I am going to fight global warming.
I am going to save the whales.
I am going to help rebuild the rainforests of the Amazon.
...just as soon as my kids leave for college.
Until then? I'd like a little slack, please.
It's not that I don't care about the environment. I do care. A lot. But as a single mother of three small children who need to be clothed, cleaned, fed and serviced in a timely fashion, being "green" can really interfere with my productivity.
Don't get me wrong -- my kids and I do quite a few "green" things. We don't drink bottled water, we separate our recyclables, I carry reusable grocery bags and we even lower our water usage by turning off our sprinklers, sharing baths and turning off the tap while we brush.
But there is only so much a mom can do.
I have a job, a house to run and three kids to raise, and it's not like there's a whole lot of time for me to compost banana peels. Believe me, I've tried. A mini composter sits abandoned in my courtyard, unused, because whenever I try to read the instructions, a child gets injured, needs help with their homework or has released a hamster.
"Why don't you wait till they're asleep?" You ask. Well you know what? I'm tired. And "Downton Abbey" is on. Is that so wrong?
I want to do my part. I really do. In fact, if you can find me a "green" laundry detergent that'll get grass, blood and ketchup stains out of that white t-shirt I just bought, I'll use it; or a recycled toilet paper that doesn't cause chafing or need to be replaced every three hours, I'll buy it; or even an Earth-Friendly, lavender-scented cleanser that is guaranteed (at least 99.9%) to kill the influ-yourkidswillbepukingallnight-enza virus, and the cox-yourkidswillbeoutofschoolforaleastaweek-sackie virus, and the swine-ifyougetthisyoullwishyouweredeadandmightpossiblyactuallydie
andleaveyourkidsallalone-flu virus. Then I will lay down my bleach-infused weapons. "Build it and I will come!"
What it comes down to is I am doing what I can -- but I can't do it all. And despite my best intentions, people continue to judge me and examine my motives like I'm the Big Bad Wolf.
"My, what a big car you drive...."
"All the better to drive carpool with, my dear. And by the way, it would take 12 of your Priuses to carry a classroom of children on a field trip. I however, can carry eight children - nine if they're small and no one tells the cops."
"My, what a lot of plastic sandwich bags you put in your kids' lunches."
"All the better quickly assemble lunches, my dear. And just so you know, sandwich bags are easy to discard so I don't use an entire dishwasher load washing three kids' reusable lunch containers -- and that, of course, is IF they don't accidentally toss those expensive containers into the trash or leave them on the playground."
"My, what a lot of disposable diapers you must have used..."
"Do you know how much poop three children make?! YOU try using cloth diapers instead of a toilet for one week then come back and judge me."
See my point?
I realize this "Eco-Blasphemy" is akin to saying, "I'd like to kill polar bears with my bare hands." It's shocking and politically incorrect. So here's what I propose: When my kids grow up and move out, I'll replace all of my cleaning supplies with vinegar (even though I hate the smell), I'll finally read those composting instructions and I'll turn the kids' playroom into a solar-powered greenhouse where I'll grow hydroponic organic vegetables I can use to make my own soup, or ratatouille, or whatever it is that people make with their own organic vegetables.
And then I'll die. From exhaustion. And you can bury me in my garden as fertilizer.
I want my children, and my children's children, to have fresh air to breathe, trees to climb and clean water to drink. And I realize this won't happen by itself. I need to do my part just like everyone else. I need to do something big. Something substantial. Something that will save a polar bear! And I will...
I just need a few more years.
Follow Sarah Maizes on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SarahMaizes