We all want to be “green moms” but it isn’t always easy. It can be daunting, seem too expensive and too time-consuming. Queue the music because two moms, Joy Hatch and Rebecca Kelley, have just released The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. And it’s filled with down-to-earth ways for parents to save money and the planet. We are so excited to share this interview with you!
What inspired you to write The Eco-nomical Baby Guide?
We have been friends for decades and always kept in touch, but when our pregnancies overlapped, the emails started piling up. We shared information with each other about cloth diapering, buying used and buying less. Saving thousands of dollars and heaps of landfill fodder, we wanted to share the win-win concept of economical green living with other expectant families. We started with Greenbabyguide.com and then bit by bit, began working on The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. Since the recession has hit, our message feels even more relevant, and we hope it can reach a large audience.
What has been the biggest surprise for you personally as you began your journey as a “green parent”?
It’s not hard—and in many ways it’s easier than mainstream parenting. Some people think that to be green you have to bake wheat germ teething biscuits in a solar oven or wear recycled burlap. Not true! Going green with baby can actually simplify life in many ways. Cloth diapering helps us avoid desperate trips to the store for pampers. Buying secondhand toys means that you can have more money to splurge on the new items you really want—like The Sealy Naturalis crib mattress with organic cotton.
What has been the greatest challenge to green parenting?
Going green is an endless journey—which can seem overwhelming. There is no point at which you can say, “I’ve arrived!” and drink a toast to your eco-friendly prowess. So, rather than getting discouraged with the fact that there are always new things we can do, we emphasize progress rather than perfection. Green guilt isn’t helpful, but making small shifts on a regular basis can be fun!
What are 3 green choices/changes that any parent can do to start down the path to living a greener life?
- Buy less: Do you really need a diaper wipe warmer? Is your baby going to enjoy a vibrating seat, a bouncer and a swing? Sometimes we get so overwhelmed with baby’s arrival that we feel buying everything will prepare us. Instead, try to minimize those purchases and remember that you can always pick things up later in baby’s life.
- Buy used: With the exception of crib mattresses and bottles which should be purchased new, you can get everything baby needs used. Craigslist, Ebay, consignment shops and Freecycle can provide you with a wealth of top quality goods for 50-90% less. For older kids, you can pick up wagons, bikes, and toys for huge discounts—and your little one will never know the difference!
- Try eco-friendly diapers: Cloth has come a long way over the years (No pins or plastic pants!) Now you can choose from a myriad of cloth options, hybrid diapers with flushable liners, and greener disposables. If you opt to try cloth, you’ll save hundreds or even thousands of dollars and keep one ton of waste out of the landfill.
In many ways, writing a book is like birthing a baby. There is the gestation period, the growing period, the birthing time when the book is published and then the nurturing time as your book “grows up.” What would you say is your favorite part of your new book?
I’m just so proud of this book! Throughout the writing process we were totally focused on creating a simple, practical guide that could entertain as well as educate. We wanted to keep green guilt at bay while presenting the basics that we wish we would have known back when we were pregnant. I’m most happy when new moms share how much they love the book.
With all that you are juggling – mom, wife, writer, speaker, etc. etc.- how do you keep your sanity?
I’m lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband—and it was a tremendous help to have Rebecca as a co-author. One of us would often get overwhelmed or exhausted, but we were able to cheer each other on through hundreds of drafts as we crafted the high quality book that we both wanted for our readers.
Now for a quick glance into Joy & Rebecca’s life.
What is the one thing you look forward to everyday?
Joy: The best alarm clock ever—i.e. my children. They pile into bed with us every morning for a short snuggle and it’s a great way to start the day.
If you had a “free day” with no commitments or obligations, what would you do with it?
Rebecca: Two things I find hard to do with a little one running around are reading and writing—so I’d take advantage of the quiet to get caught up on novels and little projects. A free day with my four-year-old would definitely involve cookies, the library, and—weather permitting—a trip to the park.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Joy: Eugene, Oregon—which is coincidentally where I reside! It’s one of the greenest cities in the nation and is just a few hours drive to coast, mountains, and desert.
Rebecca: And I’d choose Portland, where I live now, for the same reasons!
What is your favorite activity with kids?
Joy: Hiking, camping, and just being outdoors. I love letting them plunk pebbles into river water, make leaf boats in streams, and dig in the dirt. Having that relationship with nature is the heart of my commitment to going green and it’s fun to share that with them. (We know this makes Ranger Rick at the NWF proud!)
What is your one “must have” baby product?
Rebecca: We lived in a really small house when Audrey was born and didn’t buy much—but I couldn’t have lived without cloth diapers! Some may use cloth to save money or help out the environment, which were big motivators for me as well. But somehow I became obsessed with them, reading all about them, fawning over new styles, admiring the way they looked on my baby!
If someone was going to write a book of your life, what would the title be?
Joy and Rebecca: This would sort of be a title for our long and adventurous friendship: From Dorms to Diapers, because we met as young university students in the residence halls and kept up our friendship through years of foreign travel and graduate school, and then co-wrote a book together when we were both in the trenches of early motherhood.
We know you will love Joy & Rebecca’s new book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide and one lucky winner will receive an autographed copy! It’s easy to enter the contest!
Mandatory to enter contest:
- Check out Joy & Rebecca’s Green Baby Guide website and leave a comment on our website about your favorite post.
- Like the Green Baby Guide on Facebook & leave a comment on our blog that you “like” them
- Like Kolcraft on Facebook & leave a comment on our blog that you “like” us.
Contest ends this Wednesday night at midnight CST