Let It Go
A No-Nonsense Guide to Less Waste in Motherhood and Beyond
“I change myself, I change the world.” – Gloria Anzuldua
Now, more than ever, it seems the cycle of consumerism and waste is rampant. Perhaps this is because we are in the midst of an environmental crisis or maybe it is due to the rise of online shopping via social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Regardless, it feels that with one click, we can buy our way to a calmer, cleaner, happier life. An area that feels particularly wrought with the understandable desire for convenience and the pressure of social expectations is parenthood. Navigating sustainability, personal responsibility, and pleasure is difficult enough in this age, but adding in the needs of caring for a family takes it to the next level. However, we believe that every small action adds up to a large impact and balance is the key to any lasting effect. Before we dive in, there’s something we wish to make abundantly clear: There is no shame in how you choose to meet your needs in motherhood. Rather, this article functions as a guide to balancing sustainability with the demands of parenting. Read on for more.
Second-Hand Shopping is Your Friend
Babies and kiddos alike grow fast. Before you know it, their shirts are inching up to show a touch of belly and their shoes no longer fit. Consistently buying new clothes for your kids can end up becoming costly and feel like a waste. Facebook Marketplace is often mentioned amongst mothers as a favorite for seeking out second-hand goods. Other women may opt to reach out to moms on Instagram with kids who are slightly older than theirs to discuss purchasing lightly used clothing. Thrift stores also have plenty of goods. For those who have preschool age or older children, second-hand shopping can become an opportunity to teach children about sustainability and the beauty of a circular economy. Rather than posing second-hand things as a shameful task imposed on them due to a lack of resources, it can be presented as an exciting and creative adventure made possible due to how many resources (aka clothes) our world has. Kidizen and ThredUp are two excellent starting points for second hand kids clothes!
Seek Joy in Emotions, Not Things
Anyone prone to buying themselves a new dress anytime they’re feeling stressed or disappointed with life? Retail therapy is a common remedy to sadness. Becoming aware of the emotions present when you’re tempted to purchase new things is an emotional practice we can cultivate on an ongoing basis. For example, are you purchasing a new item out of a desire for convenience? If so, can you reflect on what in your life feels inconvenient? Is this something that can be remedied with asking for support from your community? There is no shame in purchasing things that add convenience to your life. Balance is the key here – if you find that you need to up your purchases on convenience items like single use toiletries or water bottles, see where you can minimize your impact.
Above All, Cultivate Community
The beauty of taking a sustainable approach to parenting is that it is an opportunity to build community. Clothing swaps that you may have loved for yourself are now a joy you can share with other families. That mom you just bought a baby jumper from may end up becoming one of your closest confidants. You just never know the joys that can come from reaching out and cultivating community. If you have second-hand stores you love, tips that helped you navigate less waste during parenthood, or general words of wisdom, please share your insights in the comments!