Whether you are overly concerned about climate change whenever a new statistic arises, or you are simply more cautious of your habits to ensure that you are being more environmentally friendly for your children’s future, there can be simple ways to shift your mind-set in order to better the (and your) environment.
The first step is to accept that every small action and lack-there-of helps. It all adds up. To be frank, we all must come together to simplify our lives and become more considerate regarding our choices.
That’s the one thing that most people don’t fully understand. Not until they get into the habit of a more eco-friendly lifestyle. This can be gradual and easier than one thinks.
It’s about getting there. It’s about un-complicating our lives.
We understand that there are eco-friendly products marketed across all platforms, both virtually and in real life. Some eco-friendly products may seem like they are expensive when you introduce them into your lifestyle, however, they will likely save you time and money in the long run. Though there are many progressive companies that we personally stand by and show to our Muses, especially companies that help shift the mind-set of individuals who are stubborn or stuck, we do believe that there are some tips that you can apply right away in order to improve our environment.
These tips may be broad and at times vague, but they are a great start. These may be ideas that could have already crossed your mind. They can easily be applied to nearly every choice you make. Particularly as a parent.
Purchasing Less Product
This may be a no-brainer, but excessive purchasing is a terribly addictive behavior.
Within An Overview of Shopping Addiction by Verywell Mind, they explore how, “Shopping addiction is a behavioural addiction that involves compulsive buying as a way to feel good and avoid negative feelings, such as anxiety and depression.”
Considering that motherhood is a life-changing experience, it’s common for this addictive behaviour to slip into one’s lifestyle. And it’s not just mothers who may experience this behaviour. Approximately 10% of fathers will experience some level of PPA or PPD.
From purchasing small clothing items that will go un-used, to bigger vehicles simply because, many families are living beyond their means in order to live within society’s expectations. Or perhaps, living within their own expectations postpartum.
This means some parents are buying too much food that is left uneaten, buying larger homes because children ‘need’ room to grow, or frivolously purchasing large gifts for every-other-toddler’s-birthday-party that your child’s invited to.
It happens. We get it. We are guilty of some, if not all, of these examples.
Purchasing fewer products is such a simple concept. However, it can be implemented in small or drastic ways. It can be by bringing your own to-go mug to the coffee drive thru. It can be by simply shovelling your driveway instead of using that gasoline snow thrower. Or if you’re diligent and ambitious, it can be by purchasing that electric vehicle or downsizing your home. It is truly all relative. But every choice, large or small, should be given some consideration.
Baby steps. That simple.
Recycling or Donating
Luckily, vintage shopping is on the rise. Not only for the novelty of wearing actual history, but because many consumers are recognizing that the fashion industry is one of the largest industrial polluters of our time.
Strategies such as dressing your children in gender-neutral clothing items (but let’s be honest, every clothing item can be considered “gender neutral”) and brands that you can pass onto subsequent children can be more eco-friendly and essentially cost-efficient. Even if you’re fashion-forward, many brands already offer ethically produced items, such as product made from recycled materials.
Here’s another example: if you’re arranging a baby-shower or a child’s birthday party, it’s effective to ask attendees not to bring certain sized clothing items as it’s common to receive doubles and items that go unused.
Recycling and donating items other than clothing is also a great option.
Consider the lawful instruction that you must re-purchase your children’s car seat every few years. It’s quite wild how much of a waste that can truly be. (We recommend that you contact the store you’ve purchases the car seat from and ask about their recycling programs. It’s a small step; a phone call.) Perhaps you can re-sell that seat before it expires. Or you could re-gift it to someone in need to a charity or a friend.
Remember those millions of tiny cloth squares you’d received for baby’s bath time? Why not use them as cleaning rags for around the house? Even the tiniest of baby items can be re-used or repurposed. It’s important to get creative; to ask for resources; to doublethink every item before it’s thrown away and left buried in a garbage dump.
Opt for Experiences Rather Than Tangible Gifts
Whether it’s a holiday season or a child’s birthday celebration, it’s often that we receive many things which go unused. Or maybe their novelty had run its course. As parents, we are faced with the cruel reality of how fast the years go by. Why not invest in memories rather than that latest Lego Set? Of course there will be items that you’d like to surprise your little ones with. Of course there will be a wish list as tall as their little bodies come Christmas.
But perhaps you should re-think spending $500 on tangible gifts and re-invest those funds into a weekend adventure to a cabin where quality time with the children lasts a lifetime. Keep in mind, within the blink of an eye, they’re moving away to college. * Shed tears here *.
Encourage Your Children to Think Outside The Box
This is a very cliché statement that we’ve touched upon earlier, but be creative with your choices! The more you are, the more your children will be. Young and old, your children will pick up on your habits and likely mimic your behavior. You’ve heard the term, “they’re like sponges”? Because they truly, truly are.
By encouraging your children to think outside the box when it comes to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle, they will organically (pun intended) learn how to budget their own finances as they grow. Because they will be less likely to splurge on items that they will identify as unnecessary and/or uncalled for.
They will live simpler. They will live for the experience, for love, and ultimately, for joy.
Just like you.
Words by Julian Jamie
Photography by Ali Marie Parker