Parenthood Makes Environmentalism Personal

| 5/1/2009 4:32:41 PM

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Our first child, Caitlin, was born in 1985. That’s when my universe completely changed. Parenthood was, for me, like a highly efficient contractor who came in, gutted my house, replaced all the furnishings and renovated it down to every detail. In a couple of hours. He also moved the house — to another planet.

I didn’t particularly want a child, until the first one arrived. Then, suddenly, the baby was the center of my world.

I grew up with babies in my house. I had a little brother. Later, my mom took in day-care infants. I was no stranger to parental chores. I understood the plumbing. I could warm formula, wipe away the spit-up and change the diaper. I knew about babies but I didn’t understand some people’s compulsion to have them. My wife, for example. She wanted babies. There was not, as I recall, any discussion of my opinion on the matter.

My blasé familiarity with babies, as a group, evaporated with the arrival of my own daughter. This was not just a baby. This was my baby, a totally different thing.

When Caitlin was born, I was supposed to call the extended family with the announcement. It was a tough job for me because I kept bursting into tears. Then I had to reassure everyone that the baby was fine. I was just so happy!

Two years later Noah was born and it was the same thing all over again for me, the blubbering dad.

Laura Cone
7/20/2009 10:14:49 AM

When I had my first child, my entire way of thinking changed. I went from a party girl who really only recycled, drank organic milk and refused to take OTC pharmaceuticals to a woman who makes her own butter, buys locally, makes meals from "scratch," and uses a holistic approach to health. I don't want my children growing up thinking owning "stuff" is important. I want them to feel a sense of accomplishment based on their relationships and understanding of themselves and the world around them instead of things they own. I feel the best way to do that is to live simple. Simple will vary from family to family, but for me it is focusing on our family bonds, learning to create our own entertainment and getting back to the roots of the things we need.

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