Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's not the size, it's what you do with it that counts

I miss the days of carefree living, when I could stop what I was doing at the drop of the hat and...

Have a 5-minute uninterrupted conversation. (OK, a 1-minute uninterrupted conversation.)

Leave the house on a whim, with nothing but a small purse.

Go for a long walk without someone whining about having to use the potty.

Spontaneously road trip some place.

Make a 3-course Chinese dinner for some friends.

(Where did you think I was going with this anyway?)

I confess I had to chuckle when Tina at Crstn85 proposed a topic of "Does size matter?" for the September APLS carnival. Does it matter, she wondered, if you're a singleton or a party of five when it comes to being green?

Oh yes, yes, it does.

Before I was a mom, I didn't give much thought to environmental concerns. Sure, we were card-carrying members of the Sierra Club, loved to hike, recycled our cans, had our 40-mpg little car. But I didn't think about bigger picture items. Like the amount of plastic we chucked each week, or what it contained. Or the amount of chemicals coating our food. Or what really the world would be like a generation from now if we didn't change our ways.

Before I was a mom, my trash can and recycle bin were a lot emptier. I didn't have to juggle three versions of milk, or sippy cups, or random Happy Meal toys saved lovingly by my mom, or craft projects from day care (now multiplied by two).

Before I was a mom, shopping at the farmers market, cooking a healthy dinner and working in my garden were a heck of a lot easier.

Before I was a mom, I didn't realize how much fun making a batch of muffins, or playing in the puddles in your garden, or taking a walk at a snail's pace could be.

And I say all of these things, as a mom, full well knowing that whatever I do, I'm in the middle of a spectrum. I'm in the middle of the fast-food-for-dinner crowd and the stay-at-home, handmade-everything moms. For every mom who amazes me with her ability to make well-rounded dinners from food in their backyard, presented on recycled placements recreated from repurposed materials, there's the mom who frankly, thinks I'm nuts to go as far as I have.

And I know that circumstances in my life will change. Someday, we could have more financial resources again. Someday, my kids will be able to be left alone for five minutes without fear of them using the magazine rack as a stepping stool to the stove. Someday, we'll be able to work in the yard without worrying that the kids will run in the street or fling all of my tomatoes like softballs. And someday, this too will have passed.

For now, though, I'll enjoy my seemingly weird Saturday traditions of chasing my babies at the farmers market, cooking with my kids, playing in the mud patch that was a garden and thinking someday I just might get that laundry done, even if it means putting them in the dryer on high.


Tina Cardone said...

I love the post about the tomato flinging. Having kids to do things with does really remind you to do things with more awareness, and that it doesn't take a lot of 'stuff' to be entertained, just a couple tomatoes or a nice big puddle.

The Mom said...

So very true, for me it was becoming a mom that made me really become interested in our earth. Someday we'll have more time, but its fun to be distracted by the kids now.

Steph @ Greening Families said...

Being responsible for a child sure does elevate the importance of having healthy food and surroundings, doesn't it? I had no idea how much damage things I had been doing for years could do to my body and to the environment until I started learning more when we were trying to conceive.

Corie said...

I love this post! My husband and I were just talking today about my sister and her husband who are kid-less and seem to have an endless supply of cash as a result. But they don't have the blessings of children, and so I honestly believe that we are better off. So enjoy those kiddos and all that comes with them. Because soon enough they'll be grown and gone, and you'll wish they were around the house to toss those tomatoes once more.

Robbie said...

Corie, sometimes we have to remember they ARE blessings... :)

I do feel like people who choose not have kids - or take part in the lives of children, be it nieces or nephews, a neighbor kid in need, or even volunteering - are missing out. You tend to enjoy things so much more when you're not worried about being a grown-up!