Guilt can be a powerful tool. It can be damaging as well but I’d rather see it as a means to an end when it comes to sustainable practices. However, the best type of guilt is when it drives us to become better consumers.
Think of the last time you were at the grocery store and had that coffee cake riding right on top for the world to see. Guilt. Your coworker stops by your desk and you are eating a donut for breakfast. Guilt.
I’m about to post an article soon about home décor design tips but it made me feel guilty. I didn’t have many repurposed items to showcase. I saved money using my own photography, I sought out deals to get photo prints enlarged, I used only free photo editing apps, and I bought pictures frames on after season clearance. In defense, I was 8 months pregnant, working full time, and chasing a toddler around. I did not have the energy to source for items or work some creative magic on them. I was in survival mode- pick and choose from the store mode.
Using the Styrofoam cups at work today made me feel guilty (I forgot my reusable glass bottle at home). Again, in my defense, I was dealing with a poop disaster that involved changing clothing. Is that an excuse? Sadly, it is an excuse.
We have to forgive ourselves but we have to be acutely aware when daily things that happen in life become our excuses. Excuses won’t teach our children the valuable lessons they need to learn in life: like making healthy food choices, exercising, saving money, taking time to relax and reflect, and taking responsibility for our actions.
With more planning however, we CAN be more eco-friendly and sustainable. Keep your reusable grocery shopping bags in the diaper bag at all times. Place your glass water bottle on the table next to your purse every night. Sign up for a service like Green Bean Delivery so you always have fresh organic produce on hand.
The next time you find yourself driving to a retail store for something you ‘need’ reconsider. Notice I say ‘need’ here. Our ‘needs’ are actually usually our ‘wants.’ We are trying to teach our toddler this concept; sounds like we need to teach ourselves as well.
Turn your car around and head home or better yet head to the flea market or drive around to find a garage sale. This will also help you save money.
Do you often start at the grocery store in the frozen food or dairy section and load up your cart so you don’t have enough room for fresh fruits and veggies near the end? Re-map your grocery habits. Start in the fresh section. By the time you are near the junk food your cart will be full and the kids will be ready to leave. Keep your eyes low at the store. The top manufacturers have their items at eye level. Your healthier options are down low, off to the side, or up top. When I go in the cereal aisle with my toddler, I head straight for the section with Cascadian Farms. Then we promptly turn around and leave that aisle before he can spot the Trix bunny.
The best result of this- a guilt free shopping cart. Our indulgence is dark chocolate (guilt free) it has antioxidants and vanilla bean ice cream (we look for simple ingredients- nothing artificial and spare the extra buck or two for that type).
Guilt can keep us accountable. Give yourself some grace though, we cannot be perfect and homemade all of the time. To those that are- I 100% respect your efforts. I’d love to hear your tips for a working mother and wife to follow.