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5 Dollar-Saving Tips For Green Baby Mamas

5 Dollar-Saving Tips For Green Baby Mamas

You worry about climate change and the world that you’re leaving to your little one. Treading gently on the earth and leaving a better world to your little one is important to you. Also, having more than 70 cents in your bank account would be really, really nice.

Raising kids is expensive, and with living costs rising faster than wages do, it can be very hard to make ends meet, leaving many mamas stressed to the max. The good news is, there’s plenty of ways that you can cut down on the expenses that come with parenting, and they’re better for the planet, and better for baby!

Buy a baby bike trailer.

If you’re living somewhere with a good system of bike lanes, this is a must. Having one less car on the road saves on petrol costs, and is also a great way to get more exercise! It’s important to be aware of the safety guidelines[1]. For example, your baby will have to be at least 12 months old in order to have the neck strength to be able to ride in a bike trailer, but once they’re ready, they’ll enjoy it so much more than the car. They’ll be closer to nature, and all the wonderful new sights and sounds of the world, so they’ll be able to take it all in much better.

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Don’t buy new toys/clothes where you can avoid it.

The old adage is true: babies tend to enjoy the box the toy came in more than the actual toy! Even a favorite toy tends to get discarded relatively quickly. The upside is that your friends with babies or toddlers of their own probably have a ton of toys that their kids don’t play with anymore, so you can easily get plenty of “new” toys for your little one to play with by doing a toy swap, or joining a toy library.

The same swap rules apply to clothes. You’d be amazed how quickly your baby grows, and how quickly they outgrow stuff. Why spend $70 on a dress when you can spend $2, or get it for free from the fashionista at your mother’s group? There are plenty of gorgeous options available secondhand, and hopefully you’ll instill your child with a love of vintage finds. According to Babycenter[2], parents can expect to spend $20-$50 on clothes per month, so visiting your local Goodwill can mean some serious savings.

Of course, the impact of the fashion[3] and toy[4] industries on the planet is huge as well. Avoiding buying new means that you’re taking a very significant step to help the planet.

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You don’t need half the gadgets that you see at the baby store.

Parents survived for most of human history without electricity, let alone gadgetry. Some products are definitely important for comfort and safety, but some are just silly. Also, baby walkers have been proven time and again to be potentially very dangerous to babies, and can actually delay their physical development; they’ve even been banned in Canada, with hefty fines. So, if you see a baby walker at your local baby store, walk on by, maybe even to the manager, to ask them to consider not selling a product that can harm their target market.

Breastfeed (if you can), or borrow a breast pump.

Breastmilk is better for the baby, and better for the planet too: no equipment involved, no carbon footprint, and a major dollar-saver! Of course, not everyone is able to breastfeed successfully, but before you reach for the formula, you could consider using a breast pump. The great news is, everything except for the plastic attachments can be shared, so ask around to see if anyone you know has a pump they’re not using.

Practice the 5 Rs.

You’ve probably already heard of the 3 Rs: Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, but what about Reject and Rot? When you’re making decisions about what to buy, what to get rid of, and how to do it, try to keep the 5 Rs in mind. If you’d like some tips on how to make the 5 Rs part of your parenting life, check out this comprehensive guide[5]. There are so many ways that mamas can keep things green; the little tweaks here and there really make a difference, and the planet will thank you!

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References

[1]^  American Academy of Pediatrics: Baby on Board: Keeping Safe on a Bike

[2]^  Babycenter: Top baby costs, and how to save

[3]^  EcoWatch: Fast Fashion Is the Second Dirtiest Industry in the World, Next to Big Oil

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[4]^  Bright Hub: Environmental Pollution: How Toys Contribute to the Problem

[5]^  Happy Eco Mama: The 5 Rs for green baby-mamas: Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Rot, Reject

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Baby-On-Board-Keeping-Safe-On-A-Bike.aspx
[2] http://www.babycenter.com/top-baby-costs#articlesection5
[3] http://www.ecowatch.com/fast-fashion-is-the-second-dirtiest-industry-in-the-world-next-to-big–1882083445.html
[4] http://www.brighthub.com/environment/green-living/articles/62042.aspx
[5] https://happyecomama.com/2016/10/25/the-5-rs-for-green-baby-mamas-reduce-recycle-reuse-rot-reject/

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Lara Silbert

Freelance content writer & University of Western Australia postgraduate student

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

Reference

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