All You Need Is Less, Eco-Friendly Living

Rules are made to be broken! And followed! Consistency? What’s that?!

I thought I posted this, apparently I didn’t. This is my life. Mea culpa. But here it is now!

I have rules in my life. Rules like “Eat good food”, and “Don’t get up before 8 a.m. if at all possible”, and “Try not to buy anything plastic” and “Olive is not allowed juice, cookies, TV, or any other crap that she doesn’t even know she’s missing yet”.

But, because I am human and imperfect, and consistency is really not a strength of mine, it is clearly neccessary for me to have a completely different set of rules that counteract and nullify the first set, of course.

They are things like: “Never say no to salsa con queso”, and “Get up when Olive cries even when it’s 6 am and I feel like I am some sort of zombie skeletor person” and “Sometimes a lady forgets her bamboo cutlery set and needs a plastic fork to eat some New York Fries so I don’t have to use my fingers like an ANIMAL.”, and “I am not the boss of anybody but myself. Don’t be a jerk.”

So when we arrived at my moms floating house this weekend (in record time, I might add, because we made the entire 3 hour journey without having to stop once. Go Olive!),  she gave Olive a little plastic baby doll that she’d found at a secondhand store. Seeing this, I didn’t say – as many of you might suspect –  “KILL IT WITH FIRE! TOXINS LANDFILL WASTE PLASTIC WHY IS IT SO PINK GENDER NORMS BLERGH!”

No, Internets. I was like, “Olive! Look! A baby!” and then we sat down and showed Olive the baby and all of the stuff that came with it, the potty and the bottle and the little baby pacifier that Olive promptly claimed as her own. I am a normal human person, is what I am trying to tell you with this story.

And then we went to take Olive to see the gingerbread houses at a hotel down the road. This was us last year:

olive maddie laurel point

and us this year:

olive maddie laurel point2

What a difference a year makes. (Apparently two of those differences are that I no longer blow dry my hair, and she will no longer tolerate a toque. Hm.)

Furthermore, when she finished shoving orange pieces into her mouth and started eyeing our gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate while frantically signing eat eat and more more, I did nothing to stop my mom from handing her a little piece of chocolate.

Because I am human, and because she is the grandma.

The reason I am telling you this is because in the past I have shared, and I will continue to share in the upcoming months, eco-friendly ideas and recipes and philosophies. And while I am sharing them I think it’s important to make sure that you guys know that they are shared with absolutely zero judgment. I feel it neccesary to spell this out quite clearly because when that baby sleep post went viral (it now sits at over 350,000 views, which is about 349,900 more readers than I ever anticipated when I wrote it) the response was overwhelming positive, but there were also a few people who felt judged and excluded.

I wrote the post thinking it would reach a tiny audience already familiar with my opinions and approach, my “if it works for you, it works” philosophy, but that wasn’t the case. That was a fantastic lesson, and I tried my best to respond to all of those comments and clarify my meaning, and had some amazing conversations as a result. I mean, it was incredible! I wouldn’t have met many of you without that post, so hi!

But also, I am not a jerk. About baby sleep or about eco-stuff, either. Promise!

I am fully anti-guilt, and anti-blame, and anti-judgy-mcjudgersons. I am not a better person than you because my baby poops into fleece. You are not a better person than your neighbour because you recycle. The goal behind any upcoming eco post isn’t to shame or flaunt or brag,  it exists simply because I get inordinately excited about making my own cleaning products and coming up with new and innovative ways to bewilder my husband, and think you might, too.

Also, I take requests! And if you have any tips on how to be a more consistent, routine-oriented person for a lady who resists these things like the plague, I am really reeeeeally open to those tidbits of advice. If I have learned anything over the past month, it’s that you guys have an incredible wealth of knowledge and, um, can I have some please?


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  • Reply cinnamonlou December 11, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    Hah! As always I feel like you are a part of my group of friends and you’ve just been hiding. Chuckled at your hair comments and tv(never!!) comments. Today I marveled that less than two years ago I was dressed oh so cute at my job in the DA’s office(Brooklyn). Today I am a mom of a 10 mth old in Miami Beach who wears the same cutoffs and halter duo(ok, sometimes I switch tops and get crazy and wear a tube top)daily. Swore no kid of mine would ever watch tv, especially this early. Right. As I sipped my coffee this am while mentioned 10 mth old and I watched the Today Show and I tried to explain to him who Al Roker is and he giggled. Ah well. The older I get, the more I learn to stop judging me, drink my coffee and just take it light.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine December 11, 2013 at 10:25 PM

      I really think you hit the nail on the head – the older I get, the less I judge. Because if I judge, then someone else might look at me a little closer and see my third-day-old hair, boots I polished with a banana peel (eco-friendly! but weird!) and all of the times I give my husband “The Look” – so many that I swear my face will freeze like that some day! I also envy you your coffee. Coffee hates me. I love it. We are at an impasse.

  • Reply lilymama December 12, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    incoming request…:)
    Eco-friendly gift ideas for couple’s first baby. (They are uber-green).

    • Reply sweetmadeleine January 2, 2014 at 2:02 AM

      I just re-saw this and realized I never answered it! Do you still want ideas or was I a total jerk and it’s too late now?

  • Reply snowmonkey December 12, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    We’re all hypocrites. We’re all guilty. We’re all jerks… sometimes. But as long as we have good intentions, that’s all that matters. We can have our philosophies on things, and in my experience, there’s nothing like parenting to force you to take a stance on all these debates (Attachment Parenting vs… what, Detachment Parenting??)… But we’re all human, and fallible, and different. Sometimes we just muddle through and do our best.

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