Straws, paper napkins and plates. Disposable diapers. These things aren’t great, I know that. But because of this plastic straw movement, I feel like a horrible human being (stop with the shamming already people!) every time I use a plastic straw. Which is pretty much every damn day, because I make a smoothie for me and my family every day for lunch. I used to use plastic straws, I did. But a few years ago, after my kids had these strange coughs for weeks on end, someone told me a secret. She leaned in close and said, investigate your straws. Say what? So I looked at my straws, the ones attached to sippy cups and the free floating ones I used for plastic cups with lids. What was living inside was like a science experiment. There were bumps and fuzzy things. Apparently, which I didn’t know or realize, if you don’t wash out straws with a teeny tiny special little straw brush, they grow things inside of them. This is especially true given that I live in basically a green house, and don’t have a dish washer.
That day, several years ago, I threw away all my re-usable straws, and didn’t look back.
Until recently. Now when I make a smoothie, I try to locate my plastic straws. The ones that are bent and chewed on. Because, hello, kids. I pop them in my mouth, re-bite them trying to make it circular again, so the smoothie can flow through it. When they are done, I then have to locate the special teeny tiny wire straw brush, grab the liquid soap under the sink, and proceed to wash both ends of the straw to make sure my kids aren’t sucking up mold with their next smoothie. I’m all for protein rich smoothies, but that could be a bit much. And fine, this extra step might only take me another minute while washing the rest of the dishes from lunch, but it puts me over the edge.
Maybe it’s because of the guilt. And the shamming.
Probably because it doesn’t stop at straws. I have these beautiful cloth napkins, lovely floral things, but do I use them? Nope. I use wet wipes, at the dinner table, every single day, because a napkin can’t touch the sticky mess that is my kids when they are done eating. And I tried using wash clothes but they end up smelling like funk in 2 seconds, and that doesn’t help the laundry build up issue. And when we have friends over, and I envision using my beautiful white dishes and pretty napkins, you know what I end up doing? Wait for it, I bring out paper for my guests. While I love having people over to my house, I also think it’s a lot of work. I didn’t used think that, but I guess age will do that to you. And I have three kids under five so trying to wrangle them while simultaneously filling chip bowls and drinks is, well, tiring. So at the end of all that, I would rather not have to do a huge stack of dishes. Or more laundry. Because I want to always have people over. I love having people in our home, and so if using paper products means I’m a little more excited about it, then hello 200 count paper plates from Costco. Let’s cozy up.
Because I am letting go of guilt.
And you wanna know why? Because as I was filling out my #powersheets, from Cultivate, (click here to check it out) one question was “As you work through parts of your life that need to be cultivated, what are you letting go of?”
Immediately I knew my answer. I’m letting go of guilt.
Will it be easy? I doubt it. Will it be overnight? Certainly not. Will it be absolutely life giving? I think so.
But if I’m ever to even dream about letting go of big guilt that is holding me back from certain hopes/goals/dreams, then I should probably start small. And for me, right now, that means I am using straws. And disposable diapers. And paper plates when I have friends over.
So, I’m sorry beautiful mother earth. I will love on you and protect you and care for you in other ways, and hopefully do better in a different season in life.