Conveniently Green–Going Green the Easy Way

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Today’s post is a combination Conveniently Green and Works For Me Wednesday!

Nobody wants to destroy the environment, but going green can seem so daunting and, let’s face it, inconvenient. That’s why over here on Gen X Moms, we’re going green conveniently. But where do you start? So many ways to go green, so little time. Luckily at Gen X Moms, we have a handy little motto: Just a Little Bit Less. Here’s the easy way:

Step 1. Take a look at your trash.

No, not in your trash. That’s disgusting. Look at your trash. What are you throwing away that can potentially be reused or replaced with a reusable substitute? Keep in mind that we’re just in the evaluation stage. You’re not committing to anything. So what do you have in there that could be reused or replaced? Ziploc bags? Paper towels? Clorox wipes?

Step 2. Take a look at the trash you throw away outside of the house

You know, in the car, on a playdate, at a picnic–what are you leaving behind? Paper napkins? Take and Toss kidware? Plastic grocery sacks? Juice boxes? Again, no commitment here. Make a list, if you’re a list-making person. Otherwise just keep it all in your head. If you can. Which I usually can’t.

Step 3. Take a look at your cleaning supplies

Are there lots of yucky chemicals in your cabinet? Have you seen “green” versions at the store? Are you making your own?

Step 4. Identify your non-negotiables

Here’s the thing–we all have non-negotiables. I’m pretty darned crunchy, but you will have to pry my clothes dryer out of my cold, dead hands. Yes, I know all of the advantages of line-drying my laundry (save money! and energy! better for your clothes!), but seriously–I’m going to roll out of my deathbed, crawl to the dryer, and die right there in my laundry closet with my arms around my Maytag. That’s one of my non-negotiables. What are yours? Maybe you can’t live without your Ziploc bags or your juice boxes. Hey, that’s okay. We all have limits.

Step 5. After eliminating your non-negotiables, pick one remaining item and do it ONCE.

Now here’s the key to going green the easy way. Don’t make a big commitment. This isn’t a cell phone contract. Pick one thing and think about our motto–Just a Little Bit Less. Say, for example, you picked paper towels. Your goal will be to use one fewer paper towel than you normally would. Because hey, if you use a dishtowel to clean up a spill one time, that’s one fewer paper towel in the trash, one fewer off the roll, and one little piece of change in your pocket.

Then pat yourself on the back–you’re going green the wasy way! The idea is to make things conscious. When you reach for something you would normally throw away, take just a second and think, “Hmm, in this one, single instance, can I use something else?” A lot of times your answer will be no, but sometimes your answer will be yes, and sometimes is better than no times. Just strive for one! Don’t be intimidated! Everybody can do one!

And once you’ve got one down, strive for two. Or three. Or all. Or hey, just stick with one. The environment will thank you either way.

Works for me! For more great tips, visit Works For Me Wednesday:

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Child of Divorce

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I had a very happy childhood. My very first memory, from my swim lessons was when I was the ripe old age of 18 months. Studies have shown that when you have a happy childhood, you retain a lot of memories. I had such a happy childhood that I moved 3 doors down from my parents and am giving my children very similar memories. The same trail for my kids to play on, the same neighborhood schools to make friends at, even the same hill for them to race down on their scooters. However, my older son will not share the same innocence and happiness that I had at 11 years old. It tears me up inside every single day.

You see I married his father when I was 20 years old after only knowing him for 3 months. One word comes to mind… STUPID. But I was in love and running off to Vegas against my parents will sounded incredibly romantic. And it was, at the time. So fast forward to when my wonderful little boy is 3 years old. The end of my marriage was eminent. I remember leaving his father with all our stuff packed in the car, my toddler crying for his daddy and his dad running by the car, both crying out for each other. It was by far the hardest day of my life.

When you’re in the thick of it all you don’t really think that life will go on and that life will get better. But it does. I met a great man that truly considers Big E his son. He has never once referred to him as his stepson. In fact, when he proposed marriage, he didn’t propose to me, he proposed to both of us. When we got married, the three of us were at the alter, not just my husband and me, but the 3 of us making vows to each other. I wouldn’t have gotten remarried if it were any other way. Picture perfect right? Sorta.

My ex-husband gets Big E every other weekend. He loves his son and fought me in court to maintain that visitation. He pays very little in child support. So little it barely covers what he eats these days, a whopping $260 a month. He lives in a multi-million dollar house, drives very fancy cars, and takes more vacations than I can count, but swears up and down that he can’t afford more than $260 a month. His wife had told me on the phone that I am heartless and a bad mom. I can go on and on how this woman had negatively affected me. She has this vision of me that I am this terrible person, but she doesn’t even know me! Who is she to judge? And the worst part is she actually says to my son that I am a bad mom.

Well my ex-husband and his wife are having problems now. Big E hates going over there but loves his dad. He cries all the time that he loves his dad but hates how he’s treated. The worst part is there is nothing I can do. At Big E’s age, he can control if he goes over there, but he wont tell his dad he doesn’t want to go. There are a lot of tears right now.

The good news is that he has our home. He has his mom, his dad (because lets face it, my husband is raising him, he’s there every moment of every day, helping with homework and cheering him on in the outfield at games) and his little brother. All we can do is provide stability and love, steer him in the proper direction and hope we come through loud and clear.

My happy memories that I was hoping he would repeat are there, unfortunately though they also have a very darker and sadder counterpart. I feel so very guilty every day that I did this to him. I feel like I am responsible for all this pain he is suffering. And he is SUCH a good kid. It honestly kills me inside.

Ah… the modern day American family.