I call myself a moderate. I firmly believe that you attract more bees with honey, so why would I take on the “My way or the highway” mentality? The only realm I don’t take a moderate stance in is safety. For example, I’m always going to be a bit over the top careful and advocating for carseat safety. However, when it comes to everything else, I’m going to live the way I feel reflects what I want to share.
So, we live a green life, eat a natural and mostly organic diet, and share this information in non-threatening ways.
For instance, when a group of Moms was talking about laundry, I shared using apple cider vinegar in the wash instead of bleach when a Mom mentioned that she felt bleach was necessary to get rid of the musty smell. A couple weeks later, when I saw that Mom again, she told me she had made the switch and it was working great.
We recycle everything and usually have at least twice as much recycling out as our neighbors. When they ask “why”, and “how”, I get to share some recycling tips and help educate our neighbors on what is recyclable.
I breastfed my children and did it without shame. I have a license plate frame that reads, “Breast is Best” and I will share tips for successful breastfeeding WHEN ASKED. I’m not going to walk around making other Moms feel bad or guilty over their choices. Right now, I have several pregnant friends and we have had many conversations about breastfeeding and they know I’m there for support and advice. But I’m not going to harass them if they opt for bottles and formula (though I will internally cringe).
When the price of diapers comes up in a conversation, I share the cost comparison of cloth diapers and elimination communication. Has this made anyone switch over? Probably not, but it does make them think. And if a parent decides to do E.C. or cloth even part time, that’s a step in the right direction.
Our friends, family and acquaintances all know about our food choices and I’m always glad to share recipes and tips with them. When we host dinners or parties, they see firsthand what it means to eat naturally (and that its TASTY). I always include a disclaimer on party invites about our menu (esp. the kids parties) stressing natural foods and allergy friendly menus.
I will NEVER tell someone (nor do I believe) that I have all the answers or that my way is the only right way. I believe that every little step toward a greener life is a positive step and I don’t ever put down someone’s effort. I will share shopping experiences and tell tales of using reusable shopping bags and suggest natural cleaning alternatives.
But then, I’m also not the type to go knocking on doors to spread my religion (because no one likes EXTREMISTS whatever their cause).
The funny thing is (not ha-ha funny, clown funny… tragically so) is that people listen, share and like to have these conversations with me because of my moderate and gentle mentality. I am without a doubt, an Environmentalist… I’m also the highly involved Mom and I put the safety and health of my family first. But you won’t find me taking the extremist mentality to get a point across.
It just isn’t necessary to make others feel poorly so that I can feel superior in my beliefs or actions.
By moderation I don’t mean to go green lightly, but rather tread lightly when educating others. It’s perfectly okay to go whole-hog in your own greening, but think about the best method to educate others so that they will be receptive and might start making changes. Telling them its all or nothing is not going to do it.
So go ahead and enjoy a glass of wine, just not the whole bottle… your friends and family will appreciate you a lot more.
I agree. No one likes a know it all and that is a sure way to alienate people. I have friends all over the green spectrum. Although conservation and the environment are important to me, I do not choose my friends on how green they may or may not be.
Good post, moderation is a painless solution to an alarmingly high amount of our problems. It is also imperative that we try to convince others of our views in just the same way we would like to be convinced. One thing I’d like to point out, however, is that one area I notice moms lacking moderation is in safety. Sure, we should go to great lengths to reduce risks that are reasonably risky and preventable, but the degree to which “safety” becomes fear can be surprising. For instance, check out this video from TED about carseats:
I think it is as important to not be alarmist about these sorts of things as anything else. Over the top safety is just that: over the top. I would still suggest using carseats until people like Mr. Levitt can further substantiate their research and provide more effective alternatives. However, we should face issues of safety with the same doubt and criticism that we would with anything else.
To some extent, even risk itself is something that must be approached in moderation. It may be especially difficult for mothers to accept this (understandably so), but the extremes of risk aversion can detrimentally affect the lives of you and yours just like any other extreme.
I think your message about moderation in being an activist/teacher/resource and breastfeeding/formula and bottle would be better conveyed if you removed the parenthetical about you cringing internally if someone you know opted to use formula or a bottle.
Those who have failed at breastfeeding or have chosen not to breastfeed, for any number of reasons, generally bear a lot of guilt all on their own and feel as if they must always fully explain to others that they TRIED breastfeeding and it didn’t work because of A, B, C and yes they tried 1, 2, 3 or they couldn’t because of a, b, c. In the end there ARE situations where the breast is not best. So if your friends who read this, ever have to use a bottle or formula (including those who work in industries where pumping is just not feasible…or those who fall ill and breastfeeding is not an option), they’ll now know that although you’re preaching tolerance and understanding to their face, inside you’re judging. That is contrary to the entire purpose of your post…and generally what this blog tries to accomplish.