Converting back to a green life, one week (and nap time) at a time

Week # 52-1 – Where Do We Go from Here?

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A new year brings new adventures. My daughter is at swimming lessons with my husband right now, something she hasn’t done since she was a baby and I did a parent and tot class with her. She loves the water so I’m sure she’ll be fine. It’s hard to believe she’s the same little girl that four years ago I could hold in one arm up against me in the water , and now I can barely lift her at all.

My bulging belly doesn’t help that, though. While the nausea and fatigue have started to fade (this is the first week I’ve really felt like myself in a long time), I am starting to put on weight; I’m afraid we may have to start telling folks earlier than we’d hoped.

Husband is starting to get used to the idea of having another little one pitter-pattering around the house. We’ve had a number of tete-à-tetes in the past couple of weeks to try to sort out or feelings about the changes that will be coming. I know he’s scared and is having “buyers remorse” so to speak. I think neither of us really thought it would happen again.

And I’m terrified too. Terrified of balancing it all, terrified that I’ll experience post-partum depression and do something to harm one or both of my children. Or that something will happen during the pregnancy, or labor and delivery that will change all of our lives forever.

But I am by nature an optimist, and I can’t dwell on the negative. I also feel contentment. I longed to again feel what it is to bring life to another human being, to feel them grow and move inside me, and to clutch them to my breast and provide nourishment. I long to give another grandchild to my parents and my parents-in law – we may be their only chance at another. And I long to give my daughter something I never had – a sibling. So when my wonderful yet terrified husband asks for the umpteenth time, are we sure we really want this baby, I can unequivocally say yes.

I am also a realist this time. The first time around I was surrounded by moms who insisted that being pregnant, having children, breastfeeding was the most wonderful thing they had ever experienced. That they loved being pregnant, loved being a mom, couldn’t wait to do it again. That they found time to spend with their partners when the baby slept. That there’s lots of support for new moms. That their mom and mom-in law came and stayed with them. That I would love being a mom too.

But they didn’t have morning sickness (which isn’t just in the morning) throughout their pregnancy, fainting, nosebleeds, leg cramps, or gain nearly sixty pounds. Their placenta was where it was supposed to be, they breastfed without difficulties, they had family close by, and they had babies that slept.

They didn’t know my friend who’s husband lost his job when her son was five and her daughter was 6 months and she had to go back to work. Or my other friend, who’s daughter, her second child, was born with an extra “pseudo” kidney and one of her “normal” kidneys was non-functional.

Now I know how hard it can be. I know it will mean sleepless nights (which isn’t all that different from what we experience now) and less time to myself. But I also know that I the learning curve won’t be as steep, that I don’t have to– and won’t- put as much pressure on myself, that we won’t balance it all all the time,  and that the proportion of time that it’s really hard is so small compared to the proportion of time they are in our lives, learning new things every day, pitter-pattering into our room hugging us and kissing us and saying “I love you Mommy” – driving us to our wits end all the while because it’s probably 4am – but loving us all the same.

Speaking of time to myself, for now the blog goes on.

And I deserve to take a moment (while I can!) to celebrate this accomplishment. Because I made it! I actually made it! Here I am, one year later, still blogging! According to Statistics Brain only 8% of Americans keep New Year’s resolutions. Even I had my doubts about whether I would keep this up, and it was more challenging than I thought it would be at times, but I was determined to finish what I started.

I definitely didn’t blog as regularly as I had hoped. I just didn’t have time. My daughter stopped having naps about two months into the project, I got sick a lot more than I thought I would, and the technology didn’t always cooperate (as you’ll see about half way through I switched blogging sites). I was disappointed and frustrated at times, mostly at myself. Frustrated that I wasn’t blogging as much as I wanted, or wasn’t posting the blog posts to correspond with news and events. As us Moms often do to ourselves, I was putting way too much pressure on myself. This was supposed to be a fun activity to challenge myself and hopefully help the planet too, not to get famous. It was also therapeutic for me to have an outlet to write again.

And I did learn a lot. I learned that it really isn’t easy being green. Lifestyle changes and consumer habits that should be easy, really aren’t as easy as they should be. Green products really are more expensive, and sometimes that extra expense isn’t worth the extra trouble to find or maintain a product, or the green benefits really don’t outweigh the extra cost where a bigger change might have more of an impact. And I learned what my limits are- what changes we are willing to make as a family and bring us together, and which push us apart.

I was able to make some legitimate changes that I have stuck with, such as taking the bus to work as often as possible, using hankies, having more vegetarian meals, and purchasing clothing only at thrift stores, among others.

There were some changes I made that I didn’t blog about specifically, such as”

  • Using a reusable dish scrubber instead of SOS pads
  • Switching out handsoap around the house and my daughters bath soap for more natural, hand-made and/or environmentally friendly products.

There were some changes that I just couldn’t keep up:

  • Facebook-free Friday rarely happened, if at all – but I did go tech-free for most of Christmas week, so that was an accomplishment;
  • Taking the stairs at work stopped when my office moved to the 17th Although I did try getting off the elevator on a lower floor and taking the stairs the rest of the way, and taking the stairs down whenever I can;
  • The olive-oil dispenser instead of cooking spray didn’t really work all that well, so back to the drawing board there;
  • I definitely didn’t volunteer as much as I would have liked to;
  • And my rock-star showers haven’t changed. But I hope our other water conservation measures – such as using pasta and veggie water to water houseplants, shaving my legs with bathwater, doing less laundry by re-wearing clothes, and sponge-baths instead of tub-baths – help offset that somewhat.

And I attained two of my major goals – getting a new job, and getting pregnant.

I have lots of ideas for other challenges I would like to try, such as:

  • Making our own kitty litter, from sand and saw dust;
  • Using environmentally-friendly driveway “salt” in winter;
  • Making my own insect repellant;
  • purchasing locally milled grains;
  • Find a more sustainable option for menstrual pads.

So where do I go from here?

Do I keep up adding new green challenges to my weekly routine? Or do I work on improving on the challenges I’ve already identified, while improving previous blog posts and adding photos? And how will adding another member to our family (and yes, I know, adding another resource-consuming body to an already over-populated planet) change things?

Or do I take some time to work on projects around the house (something I’ve been putting off in favor of spending time on the blog). Do I stop blogging altogether? IS THIS MY LAST BLOG POST?

You’ll have to keep reading to find out!


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