Going Green as a Working Mom

I feel like a lot of times I use motherhood as an excuse to take the easy way out. When I’m asked to add another time commitment to our already busy schedule, it’s usually, sorry, we have three kids and it just won’t work. I’ll try to volunteer to do at home baking or administrative tasks instead of things that take me away from the home during the week. However, I do think taking care of our planet and each other and reducing waste and consumption is something that is worth taking my time and teaching to my kids.

So even though my husband and I both work full time jobs, we have a 10 year old and 8 year old we share with his ex-wife and a 21 month old with us full time, we make the effort to be as green as possible. It’s not always easy and sometimes I full on fail but I’m trying to keep adding in more and more. Here are some ideas that I’ve been able to incorporate into our home and are doable as working parents.

Again, I didn’t do these all at once; we eased into them. Picking one a month or every few months is definitely key to sustaining the habit. You also have to make it work into your daily routine and make it simple.

  • We use cloth napkins. These shop rags are the best! They are soft, durable and a perfect size. I have two packages and have to do laundry once every few weeks. We keep a basket under the sink right next to the trash for everyone to dump their napkins in when they are dirty.
  • I use reusable cloth cotton rounds that I made from leftover pieces of flannel. I use them to take makeup off my eyes and apply astringent. I wash them in a lingerie bag. I have enough to last about 2 weeks. And again, I have a container right under my sink to collect the dirty cloths.
  • I use a safety razor instead of one with disposable plastic. I collect the blades after use and keep them in a glass mason jar ready to be recycled when I collect enough.
  • I use a Diva Cup instead of tampons. It’s LIFE CHANGING people.
  • I make beauty products like eye make up remover, face wash and hair moisturizer myself.
  • I make cleaning products – dust solution, all purpose cleaner and glass cleaner and we use rags instead of paper towels to clean.
  • I use reusable shopping bags by keeping them in the doors of both of our cars for easy access.
  • We use reusable lunch containers and glass pyrex to store leftovers.
  • When lights burn out, I replace them with LED bulbs.
  • I shop for 75% of our clothes at thrift stores (Savers has 50% off sales on various holidays throughout the year, and I love to stock up then).
  • I built a recycling center out of some plastic modular shelving and leftover containers of various sizes so that we can store recycling until it’s enough to take to the designated location. We recycle all of the following:
    • Ink cartridges (can be taken to Target or office supply stores)
    • Plastic bags and plastic packaging (can be taken to Target)
    • Glass bottles (we put them in Ripple Glass containers found around town)
    • Mascara wands (send these to a wildlife refuge)
    • Contact lens packaging (can be mailed back in here).
    • Cardboard, plastic, etc (anything that can be put in the KCMO recycle bins)
  • I always try to check out if something can be recycled before I throw it away – Recycle Spot is a really great resource.

Here’s something that we don’t do – cloth diapers. I really wanted to but I just couldn’t figure out how to make it work with two working parents, juggling older kids schedules and daycare. And I had to give myself grace to be OK with that.

Does anyone else try to do the green friendly home? Or attempting some sort of zero (or maybe just less) waste? I’d love to swap tips and tricks!

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