Way before I had my Bubs I heard that the worst thing you can do from an environmental standpoint is have biological kids. Although this would not in a billion years have deterred the ball-of-brooding that I have always been, it did make sense. Cos, like, another person, breathing and eating and maybe driving and just generally existing = a lot more carbon emissions, right?
Well, that was BC (before children) and now I am now more informed and enlightened. The truth of the matter is that when us rich Westerners become parents (yes, you are rich in global terms, deal with it, move on) there suddenly descends upon us a whole heap of plastic ‘essentials’ which, up until now we were not existed. Yes, alright, I did know bottles existed, and high-chairs, and sippy cups… But, you know, poetic licence and all that.
And then there are all the things that aren’t essential but ‘everyone’ seems to have. It’s like being back at school; suddenly feeling self-conscious because your baby is the only one without a Sophie the Giraffe (sorry Bubs, mummy has failed you). Or on a much larger scale, all the walkers and flashy lights things, not to mention the apparently indispensable Jumperoo, which I totally buy into. I mean, it is pretty darn awesome with all it’s bells and whistles. Also it’s a prison from which your baby cannot escape, #bonus. Plus I got mine on gumtree, which is basically recycling. When my husband went to pick up the woman who sold it to us looked him straight in the eye and said “This will save your life!”
Plastic is basically oil that has been magically transformed into toys (sorry to get so technical, take a moment to mull that one over). Sooo… something else to feel guilty about? Bleurgh.
Yes, yes, I know, I know, you can probably get baby-walkers made out of hemp that was grown on co-operatively owned farms and sown by widows who would otherwise be penniless. Or fairly-traded plastic cups that were recycled from scavenged plastic collected in rubbish dumps by the happy and hard-working indigenous inhabitants of various South American nations. Oooh, and I bet someone out there makes high-chairs out of ethically sourced, renewable bamboo, grown in forests where concert violinists walk through playing sonatas at regular intervals. But the one from Ikea is £16, so…
Loads of my friends have bought the Bubs clothes and, knowing we’re more than slightly lefty, led with a comment like “and the cotton is organic and fairtrade…” as we unwrapped the presents. Because, you know, if it’s not organic then it’s not going on or in my child, thank you very much. Except that it is. Because I have no job and my maternity pay has run out, so I shall be buying my son plastic toys that are reduced to £1.45 in Aldi (that happened this week; I was far too excited about it). I will do all this with that occasional sinking middle-class guilt that accompanies too many of my middle-class life choices. I know, right? #firstworldproblems.
But, to end on an uncharacteristically cheesy note, whilst I often feel pangs for buying unnecessary baby paraphernalia, no amount of The Inconvenient Truth could make me feel guilty about having my Bubs.