If you’re a parent or grandparent trying to raise the children in your life in as sustainable a way as possible, this post is for you! I’m sharing four strategies to help you to eco parent successfully in the modern world.
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When I ask my Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs members what their biggest challenge to living more sustainably is, they all tell me time.
Everyone has so much on their plate, yet we’re acutely aware that we all need to do our bit for the planet, reduce our household waste, eat more real foods, get our kids off devices and playing outdoors whilst we hold down a job or business, attend school assemblies, run our kids around after school activities, and try and maintain our own friendships and marriages/partnerships.
No wonder so many of us are tired?!!
Modern Pressures on Modern Parents
Pressure on modern parents is greater now than at any time in history.
House prices (and mortgages) are at an all-time high, and in most Australian households, both parents are working just to make ends meet. In fact, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 64% of couple families with children have both parents working and 25% of couple families have both parents working FULL TIME.
Unlike previous generations we’re also parenting with the pressures of social media (and the increase in societal and self judgment that comes with that).
Plus, many of us are parenting without the support of extended family nearby. Perhaps our parents are still working to fund their retirement, or they live interstate or overseas, or maybe they’ve raised their kids and they’re not keen on being a hands on grandparents.
Either way, parenting can be tough and take its toll on us all (me included!!). I count myself as one of the 80% of parents who report difficulty in adjusting to parenthood. And in hindsight, it was likely I was in the 1 in 7 Aussie mums and 1 in 20 Aussie dads to suffer post-natal depression.
So I get it when someone like me comes along and encourages you all to parent with the environment in mind you want to tell me to shut the eff up.
But hear me out.
Eco parenting isn’t about having a zero waste baby (but if that’s your goal, go for it sista!).
It’s about doing WHAT YOU CAN to reduce their impact of your family on the environment.
And like all good things in life, eco parenting is a journey.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
What this in mind I’d like to leave you with some strategies to eco parent in the modern world.
Four Strategies for Eco Parenting in the Modern World
1. Reclaim Your Time
I’m not going to lie.
Eco parenting does require a little more time and organisation than conventional parenting, but the money, health and waste benefits are so worth it.
Take cloth nappies for example. Just five minutes a day to wash and prepare modern cloth nappies saves you $2500 on nappies per child, makes for a healthier baby (no nasty chemicals or plastics in close contact with baby’s genitals) and saves you taking out the smelly rubbish each day.
Making a series of small switches to parent more sustainably requires you to get better at saying “NO” to the requests for your time that don’t serve you or your family.
I liken it to a ball of tennis tubes…. With the tennis balls representing all the things on your plate.
Want to add a new eco “thing” in your life? You’re gonna have to remove a tennis ball from the tube to fit it in. Simple really.
2. Be CEO of your household
An effective CEO doesn’t perform all the tasks within a company. They build the capacity within the company by empowering employees to step up to the plate and pitch in.
The same goes in an eco household.
In our family this involves getting everyone involved and bringing them along. Whether it’s in the garden, collecting eggs from the chickens, or helping out in the kitchen by unpacking the dishwasher, or decorating their own pizza for tea.
Many hands make light work…..maybe not initially if you have young kids….but eventually, yes!!
I call getting your kids to pitch in around the house “insourcing” and believe me, it’s the best gift you can give your kids… life skills.
3. Prioritise Self Care
You can’t look after a family, a household or the environment if you’re not looking after yourself. Your kids need YOU to be okay.
So do something that keeps you sane, gives a good release and keeps you happy. And make sure you get enough sleep!!!
I learnt the hard way and these days I look after myself first so I can run and eco business and an eco home.
Yoga and my weekly dance classes are non-negotiable for me.
4. Build Your Village
In past generations we had our extended family helping us raise our kids. With grandparents working longer or living away, or simply not being interested, it’s up to YOU to build your village of support.
It takes a village to raise a child and more than ever modern mums need a village too.
Building your village these days means outsourcing some tasks to take a load off…. because as much as the media tells us we are, we’re not Supermums!!!!
Outsource what you need to in order to take a load off, be it cleaning, childcare, gardening, housework, even cooking!
Whatever helps you to be the eco parent you want to be right now.
Part of building your village also includes surrounding yourselves with likeminded people. Other parents who are on a similar sustainable living journey. So make the time to find and nurture your tribe. They’ll have your back on those tough days/weeks/months.
Eco parenting in the modern world is a marathon, not a sprint. By reclaiming your time, becoming CEO of your household, prioritising self-care and building YOUR village, you’ll be best placed to build a family life that’s sustainable for you and our environment.
Over to You!
What are your best eco parenting tips and strategies? Share below!
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