Mar 17, 2010

Time: Planning a day, week, lifetime wisely

Nothing works out as planned. So many interrupted thoughts, too many glances at the computer and frequent unexpected events turn my day into one long string of one consistent regret. At the end of every evening I regret how I managed my time that day, It's a fairly negative way to fall asleep. I think of how I should have gone for a walk, I should have started dinner earlier. I should have sent that email.

I spend a considerable amount of time finding ways to save time, yet never really enjoying time. I often wonder if I gardened if I would value the time spent and hard work more than a fast, easy meal designed to give me more free time. How did our culture manage to become so obsessed with time savers? In the beginning it was because quite frankly, there weren't enough hours in the day. With the inventions like the ice box, washing machine and microwave, we have saved ourselves countless hours of labor in order to enjoy our clean clothes, cold beverages and meals more quickly. However, what is the point of saving time in our efforts if we aren't enjoying them?

Studies have shown that children who participate in gardening are more likely to genuinely enjoy the taste of vegetables. It's the things we labor over that bring up the most satisfaction. People who work hard for their money spend it wisely while lottery winners and gamblers go broke more often than the average wage earner.

Multitasking has it's benefits, but I am starting to see that doing two (or three) things at once is taking the fun, or what could be fun, out of the equation. I read an article recently that touched on the common error of eating during activities. Dieters were less like to feel full after a meal when the parts of their brains experience pleasure from eating are otherwise engaged in television, email, conversation or driving.

The hands free law passed recently and my husband got me a Bluetooth for Christmas and I am very grateful. However, I am making a conscious effort to cut down on my car phone conversations. When given the chance to find pleasure in driving (difficult in a minivan)I become one with the car, playing my music and enjoying me brief time alone. I'm starting to remind myself that just because the phone rings, doesn't mean I have to answer it.

I am also starting to take note of what I am doing with the time I save. The dishwasher is designed to save time, so what am I doing while my dishes wash themselves? Usually making attempts as=t being productive, but often only "looking productive". You can't bank time. I could save myself numerous hours by feeding my family TV dinners every night, but it isn't as though I can bundle those hours up into one long string of time off. If only it worked that way. The truth is, my time would be better spent caring for my family in a way that beings me pleasure. By involving them and bringing us closer together, I am saving time and enjoying productive activities that create a bond that TV dinners and get rich quick just can't replace.

Mar 13, 2010

Family cloth- this is where I draw the line

Have you heard of this new trend? It's been floating around the interwebs for a while now. The idea is to replace good ol' toilet paper with with cloth wipes and wash and reuse them. I do appreciate this effort, if anything because of the sacrifice some people are willing to make for the sake of the earth and some reviews boast that 'family cloth' is actually more pleasing to use than TP. However, I'm trying to picture how this could be done in a sanitary manner. Washing and reusing cloth diapers for baby poo is one thing, but when the whole family has chili for dinner...I just can't wrap my head around the aftermath that lies ahead. So please don't think me shallow when I say this, but no frickin' way will I give up my toilet paper.

Mar 10, 2010

The choice to cloth diaper

When you procreate, you in effect add a great deal of poop to your daily life for a number of years. Even if your little one is potty trained early on, you most likely will still be up to your elbows in poo for a time. It's a sunny afternoon and my hands are in the toilet. Why, you may ask? Because I am one of those crazy moms who prefers scraping poo over twisting a Diaper Genie.

I have used disposables before and can appreciate having them on hand occasionally, but cannot justify buying them on a regular basis when cloth is so much cheaper. While there is definitely a green factor to my decision to go cloth, it wasn’t the driving incentive in my plan. Nor is it about following a trend or being a better mom. I do not feel that anyone should be shamefaced into using cloth. Arial Gore said it best in her book The Hip Mama Survival Guide, "I mean, couldn't we start saving the world somewhere else? Couldn't we ban cars or something? How about just shutting down McDonald's and Exxon? Yes, I have to agree with Erma Bombeck on this one: 'I'd rather do away with foam cups and have hot coffee poured into both of my hands and drink fast than do away with disposable diapers'."

I use cloth because it saves me money. It's a bonus that it also means less waste for the landfill and it’s better for my baby’s bum. The factor here is that even if you go all out and spend more than you can afford on the best cloth diapers and buy them in abundance and end up only using half of them, you still save money. Here’s how; by using this handy dandy calculator, I factored in twice as many cloth diapers than I will ever need (36 prefolds, 20 covers, 60 One Size all-in-ones and 1o night-time diapers) and priced them at 25-50% more one should expect to pay for them. Then I priced the disposables to an unbelievably low price of $.09 per diaper. The calculations said I would break even in one year. The reality is that if you go bottom of the barrel and just do prefolds and plastic covers, you can break even in less than 20 weeks and save over $1500 in the course of 1.5 years. And let's face it, most kids don't potty train until 2 and a half, boys can take longer, so you're looking at nearly $3,000 in savings from going cloth. If you want to have fitted diapers, All-In-Ones and One Size fits all, you will still save money. When entering in the factual information for my diaper collection, my savings come to $1,347! When it's time for Jack to move into the next size, I'll be going on Diaper Swapper to sell his size Large and move on to the XL for much less.

Here are some great diaper deals:

Fuzzi Bunz

Amazing package deal for newborn to toddler

Did I mention that cloth diapering can be addicting?

Other helpful links:

Whether I want to admit it or not, it is trendy

Washing cloth diapers

Why use cloth?

Mar 6, 2010


Now don't get your panties in a bunch. This is not a commentary on the benefits of the landfill. This is a plea to the masses to stop using recycling as a get-out-of-jail-free-card to soften the blow of material waste. Over consumption is no stranger to Western culture. In order to go about our daily lives, Americans usurp roughly 70% of the earth's natural resources and we ease our conscience when we find the triangle of arrows on the bottom of our yogurt container. We rinse it out and toss it in the appropriate bin. Problem solved, right? Not exactly.

The three R's; Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are essential to maintain sustainability for our planet. However, reducing and reusing are far more effective than recycling. In fact, by reducing your consumption of unnecessary materials and reusing the essentials whenever possible can by effect, reduce the amount of pollution incurred from production and recycling.