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.
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)?
Visit 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.)
- My Momma Was a Hippie — Jessica at This is Worthwhile is continuing her Earth Momma mother's way of honoring nature by taking her child outside every day. (@tisworthwhile)
- Mom Did Know Best, About Diapers at Least — Guavalicious at They Are So Cute When They Are Sleeping has a dirty secret about cloth diapers: They're easy. (@guavalicious)
- The Force that Drives the Water Through the Rocks — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest remembers her first spiritual connection with nature, granted to her through her father's care for the spirits of the earth.
- Confessions of a Cabbage Patch Kid — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma learned about landfills and recycling through gardening. (@kitchenwitch)
- Seeing My Grandmother Through Green Colored Lenses — Michelle at Seeking Mother was raised by a grandmother who wouldn't let anyone throw out used clothing — ever — and who believed baths were water enough for two or more people at least. (@seekingmother)
- Through Green Tinted Glasses — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis realized her family didn't so much choose green as it chose them, since not being green would have cost a lot more.
- Green or Die! — NavelgazingBajan at Navelgazing remembers berating her family for not turning off the faucets — and notes that her efforts to save the planet for another 20 years must have worked.
- Natural Parenting Carnival: Green Living — Sarah at Natural Parenting is doing more to make her children's generation green than what she had as a child.
- Natural Parenting Carnival: Vintage Green — pchanner at A Mom's Fresh Start used to fill her own water bottles from a spring — before doing so was cool. (@pchanner)
- Getting Dirty — Molly at Molly's Place is inspired by her mother's camaraderie with nature. She's going to get back in touch with the real food cycle, as opposed to the "shrink-wrapped nutrition" you can buy. (@KPMolly)
- My Vintage Green Raincoat — Mama at Maman A Droit is wearing her brother's bright green raincoat — 16 years later! (@MamanADroit)
- Vintage Green — Darcel at Mahogany Way hasn't realized it yet, but she is slowly turning into her parents. ;) (@MahoganyWayMama)
- Vintage Green — mrs green at littlegreenblog reminds us that children can be green simply by being kids. (@myzerowaste)
- March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage Green — Lauren at Hobo Mama was eco-chic before it was en vogue. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Growing Up Green — Chrystal at Happy Mothering honed her green instinct from an early age. (@HappyMothering)
- greener pastures — The Grumbles at Grumbles and Grunts has a list of ways she's transitioning from green living as a novelty to green living as a lifestyle. (@thegrumbles)
- Vintage Green: The Hot Water Tank Is Not Sexy — Zoey at Good Goog had to go green when moss started growing around her feet. (@zoeyspeak)
- We Walked Softly — Starr at Earth Mama wrote a beautiful post about how her parents instilled a love of and respect for Earth and nature in her, and how she is passing that gift on to her own children.
- Save the Mermaids! — CurlyMonkey is learning from her daughter how to keep the mermaids happy. (@curlymonkey_)
- March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage Green — Dionna at Code Name: Mama sees glimpses of her mother's greenness frugality in her own life - but she draws the line at pantyhose soap. (@CodeNameMama)
- I Thought I Made Them Green, But Really They Made Me — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! thought she made her parents green — until she took a closer look. (@bfmom)
- A Culture of Less — Alison at BluebirdMama explained why homebirth is the green childbirth choice. I love this thought! (@childbearing)
- 5 Ways to Embarrass Your Children While Going Green — Acacia at Be Present Mama shares some of the embarrassing things her parents did to her in the name of being eco-conscious.
- Ending Is Better than Mending? — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries is teaching us how to darn socks armed only with a light bulb. (@babydust)
- There and Back Again: A Green Girl's Tale — Lactating Girl offers a gentle reminder that certain eco-conscious practices shouldn't be "ideals," but realities. (@LactatingGirl)