Monday, June 14, 2010

Hangin' Clothes on the 'Ol Line

If your a mom, you know there is always plenty of laundry to do. Perhaps like me you always assumed the washing machine and dryer went together like salt and pepper. I always considered them married - when you ask for the salt at the table you should recieve the salt and pepper (assuming that everyone knows their manners) - when you ask for a washer you get the washer and dryer, right? The only thing I found that separated the two were the word "and."

My first months of living here in Mexico City we didn't have a washing machine - (before you gasp)'s ok because just right across the street is the "laundry lady" and you just drop off your dirties and pick up your clean clothes in the night. Well, she was absolutely the best about ruining our clothes and she cost a near fortune - so my husband finally got me the new washing machine I had been lusting after for months. He said ..."this month we can just afford the washing machine, but I promise next month we will get the dryer since you need it because you are from the U.S. and you guys love everything fake and love to kill the planet." Kind of true. I was willing to survive this one month without my beloved dryer but, don't think it would be for any longer.

So, my husband strung out some 'ol lines in the patio and we bought some clothespins and I began laundering and hangin'...laundering and hangin'. And I must say, I never did ask for that dryer after all these months and I never will. I don't want it, I don't need it at all. I really thought I needed it and without it I have realized it is completely useless. It's just as easy to hang the clothes on the 'ol line than it is to use a very energy-consuming machine to dry clothes.

Now it is the norm here in Mexico (as well as the rest of latin America, Europe, Asia...) not to have a dryer. It is actually only the norm in the United States to have this duo- not because people cannot afford it, but because it seems frivilous and energy consuming.

Now, I will be the first to admit that nothing looks tackier than seeing lines of clothes waving in the wind. It's not pretty, seriously. But during these hot summer days it only takes about an hour for the clothes to dry out on the 'ol line and then you could sneak them back inside before anyone would ever notice! Your energy bill would shirnk drastically if you could do this one thing, it consumes about 12% of your electric bill every month. Oh, and not to mention we would have less of the rest of the world thinking we are ridiculous over-consuming humans with our abundance of "much needed" appliances. If the rest of the world doesn't need them, why do we? Now, I am not saying by any means to get rid of the dryer. I like the dryer, but couldn't we use it much less? I understand that on rainy days and cold winter days you can't hang clothes outside, but there are a variety of options available for hanging clothes inside. Think about it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Packing Green Lunches

Perhaps like me you are tired of seeing plastic bags blowing in the wind along the roads in our cities. I am tired of the plastic bag. And there are better options available. I stumbled upon these days ago and fell in love. offers reusable sandwich and snack bags in a variety of adorable designs. You just use them, wash, and use again and again. So, if you are packing lunches for your yourself, your husband, or your kids these are a great option.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Diapering: What Would the Modern American Mom Do?

After Sonny was born I spoke with my father on the phone and I remember telling him, "Geez, diapers sure are expensive!" Aware of my less than solvent financial status he smuglly replied, "Well, you'll probably have to use cloth diapers...that's probably what all the poor people use down there." I defensively responded to his remark, "huh! I'm not using cloth diapers. That's gross." I didn't want to think I was that poor or that old-fashioned...I was going to stand by my disposable diapers. I mean that is modern right... disposable diapers!?!?

Later I was to find out that it takes 500 years for diapers to biodegrade. So, previously I had thought that cloth diapers were gross...but after learning this my thinking immediately shifted...this takes the crown - that is just the grossest concept ever. I mean...MY diapers are sitting in a landfill somwhere right now...and they will be there for another 470 something years. In addition, I was also noticing this overly fragrant disguisting perfume reeking from my baby's disposable diaper. Of course this is to cover-up the toxic smell of these toxic diapers. Let me break some information down for you about disposable diapers and health concerns....

Ok, so these disposable diapers contain dyes, sodium polyacrylate (the super absorbent gel), and dioxin, which is a by-product of bleaching paper. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) some of the dyes and dioxin that is used in the diapers has been shown to cause damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, and the liver. Sodium polyacrylate has been linked in the past to toxic shock syndrome and allergic reactions. It is potentially lethal to pets and for sure very harmful. And what about those gross, pungent fragrances I was talking about? Well, those can cause headaches, dizziness and rashes. But, wait...there is more! Reports from The Consumer Protection Agency include such terrible things from these diapers as chemical burns, noxious chemical and insecticide odors, plastic melting onto the skin, and ink staining the skin. Modern right?

Ok, Now let's talk about disposable versus cloth and the Environment: With Disposables approximately 5 million tons of untreated waste and a total of 2 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper are added to landfills annually. 80,000 pounds of plastic and over 200,000 trees a year are used to make disposables for babies in the United States alone. Think about the rest of the world too. Now, some disposables claim to be biodegradable but oxygen and sunlight are required for the decomposition process which is seemingly impossible if you know what a landfill looks like. The diapers would have to be on top of the heap of trash to decompose. The untreated waste placed in landfills by dirty disposable diapers is a danger to contaminating ground water! Ewwww.... The estimate is that one baby in disposable diapers will contribute at least 1 ton of waste to your local landfill. Oh yeah... and you can save a lot of money by using cloth diapers!

These new cloth diapers are amazing, modern, well-designed, earth-friendly, without toxins, and nearly as easy as a disposable! These are NOTHING like the ones your Granny was in. The diapers that I am ordering are the Bum Genius 3.0 All-in-one which comes in a variety of colors and the Osocozy All-in-one, a cheaper alternative. They are a rather expensive investment at first but they will save you money in the long run. Many cloth diapers are adjustable and will fit the baby from 7-35 pounds. The BumGenius 3.0 will fit them from the time they start wearing diapers until the time they finish and you don't have to add diaper inserts or an external waterproof barrier to either of these options. These diapers make me wish I was in diapers! I've also switched to using re-usable "butt wipes." Again, these save a lot of money and they are very safe. A great thing to use is bamboo wipes, since bamboo is ultra-soft and a very renewable resource.

Also, if you chose to use cloth diapers -- maybe you don't have to use cloth diapers all the time, maybe just part time and think of the difference that you can make! I know when I travel on a plane there is no way Sonny will be in cloth diapers, but that is the only time I plan on having him in disposables from now on.

Check out these websites for the most posh diapers imaginable.... for the BumGenius diapers and the BumGenius bamboo butt wipes (the wipes are on sale right now too :) for the OsoCozy Fitted Organic Cotton Diapers. The Organic ones run about 11$ a peice and regular cotton are a bit cheaper. - This link was just given to me by a friend on facebook. They are awesome too! Check it out!! They offer cloth diapers and 100% biodegradable FLUSHABLE diapers. So you know the sewage is going in the sewage!

It's Nice to Meet You...

As this is my first blog post let me first introduce myself and tell you why I chose to write a blog.....
My name is Brittany and I am a new mom. I have a son, Sonny, who is currently a bit over 3 months old. I chose to write this blog to share my stupiditiy and my revelations of motherhood as well as information on hazardous (but common) things that we are putting in our childrens' lives. I think as a society we can do better than what we are doing. I believe that these changes can come about through knowledge of information. I am here to faciliate this purpose. We have a dire responsibility to make the life of our children the best that we can and that includes making the world they live in a pretty place and a safe place. I am always concerned that Sonny will have the ugliest and most polluted environment to live in if we don't start to change things. So, I call this blog the "Modern American Mom" because I feel as a society we have become very un-modern; motherhood is beginning to feel too plastic and less natural. We are too quick to get a C-section if we don't need it, we are too quick to use formula when many of us have the best natural milk to provide, we are too quick to hurry back to work to make more money instead of spending more time with our kids, we are too quick to slather on lotions with petrochemicals (which we will talk about later), we are too quick to use disposable diapers filled with harmful chemicals and dyes that will remain in a landfill for 500 years for our kids to deal with. This I believe is not the way of the modern mother.

I hope that you will follow and input your own conversation. This blog was created with the intention of provoking conversation and discussion, learning, and enlightenment; this blog was not created to judge others.
I hope that this blog will enlighten you and perhaps you can have a few revelations yourself!

Tomorrow I will be discussing diapering! Tune in for some important information on cloth versus disposables!