Natural Parenting ~ Green or not green? That is the question

10 notes wrote a blog post that really got me thinking. I wanted to post a comment, but I couldn't get my thoughts together. I have thought about it for a day or two, and thought I would just relay my experience and see if this answers any questions, as thoughts lead one to another.

"So where do you think we are now? Are people who cook from scratch, grow their own food, declutter their houses and spend very little, cloth diaper and breastfeed their babies and use their car only when necessary crazy or innovators?"...

Well, I know they are not crazy. I read once that some people store their shoes in their ovens.

"Will we see in 10 yrs that even the late majority will live on a budget and stop buying mass produced goods from huge factories? By free will and because they believe or because the world is coming to an end?

Do we have to be optimists and spread our word about how wonderful life can be this way or just shut up and do our thing until the rest will see?"

If you think of mass produced in the case of food, it is interesting to watch You Are What You Eat. Some of this food is making people potentially very sick.

To me very very complicated. I am new to simplicity and sometimes think others get their definitions mixed up, but I think I am the one that has the problem. What causes it? I don't read newspapers, watch commercial TV or listen to the radio. When I do comment on a program hubby is listening to on the ABC I get in trouble, because he assumes that I am agitated, yet again. Sometimes I am just asking questions. Why aren't we on the same page? Much time spent at work or at the other house, not necessarily of our own doing, but possible.

My Mum asked me this week, or rather told me about the price of petrol, I said I don't care about it. I didn't realise at the time, that she was referring to a media thing that hubby then filled me in on, about the price being $8 in 8 years. For me personally I am not worried about it. Apparently the prices are based on speculation, which I didn't know about, but I digress.

Are the terms, simple, green & a natural parent all interchangeable or very distinct? At first I am thinking they are very distinct, and different to each other. Then, on reflection, I thought maybe my natural parenting and breastfeeding, is green. I don't see myself as green, because green and "hippy" are often very much different from Christian. Of course, you can be green and a Christian, because they are separate. It is just that people get lumped into groups. For example, I love meals made with vegetables only. But I am not vegetarian as a label. I dislike it when people discount lovely meals with no meat because of the label vegetarian. But in reality I am vegetarian, and also love meat. I have very fond memories of eating in a prominent arcade in Melbourne years ago in a well known vegetarian restaurant, that I have been told a few months ago still exists, but now I have forgotten the name after going to all the trouble to ask.

All I can do is write of my cloth and breasfeeding history to get an idea of my sympathies.

My son, as I mentioned before was born 20 years years ago. My step-son was due to come to live with us. His Mum organised a family councilling sesson for their family and it was due around the time of my doctors appointment. Not sure which followed what, but hubby was asked to go to counselling. Anyway, my doctor found I had high blood pressure. It may not have anything to do with the issue, as it was my first baby etc. I was to be induced I think the next morning, when the counseling sesson was on? Baby stuck for 3 hours then in humicrib. Cracked nipples. Anyway, having a parent from the 60s, she encouraged me to get a bottle. I was breastfeeding and the nurse got me to supplement bottle. Of course 6 months along, baby was totally on bottle.

Next time, determined to do better. At the time it was recommended to feed baby for 12 months. I got to 14, thought I had gone past when was right and stopped. Same with next baby. On the fourth baby I thought I'd do extended breastfeeding, and I did that to 4 years and 6 months, same with the next baby. Really they were only going to sleep that way in the end. After watching Super Nanny, I am starting to feel a little foolish, I respect Super Nanny a lot.

Cloth was the opposite, I used cloth nappies exclusively with my first three children. Just the squares or rectangles, flats they call them now. Flannelette for the first 6 months or so with velcro pilcers or covers, then terri with plastic pants. I didn't know how to use disposables. My fourth was cloth until we moved house at 3 years. I didn't train them until quite late. My fifth baby was in cloth until over 1 year old after the incident when the water in the tank in our practise treechange year ran out, combined with running two houses and perhaps being in a strange laundry. I definitely was upset when the garbage was strewn over the dirt road one day and I was picking it up, and one disposable was broken and I saw the beads inside. I had no idea. So being green and wearing cloth could be related for sure. What is being green anyway, for the environment or yourself. Perhaps for yourself it is being natural?

With cloth I lived with a family that did cloth, and hubby did cloth, so I copied them.

A point I often refer to is the aging Australia problem. The largest groups of people are the baby boomers. As they all retire, and that is under 20 years, more like 10 for most of them perhaps, I suppose it depends on their retirement funds as to whether they will have to spend less money or consume less. And are retirement funds available to spend dependent on the economy?

Cooking from scratch and growing your own food. This is something my family have always done. So to me it is was a given. Because I was married young by modern standards, and my husband had established his way of doing things in the household, keeping a budget, growing food and cooking and preserving came as a package with hubby. Maybe he is the innovator? I had been cooking in my flat for a little while, I remember wondering about how you flavour meat stews. I had learnt to cook at school, quite a few hours a week for 3 years. It was how all girls at our school were educated, then in the 4th year you could go on to learn other things more career or job related. So after being with hubby my cooking skills matured and I learnt preserving though I had been around it all my life. He still has the superior skills because of the science aspect and having a good eye for things. But I think lately some of my knowledge of food has improved his cooking as well, 24 years later. How did I learn about food. I was very blessed to have a vegetarian uncle who spent time loaning me his non-fiction books on nutrition. He taught me various things as we both lived with Nana and Grandpa for awhile in my teenager years and we sometimes ate what he was eating, they both cooked. There were a lot of housewives interested in the produce at the health food shops in those days. My Mum, Nana and hubby's Mum as well.

What kind of things did Uncle eat that were different, that I learnt something from? Grilling capsicums, particularly yellow ones, and peeling off the skin, soaking them in oil and garlic in a saucer. Part of this is often seen on cooking shows these days. Eating cooked normal Aussie potatoes with kelp. I bought some kelp recently, and either my tastes have changed or the kelp has, I suspect it is the latter. I was taught to eat brewer's yeast, learn the wonder foods. Yesterday I mentioned eating muesli with hot water, yoghurt and honey. So therefore I was introduced to plain yoghurt. Lots of things really.

I've gone back to the inspiration of 10 notes post, Rhonda's original post to help clear up my confusion and add something that makes sense, I hope.

"A few years ago, when I started to live more simply, my friends and family thought I was a bit of a nutter to want to give up spending, cook from scratch and save resources."

I think only lately have I given up spending. I mean it literally. I don't have the desire to spend. I actually bought our new house this time last year to give me more opportunity to spend in part. But work has progressed slowly with the works, and still more work by hubby is needed, while I think a lot. I feel maybe myself, hubby and the children should have more clothes etc. Both hubby and I need shoes, yesterday. Well, mine are OK to a point. The shoes we will get won't be the lasting kind, they are not here to buy. I will get mine at the Athlete's Foot, which means a 1 1/2 hour drive.

I was considering what to post at lunchtime, and my thoughts were too radical to write. But here it is, we all have lots of social conditioning, and a certain amount of brainwashing. If there is another word kinder, please use that one instead. If you don't believe me, if you were brought up to say, go out on New Year's Eve; try not doing it one year, and see how hard it is. However, if you get rid of all your conditioning I believe you are in slight danger of things going too far. You need these things in some ways to enjoy life and to keep going. However, simple living is a very nice state to me in, and if you have no other major stresses, is how life is meant to be lived, I think. It was the way my Grandparents and hubby's Grandparents modeled their life for us.

I have heard say "I don't want to be like Dad" secondhand from someone. If they meant that they don't want to live retirement sitting in a grape vine covered little one sided shed, with a great view of the garden and peaceful surroundings, not me, I would love that. I have missed being able to do that. Maybe I only enjoyed it at the time, because in some areas of our life we did have stress, or maybe it is a great way to live when you have small children. But I love gardens, nature and plants, so I think I would enjoy it.

Back to petrol. Because the child support system was the way it is back then, and I have heard recently changed, we felt we had little money. But really it was inherited by hubby's father. He has for a long time driven with his car on LPG. When we had an opportunity through a lump sum payment to buy a car on gas, we took it. We needed a car for all our children, which was overplanning, because my stepchildren left home one at a time not long after that. So we got an 8 seater on gas. We always had enough room for whatever we wanted to do. We have a 7 seater car now, and when helping our eldest shift found we were one seat short, but we managed.

There is a queue in Canberra to put cars onto LPG, which is great because when I go to replace our current car I will be able to find one to buy.

So what I am getting out of this is that what we do is then a heritage to our children.

Part of Lake Hume

Yes, American frugality was to save money to spend it. Yes, American's are hurting now. (By the way Australia has an official name too, it is the Commonwealth of Australia, obviously CA has been taken a couple of times. Don't believe me? Our money had it printed on it, then it was simplified down.) But it was much the same in the 1980s here when I think Malcolm Fraser was said to have said that Life Wasn't Meant to Be Easy. He was our Prime Minister. I read up on it on the internet, and he said that at a different time, and the opposition brought it up in a different time frame about a different thing. But he said that it helped his case, because Australian's could identify with it, which I did myself. I think there is a lot of truth in it, and other's must too. When you had little money in the 1980s, there were no cheap things you could buy. Now, there are, which is good in some ways. There was no ebay, some towns like our mill town had no good op-shops when others did. No Aldi.

America not so much "got it" but their economy went downhill because of lending to people that shouldn't have borrowed. In Australia we have a strange phenomena happening, especially in Victoria. Melbourne's real estate was the fastest growing in the world. People are probably embracing treechange etc. because it makes sense to cash in their house. Also most people in Australia before this treechange lived all in the same places. So with things like piping water, that is the idea that pleases the people who live in these populaced areas, or so it looks from outside. Having people more spread out can only be good for Australia. Quite a large population in Australia is probably squashed 2 hours from Melbourne. The people change once you get outside those areas, or the group thinking perhaps.

If you watch Escape to the Country English people are using capital to buy two homes. Usually a flat in London and a country home. I must add here as part of my treechange experience, if you lived in the country in the 60s you may find it different now.

Our country, we were taught at school was socialist, not capitalist like America. Our water now that we have become more capitalist is privately owned. Some of our water is sold. The water that was saved to fill up places like Lake Hume, look like it never got there. Lots of lakes were originally to have a stage 2 built but they never did. I am not an expert on water, so I am not going to say I am right or wrong about it, but people don't realise these places are not public anymore so hard to compare to what went on in the past. A note: one of the banks in America they may buy out with Government money, so maybe they are more socialist than immediately obvious. I wonder if they have credit unions? Credit unions are not corporate and we have found them very good.

In answer to 10 notes original question. What helped me a lot was to watch Outrageous Wasters. I think a lot of knowledge the older generations have about these issues, perhaps the younger ones have missed, and this is a trendy way to pick it up. I know my son loves Carbon Cops. I watched it once and some things that they mention are things we have done ourselves, and continue to do. Our hometown was a very hot place, and cold as well. A lot of things were necessary for just comfort. Sleeping in a West facing room without those things was very depressing for example.

How many of the houses built above are totally from double income people with high debt, and how many are people that have moved to the country? I was informed that these are flats. A long way from either Melbourne or Sydney, if anyone is thinking of treechanging there. Lots of great country cities are outside the 2 hour distance from Melbourne or Sydney, but they do have a great airport. (Maybe there are lots and lots of country towns with buildings like that. I'd say there was.) Having said that I am not sure how many simple living people could relate to those houses. So whatever we call ourselves, and however much we disagree on the finer points we have a lot in common. Maybe if we were in a different place in a different time we would have gone down that route ourselves?


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flmom said…
I will have to check out your link about you are what you eat. That is one thing I have come to personally strongly believe since we went down the organic path years ago ... you are what you eat (or what you use on your body).
C10 said…
Interesting post! Funny how my questions inspired you. Now I have more to think about. :-)

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