The Green Adventure

Thursday, August 31, 2006

So, I'm not the only one...

I just read a wonderful article by Christine Gardner. Check it out... "How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bus" A mom in middle America attempts to survive a month without a car. Did we mention she has two small children?

I saw her article yesterday, and just had a chance to read it. I’m soooo encouraged to see other mothers out there who are equally and more committed to this issue. A few lines that rung true to my experience…

“’It's the same as a wheelchair,’ she said. I suppose that's true. ‘Having kids is like being handicapped,’ she added. Hmm.”

“I can sit at the playground closest to my house, across a parking lot from a swimming club, and watch minivans come and go for hours. To my knowledge, I'm the only mom who walks there.”

“I wish the world didn't see a pedestrian and her sweaty baby as objects of pity.”

“Month after month, Parents magazine implores moms to see the dangers. Germs. Pacifiers. Bottle feeding. Cribs. Carseat installation. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. And that's just a sampling of the August issue.
But nothing is more unsafe than creating an inhospitable world for our children. While sacrifice might seem like the only option for an eco-friendly mom, it doesn't have to be. If women changed the way we think about modern motherhood, choosing pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods near local stores, life could get easier. Women would have company, possibly even next door, and softball could return to something the neighborhood kids organize among themselves.”

Though we will likely only be in Ann Arbor a short while longer, my experience has forced me to really consider where I live in terms of where I spend most of my time. I don’t expect that we will give up driving completely, but it would be nice to arrange life to be walkable (which is easier than “busable”) 90% of the time with driving (preferably in a hybrid or plug-in hybrid) reserved for travel or weekly or monthly big shopping trips. Then, public transportation could be used for commuting, and walking or biking could be used for daily activities. I do think that if our neighborhoods were organized more in this way then we would have less simmering loneliness and boredom as isolated mothers. The day-to-day struggles that we’ve been discussing in all of my mothers groups would be better supported by close-by neighborhood parents helping each other in the role of extended families.

I actually don’t see eco-friendly living as sacrifice. I see it as simpler, more delicious, closer knit friends and neighbors, more adventurous and more relaxing. Since I don’t see the suburbs “going away” any time soon, I hope that they will soon be more like close together small towns with the neighborhood school, park, lake, pool, running trail, grocery store, farmers market and eco-Target (something like that is in the works by a green business entrepreneur) with access to nearby cities for festivals, date nights and work by public transportation. Check out the podcasts at www.morehipthanhippie.com for more on that perspective of fun, joyful, eco-friendly living. Let’s start looking at what we will be gaining rather than what we will be giving up as mothers of young children growing up in sustainable communities. Of course what they will gain is immeasurable, but what we will gain may soothe some of the most raw pain that we feel as mothers with too much on our plates.

1 Comments:

  • I agree with the article that strollers on the bus are an inconvenience - not just to the pusher, but to others on the bus too. My solution: I have my little one walk, with a sling for backup. I figure, if I'm taking the bus, I'm not in a hurry (let's be honest here), and she'll learn that she, too, can get somewhere without a personal "set of wheels" to carry her.

    IMHO, we (society) don't expect enough from our kids; they can do a lot more than more people think. By expecting her to walk as much as she can, I've got a 2.5er who can easily, and cheerfully, walk the near mile to the grocery store, library, or playground. (I'm always prepared to carry her home, but I rarely need to do so.)

    By Blogger observer, at 1:43 PM  

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