Thoughtful Consumption

Just a Really Big Term for Thinking Smart (and Small!)

Some days I feel like I'm Pigpen of the Peanuts Gang ~ constantly followed by an insidious cloud of eco anxiety-borne dust, billowing around my beat up Vans. My jobs and work-from-home lifestyle promote a compulsion to checking Facebook and Instagram with a trufan's fervor, which pretty much exposes me to an unrelenting edit of disastrous climate change, images of the skinniest polar bear ever, and more debate about boneheaded decisions to reverse environmental regulations. These threats on constant display are so pervasive in my Feed and thoughts that it feels like the only way to handle it is to retreat from the whole vortex and hide in the bathroom. However, I always make the mistake of passing my glorious 'me' time on the Big White Telephone accompanied by my handy delivery of doom device, so even there, I'm not safe from NPR or my favorite Alt National Park Service. Reflexively, I'm concerned about what the world will be like for my kids after I've 360'd the Big White Telephone in that final vortex of my own. As Mamas, is this feeling of fear for the future for our children something that keeps you in a whirling cycle of panic too?  If you're a Soon-To-Be, consider that becoming a parent is a totally appropriate moment to navel-level examine the long view, given that you're about to be responsible for yet another eating, pooping, consuming machine (but oh so cute, and check out that 'hamburger bun'!)

My proactive approach was to address my concerns about our destructive impact on the environment and our society's addiction to conspicuous, unrelenting spending (mainly in the form of shoes, for me) by embracing Thoughtful Consumption. By mindfully considering our consumption of products, we make a small step in the direction of meaningful action to beat down that Swirling Tornado of Doom. It's that small difference between Buy Now and Add to Cart that keeps us one Prime click away from a stack of boxes that will eventually bury us all. Below, check out some ways Thoughtful Consumption can help you to lessen the impact of your choice to get into this parenting game.

New or New To You?

Decide what's a 'Must Buy New' versus used, borrowing, or sharing. Just because this is typically the time of the biggest free-for-all shop fest since your transition from single to Coupled, a Baby Registry doesn't have to be a laundry list of luxury items that rival old school Wheel of Fortune. Don't use store registries, BabyList, or Amazon as anything other than conversation starters to solicit opinions from your experienced friends and maybe relatives.  Use them as a leaping off point for smoothly segueing into why these same friends should consider lending these items to you. Giving 'Early Years' products a chance at a second life is a great way of reducing your baby's carbon footprint and grows your Mama Circle all at the same time. Two things that could save the earth, and maybe you, too! Also, create an alternative list where you can ask for things you will really need, like 2 hours of nobody-gets-to-touch-me time or the only plastic thing I'll ever endorse, the Frida Baby Mom Washer (Intrigued? Check it out here!)

Invest Sparingly

Try to accurately evaluate your needs before you go big on baby products investment. You might think you are saving time by ordering DEEP on the 3 month onesies before even bringing home the newborn, but your experience with the ONE - you know, that miracle onesie that can actually come off overhead sans Skunk Stripe or socks that stay on without you covertly wondering if duct tape is an option - should inform you of how many of each product to buy and which ones work best for you as a basic. You're going to be doing a crap ton of washer loads, so having 12 of everything isn't going to mean you can get away with laundry only once per week, 'cuz a done onesie is definitely a DONE onesie. Lean into it (and we mean that literally, invest lean) and while you're add it, grab some of these low water use, no plastic, sustainably packaged laundry Dropps.

Step back

Crowdsourcing product recommendations is a great way to get to know things your friends really really like (and probably have an Ambassador's code for) and is also likely to expose you to only a very specific set of options that will still leave you spinning in Too-Much-Choice Land. A Thoughtful Consumption approach is to take a step back and ask about solving the problem through actions instead of exposing yourself to the social dilemma of selecting only one friend's Fave Pick. Maybe you'll get some product suggestions, but by phrasing it carefully, we think you'll get that one friend who really knows the trick to masterful burping to offer up the deets rather than yet another suggestion for Infants' Mylicon Drops.

Meet Up

A great step in forming first hand opinions about something you've probably never done before is to dive in  and learn through experience. Interested in whether cloth diapering might be in the cards for you? Check out local support groups, attend a meeting and ask some probing questions. Lose your inhibition and make some new friends who might be willing to let you shadow them on a  day of diapers, diapers, and more diapers. (I bet if you bring some of this awesome coffee, you'll be pretty welcome!) Getting educated early and learning experientially about things is a great way to really inform yourself holistically by putting yourself in someone else's shoes. It's a method of learning you'll retain under duress (lahem - insane levels of sleep deprivation!) and will get you more personal and immediate answers than all the feverish Googling you can muster. If cloth diapering is an area of interest for you, check out this link to handy local resources.

Built in History

Choose well made products you can pass on, whether to your next or a Mom pal's, and build a history into the objects you'll always love. There's nothing like an heirloom quality baby quilt for adding to your memory bank of baby firsts (and spit up, but, hey, spit happens.) A little dirt along the way is how family history is made, Mama!  Who wouldn't love a pair of baby Chucks that have been lovingly placed on of all your girlfriends' just about-to-grow bellies?  The loving anticipation poured into those cute baby announcement props will be even richer for how many lives have been projected with the same super tiny pair. It's certainly a history you can share a little more openly than what really happened at the last bachelorette party.

So there you have it, a dive into a truly foundational part of our Cocoongoods manifesto.  If you love what we're all about, connect with us on social and let us know! (And please share with a friend whom you think just might need to back away from the Prime, okay?!)

 P.S. Wondering if Eco-Anxiety is really a thing? It is! Check out this article for a descriptive take on the topic.

 

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