Africa. Even 20 years later I'm still stunned by the JUNK American parents think they must cram into their homes and cars to successfully raise a child!!!

I am equally horrified by what most parents feed their kids. We live rural, so lots of poorly educated, low-paid people, but it holds true at all levels anymore. Frozen dinners full of sodium and chemicals, hotdogs, box mac and cheese. Yuck! My kids friends are amazed at what we eat. One had no idea you could make a pizza at home!

Your post hits it on the nail for what is truly needed!

Anonymous said...

Parenting "in the face" of all that pressure from other parents (and SCHOOL!) is certainly not easy! Its hard work to have to constantly explain to friends, family and strangers (including TEACHERS, of all things!) that my child DOES NOT NEED "screen time"! (for some reason, they see it as a punishment, so of course the child is put under a lot of pressure to conform....which makes it SEEM like a punishment).

Just stay strong to what you believe is right for you and your child....and along the way you will work out when and where a "compromise" may be the most sustainable option for your family! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not a parent and have no advice. I just want to tell you that I am so happy for you. You will be terrific.

xo,
brenda from arkansas

Angela said...

I was very lucky to have a sensible set of midwives and pediatricians when our daughter was born in Alaska. We lived in the bush (no roads to anywhere) and I asked our ped a couple weeks before my due date what I absolutely HAD to have before we went home from Anchorage. She said, "Well, you're breastfeeding, so you need diapers and receiving blankets. Anything else is extra." Clever, clever woman.

You'll be great -- have a wonderful first few weeks!

Anonymous said...

i am a regular follower of your personal blog but have never commented...i just wanted to say congratulations! all of the advice that everyone has left here is good advice - but you will know what is best for your children. and you will set a wonderful example for them. and you will make a wonderful mother!

all of my best wishes to you and your "new" ones!

stassja

Lindsey said...

Congratulations. Welcome to the ride that never ends.
(it's a really fun one, though!)
If people ask what you need, tell them and be gracious when they give it to you.
Second hand clothes and G-diapers.
Only 2 pairs of shoes when they start walking - sandals and sneakers. Everything else is window dressing.
Make your own baby food - easy, delicious and cheap.
Priorities come out in your actions so if living frugally and green is what you value, it'll naturally happen.
Good Luck!!

apronstringz said...

i smiled when i read your pre-determined list. i'm late reading this, so i suppose you have had some days to discover parenting. my one piece of advice? keeping your ethics at heart is important, essential, but mothering is unbelievably, previously unimaginably hard. so do cut yourself quite a lot of slack as you navigate this new road.
i hesitate to share a link to my blog, since i don't comment over here much, and y'all probably don't recognize my name, but this old post of mine seems too relevant not to share. pop over when you need a bit of a boost ;)
http://apronstringz.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/a-love-letter-to-new-mamas/