Being a mom is time-consuming and stressful enough that we barely have time to think of our impact on Mother Earth. But what if going green could actually simplify your life as a busy new mom and protect the environment at the same time?
The planet needs us now more than ever. Our over-consumption and damaging lifestyle are causing a lot of damage (like marine life being killed by plastic!), but there’s a ton we can do to minimize our footprint and be as kind as we can be to our environment.
In honour of Earth Day, we asked a busy local mom of two Carine Sroujian if she could take over this blog article and share 8 simple life hacks she used to become a more eco-friendly mom and some of the steps she’s planning to take in the future.
Over to you Carine!
About 8 years ago, when I was pregnant with my first, I started becoming more and more conscious of what I was putting in and on my body. Every decision I made would also impact my baby, so it wasn’t just about me anymore. This started me on my journey of waking up to all the damaging chemicals around us, not only wreaking havoc on our health but that of our precious planet’s. I started making gradual changes that have significantly reduced our family’s consumption of plastic and toxins, our carbon footprint and the impact on our overall wellbeing.
I truly hope the list of eco hacks below inspires you to make a change in your life and that of your family’s. It’s important to not put additional pressure on yourself as I know you already have enough to deal with as it is, but to see this gradual shift as a way to simplify your life as a mom and make a significant impact on the world around you.
Start with one hack that resonates with you and see where that takes you. And think of it this way, less toxins mean less sick babies! Since becoming more mindful of the chemicals we bring into our home, we have dealt with much less disease and health-related issues in our family.
Replace plastic bottles and cups with glass
and/or stainless steel ones depending on the age of your little one. I would only buy glass bottles for my little ones when they were born, but when it came time for sippy cups and cups as my kids got older, I naturally gravitated towards plastic. Considering that they drop and break everything, I was undoubtedly concerned about glass. Plastic is just easier right? But, you can find a huge variety of stainless steel sippy cups with silicone sleeves for toddlers. I also recently discovered these adorable cups on Amazon, and I was hooked. They have been dropped so many times yet they’re incredibly durable. Now if my kids can only stop fighting over the panda cup!
Use glass/mason jars instead of plastic containers.
A few years back, I threw out all of my plastic tupperware and replaced them with glass containers. I’m obsessed with my mason jars. I make everything from chia puddings, salads to beauty products and store them in my jars. And you can easily and safely transport them if you take your lunch with you.
DIY cleaning products.
I have been making my own hand soap for years using Castile Soap and essential oils. I also switched from chemical dishwashing liquid to natural eco ones a few years back, and most recently, started making my own, storing it in a glass mason jar with a pump, saving even more plastic. And the best part is that it works even better than any store-bought brand I’ve used!
Carine’s Dishwashing Liquid Recipe
– 2 cups of Liquid Castile Soap
– 1 T vegetable glycerin (cuts grease and thickens soap. Add more if you want thicker soap.)
– 1 capful of Thieves Household Cleaner to fight grease, stains, and get more suds
– 1 cup warm water
– 10 drops Purification essential oil
– 10 drops Lemon essential oil
– OPTIONAL: A few additional drops of your favourite oil
– Pinch of salt
– Mix in a glass mason jar
Switch from paper to e-bills.
We don’t realize what a positive impact this simple switch makes on the environment, and the best part is that it reduces the clutter in your home (score!). We have enough of that to deal with already, right?
Make your own personal care products.
It’s a lot easier and much cheaper than you think to make your own beauty and personal care products. I switched over to natural deodorants years ago when I found out the impact of the toxins in chemical deodorants on our bodies, including the absorption of carcinogens and hormone disruptors. But after having spent tons of money on store brand natural deodorants that simply did not work, I set out to find and perfect a recipe of my own that did. I’ve been using the below recipe for close to 10 years and have even tested it in hot yoga classes, and it works like a charm! You can even double or triple the recipe to make a larger batch.
Carine’s Deodorant Recipe
- 3 T coconut oil
- 2 T baking soda
- 2 T arrowroot flour or cornstarch
- 5 drops of Tea Tree oil
- 5 drops of Lavender oil
- A few drops of any essential oil you like
- Mix baking soda and arrowroot together in a bowl.
- Mash in coconut oil with a fork until well mixed.
- Add oils.
- Store in small glass jar or empty deodorant container.
Reusable Feminine Hygiene Products.
Apparently, the average woman uses over 16,000 sanitary items and spends over $18,000 during her lifetime! Other than putting your health at risk with toxin-laden pads and tampons, these products are adding to the impact on our planet. I recently switched over to a menstrual cup called the Diva Cup and I absolutely love it! It took a bit of time to get adjusted to it, but I don’t see myself ever going back to pads or tampons.
Go Local and Organic if possible.
Support farmers and start buying local produce. I often shop at local farmer’s markets like Evergreen Brick Works or Toronto Botanical Gardens. And buying local ensures that you aren’t endorsing or consuming packaged foods and also supporting struggling farmers. I even started my own little organic garden in my backyard last year! Tending to your own garden and growing your own food is incredibly grounding and meditative, and as moms, we need that more than ever! It also encourages your little ones to be more adventurous with veggies and fruit because they’re growing them. Not only will you be making a positive impact on your family’s health, but also on our planet.
Eat more plant-based foods.
I adopted a vegan lifestyle this time last year, reducing my carbon footprint even further. Now I’m not saying you should go fully vegan (although the animals would thank you!), but making a conscious effort to eat more of a plant-based diet and reducing your intake of meat significantly reduces the environmental impact caused by meat production.
What I wish I had known sooner is how easy and simple it would have been had I used a cloth diaper service for both my kids. Cloth diapers intimidated me and the lack of information and education contributed to that feeling. I didn’t want to deal with the hassles of cleaning up the mess and the laundry involved. In hindsight, now that I’m more informed, I wouldn’t have hesitated twice about using cloth!
Some of the changes I anticipate making over the next couple of months:
- Switch from plastic bags to reusable ones (if I can remember to bring them with me when grocery shopping!). As I write this, I’m thinking I can leave a few in the car so that they’re always accessible when needed. And buying stylish reusable bags like these ones, can definitely encourage you to use them more often!
- Move from plastic straws to glass or stainless steel
- Replace plastic popsicle molds with a stainless steel one
- Use less plastic water bottles (even though they’re extremely convenient!) and make a conscious effort to take my stainless steel bottle with me when I’m on the go
I will keep you all posted on my progress in a future article!
It may seem like a lot to do, especially for a tired mom, but once you get into the habit of adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle, it will become more and more second nature.
Do you have any simple tips you can share on how to become more of an eco-conscious mom?