Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Vintage Green Raincoat

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage green!

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month we're writing about being green — both how green we were when we were young and how green our kids are today. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

I have a bright green raincoat I love to wear-its rubbery coating means I actually stay totally dry on wet days, and its mid-thigh length means even the tops of my legs benefit from this wonderful dryness. I've worn it to shop in, to run in, and all sorts of other rainy day activities. But I'll let you in on a little secret: it's actually a GapKids size XXL from about 1994. It used to belong to my big brother when he was in 4th and 5th grade. But in my family, we don't throw old clothes away: we hand them down. So when my brother outgrew it, it went into the coat closet until I grew into it a few years later.

Besides this raincoat, I was also a regular recipient of hand-me-downs from a girl at church who, like me, had no sisters. Luckily she had great taste in clothes and I got tons of compliments when I wore her old things. More recently, almost all my maternity clothes and a few of my nursing tops were generously given to me by my husband's aunt who had worn them herself about 3 years ago, and we've been dressing our son in the hand-me-downs from her toddler. When Baby is a big brother, his siblings will wear the same adorable little outfits he did (plus a few new things here and there).

"Hand-me-downs" get a bad rap; many people think it's shameful, an indication you can't afford new clothes. Many people who wear hand-me-downs are embarassed to admit it and do so quietly. But I think hand-me-downs are highly underrated, and actually one of the best traditions in our society. In fact, here are the top 5 reasons I think hand-me-downs are great:
  • Good for the pocketbook-since they are generally free, they save lots of money over buying all your family's clothes new.
  • Good for the environment-reusing clothes saves resources used in the clothing itself and in the manufacturing process.
  • Good for your pride-it's a lot harder to base your worth on material things when your material things are last season (or older) and have already been worn by someone else. It just becomes less of a priority.
  • Good for your imagination-you have to be creative to incorporate old clothes into your wardrobe in a fashionable way.
  • Good for nostalgia-when I wear my raincoat, I think about hiking through a French forest and exploring Irish castles with my big brother. A new coat wouldn't have those fun memories!

So next time you realize that pair of jeans is just never going to fit again, complete the bittersweet weaning of your youngest and don't need nursing tops anymore, or your 8 old's shirts are suddenly all 3/4 sleeves, pass them on. Pass them on to your younger kids, your cousins, your friends. Pass them on to other families in your playgroup or La Leche League meeting group. And don't be ashamed of wearing your favorite hand-me-downs. Proudly go out into the world and don your vintage green raincoats!

You Tell Me: What's your favorite hand-me down you've received or given (or both)?

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Code Name: Mama and Hobo MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants.
(This list will be updated March 9 with all the carnival links.)

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I just migrated here from http://www.mamanadroit.typepad.com/ where I was unhappy with the limitations of typepad's free blogs. I'll repost my best posts here plus resume tomorrow with my normal blogging. Thanks for checking it out!