Turning Green as a Stay at Home Mom

Being a stay at home mom means you’re there to set a great example for your children. Wouldn’t it be nice to show them how important you consider helping our planet to be?

Admittedly, being a stay at home mom can be pretty environmentally friendly in some ways. You don’t drive to work every day or to the daycare. But in other ways it isn’t always so good.

You may regularly use harsh chemicals to clean your home, for example. Not only are these really not so good for you or your family, they aren’t so good for the planet. It’s not the kind of pollution you’d notice right off hand, but it is there.

Consider replacing some of your household cleaning chemicals with more environmentally friendly alternatives. A vinegar and water mixture can be amazingly effective as a cleanser.

Another great example to set for your children is to start a garden. If you start a compost pile over time you won’t need to use so many chemical fertilizers. My family sometimes does the quick version of composting by taking fresh fruit and vegetable scraps and throwing them into the blender with some water. Pour it over the soil and it won’t take so long to break down as unblended scraps would. Very useful if you don’t have the space for a full compost heap like us.

A garden serves multiple purposes. You’re growing fresh food for your family and you have control over whether or not chemicals are used. Your children are learning where fruits and vegetables come from. They’re learning how to treat plants to make them grow. The exposure is likely to encourage them to eat their vegetables even if they’ve been reluctant in the past.

We live in a very disposable culture. Try not to fall for it. Fix broken items whenever reasonable. Mend clothing. Buy rechargeable batteries. Buy less stuff. Believe it or not, your children do not NEED every hot new toy that comes along.

As light bulbs go out replace them with more environmentally friendly ones. There are some great options out there that cost more initially but last longer and are more energy efficient.

Limit your children’s use of electronics as a whole, and turn the electronics off when not in use. I know how easy it is to leave the computer on all the time, but most computers can now cope quite well with being turned off regularly, and it saves electricity. Have the kids go outside and play more.

Budget permitting, getting solar panels installed is a great option. It’s expensive but with rebates from your state you may be able to significantly cut the expense, and even save money in the long run. Solar lamps also make great outdoor decorations for your yard and garden.

If at all reasonable, walk the kids to school rather than driving them. Weather and distance permitting, the walk to school is a great time to just talk with your children. And if the distance isn’t all that great, driving it is really not the best thing for your car.

Similarly, if it’s reasonable to walk to an errand, why not do so? I’ve been known to take a wagon down to the grocery store rather than drive there. Just chain it to the bike rack and go in. The wagon can carry small children and groceries.

If that’s not reasonable, try to combine errands as much as possible. It’s both more fuel efficient and less time consuming.

Make sure your home is properly insulated. This will help your energy bills in both summer and winter. Know when to open your blinds. On sunny winter days open blinds can help just a little with heating your house if the sunlight is aimed right at them. Close the blinds as the sun moves away to help keep the heat in.

There is much more you can do at home to be just a bit greener. As you work on being more environmentally conscious you may find it easier to tell yourself that you don’t need all the extras and even find that you don’t miss them so much. And if you bring your children into it they may appreciate it too.

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