Mum guilt. It’s almost become a cliché to talk about it – “Oh I feel so guilty about how much screen time my little one gets”…. “I took my toddler to his childminder and then went straight back home and sat down with a book and a cuppa – I felt so guilty!”… “My daughter doesn’t eat enough fruit and veg!”…
It seems like we’re forever battling the urge to feel guilt over some aspect of our parenting habits, which is definitely in part down to a) being able to see how everyone else parents thanks to the wonders of social media b) the level of judgement that the media still seems to throw at parents. But of course we don’t really see how everyone else parents, do we? We just see a filtered version. A shove-the-mess-out-of-shot-and-oh-look-my-child-is-eating-quinoa-again version of parenting.
While I was interviewing her on my podcast, a couple of years ago, Anya Hayes, author of The Supermum Myth – said to me that when she feels guilty, she asks herself: ‘Can you do something to change this? If you can, do it. If you can’t, then stop feeling guilty about it.’ She said that sometimes guilt is a useless emotion – for example, I used to feel guilty that my daughter was an only child for so long, but this was down to fertility issues rather than being my fault so the guilt was pointless and just made me feel bad. However guilt sometimes appears to act as a reminder – a prompt – for us to make a change.
It’s great advice. And something I remembered recently when I felt overwhelmed by guilt over one BIG THING:
The number of nappies and wipes that we go through, as a family with twin toddlers.
The thought of the environmental impact of this is something that sits heavily in the pit of my stomach. It’s that thing that creeps into my mind at 3am, when I’m struggling to get to sleep and my brain decides it’s the ideal time to think about it, pick it apart and convince me that I’m a terrible person.
Like many people, my eyes have been opened in the past few years, when it comes to living more sustainably. It’s been a process of learning and changing habits, and I’m aware we can do more. We use reusable water bottles and coffee cups, we take canvas bags to the supermarket, we drop crisp packets at our local TerraCycle drop-off point. But for ages I’ve had this nagging voice in my head about nappies, wipes and landfill.
For many parents, reusable nappies aren’t an option due to cost, time and space. For us, in the spirit of being totally honest, it comes down to convenience. Having twins, we wanted to make things as easy as possible for ourselves and the thought of getting our heads around reusable nappies and the extra laundry, when we already had a lot of stuff to get our heads around (and extra laundry!) was too much. Our mental health took priority.
So up until now, we’ve been buying supermarket-own-brand nappies because they’re cheaper than branded nappies, and when you go through as many as we do, it makes a difference to our bank balance. But here’s the thing: when you go through as many as we do, it makes a difference to the environment.
And let’s not forget about wipes. We’ve been loyal to a particular brand of wipes for our entire parenting journey – they were recommended to us when I was pregnant with my eldest (“They’re the next best thing to using cotton wool and water,” my friend told me) and we’ve bought them ever since. 99% water it says on the packet. So imagine my shock when I discovered that they’re made of 35% plastic. Great for my babies’ skin. Not so great for the planet. Looking into this further, I discovered that the brand that boasts that their wipes are made of 99.9% water and just a drop of fruit extract (sounds lovely!) contain 80% plastic. Mind. Blown.
So what have I done with this guilt and information? I’ve made a change.
We have switched to using Pura wipes, which are 100% plastic free, biodegradable & compostable. They’re made from biodegradable plant fibres, the ingredients are 99% water and aloe vera, there’s no allergens, perfume or chlorine and the packaging is recyclable.
Pura is also the most accredited baby care brand. The baby wipes are suitable for sensitive and eczema-prone skin, they’re certified vegan and they are accredited by the British Skin Foundation, Allergy UK, the FSC and the Soil Association.
Pura wipes are currently available to buy at mypura.com – a one time purchase of ten packs is £22.90 (£2.29 per pack) but if you subscribe, you get a 10% discount. All orders get free next day delivery – I love getting them delivered to my home because it means not having to lug big multi-packs of wipes back from the supermarket!
So it’s a no brainer, really. When I can do that bit extra to look after the planet – a planet that my kids are growing up on – and do it so easily, I’m in.
And I’m absolutely delighted to share that I’m going to be working with Pura over the next few months. It’s a real honour to be asked to spread the word about a new brand which is aiming to help parents make more sustainable choices. I can’t wait to tell you more about Pura and the products they have available and coming out.