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Talking to your parents about going greener

Just wanted to know how you ladies approach parents with your efforts to going greener?  In my mom's eyes she's practically completely green because 50% of the time she remembers her re-useable grocery bags and she uses the leftover cat water (from their water dishes) to water her plants.  She hasn't picked up on my subtle hints--like when she wants to go shopping, I say I have plenty and really don't need or want anything else, and that I'd much prefer a walk in a park or something.  5 years ago, when I still lived in the same state as her, shopping was our "go to" bonding/time sharing experience. 

This visit, I've already made plans with her to go to the Farmers Market (which I think she'll probably HATE--it's very old and well used so it's not shiney and new like she usually prefers) and made a point to tell her that i was going to cook a chicken that I had bought from one of my favorite farmers.  I had told her about our water barrel about 8 months ago and she's still completely fascinated by it--and that we would have come up with that option all by ourselves. 

I find it's a tricky situation for me because I don't want to necessarily make it sound like I'm judging her for the life that she leads (she doesn't have as many "easy" green options where they live, she's older and definitely set in some of her ways), but that I'm not as interested in living the life I once did, without hurting her feelings?  Any suggestions??
 

Re: Talking to your parents about going greener

  • I'm not clear what you're trying to accomplish. Are you trying to change HER behavior? Because that's probably not gonna work. All you can do is talk about things that you enjoy and hope she picks up some tips.

    When you talk about not being interested in the life you once led, do you mean that you want to do things that don 't involve shopping? Seems like it would be easiest to then find new things you can enjoy together. 

  • What is sounds like is that you are struggling to find activities that you'll both enjoy now.  Is that right?  I can imagine how that might be difficult.  Can you say to her something like, "I've really enjoyed shopping with you in the past, but my priorities have shifted and I'd like to explore doing other activities while we're together.  Here are some things I think I would have fun doing with you...  Is there something else you might like to try?"

    I'd do this in advance of your visits so you have more time to plan.  Shopping can be done at the drop of a hat, but I'm sure with a little effort you'll come up with things you will both enjoy.  She's your mom, so you're bound to have something in common.  Wink

  • image CutesBoots:

    What is sounds like is that you are struggling to find activities that you'll both enjoy now.  Is that right?  I can imagine how that might be difficult.  Can you say to her something like, "I've really enjoyed shopping with you in the past, but my priorities have shifted and I'd like to explore doing other activities while we're together.  Here are some things I think I would have fun doing with you...  Is there something else you might like to try?"

    I'd do this in advance of your visits so you have more time to plan.  Shopping can be done at the drop of a hat, but I'm sure with a little effort you'll come up with things you will both enjoy.  She's your mom, so you're bound to have something in common.  Wink

    yes, this is what I'm struggling with.  Finding activities we'd both enjoy doing together--I think that's the ticket!  I'm sorry I wasn't very clear in my OP about my question(s).

    Wendy GR--to answer your questions--yes and no is my ambiguous answer--I'm trying to change her habits towards me--in other words (since I'm an only child, she does like to "spoil" me) I'd like a more forceful way of telling her that I really don't want 14 new dresses for my birthday, without sounding ungrateful for the things she has already bought me (and a lot of times can't return).  Does that make any sense?  It's frustrating because I've even tried the "with the exercise I do, it's rare for me to be able to fit in things from year to year because my shape changes so much, so please don't waste your money." If you've ever watched the television show "Everybody Loves Raymond" my mom is Ray's mom.  Oh the guilt she likes to put on me--and we're even from Long Island so it makes the example even more true to life!!

    I think if she and I can find something better to do with our together time, then I think that could help the situation significantly.  Thanks for you help!!   

  • My MIL is the same way. She is always buying us crap. DH and I try to give her ideas for things we would use (usually kitchen items). I don't know if we'll ever solve it, though. Gifts is her love language.
  • One thing I noticed is that it sounds like you are sort of beating around the bush -- rather than just saying "Mom, I've really been getting away from buying so much stuff and really enjoying it, so is there something we can do instead of shopping?" it sounds like you just said you'd rather walk in the park, but not why.

    And why not suggest helping her set up a water barrel, if she liked it. Tell her it wasn't hard and getting it done was something you were proud of, and would love to help her with.

    I get that out and out pushing people towards being green isn't our place, but we're talking parents here. I think parents are fair game. Big Smile

    image
  • image WendyGR:
    My MIL is the same way. She is always buying us crap. DH and I try to give her ideas for things we would use (usually kitchen items). I don't know if we'll ever solve it, though. Gifts is her love language.

    This is my MIL too.  Every Christmas we get a big pile of plastic junk... most of it of little better than dollar store quality, so while I can and do donate it, I've got a feeling most of it ends up in the garbage rather than purchased by someone who needs it.  I'd resume going to Mass with them to make it stop, but sadly while she can understand our not being Catholic, she doesn't seem to be able to wrap her brain around the notion that DH and I have our own set of beliefs and find the pointless raping of the Earth rather offensive and don't see it as very compatible with the holiday spirit.  I just grin and accept it these days, but my ovaries shrivel up at the thought of letting my MIL teach our future children that this is what the holidays are all about.  

    I really don't know how to deal with it.  DH is always trying to tell them to do this or that (easy but important things like recycling, or drinking tap water), which typically turns into a fight and seems unlikely to ever change their behavior.  It's gotten to the point where they seem kind of offended when we show up with our own water bottle so we don't have to drink their bottled water when we go out with them, thus eliminating the opportunity to lead by example.  The funny thing is that they do consider themselves environmentalists.  We've really grown apart from them over this issue, and especially the way DH handles it.  

  • i agree with pp, find other things to do with your mom- walk around a museum, go see a movie, whatever.

    my MIL is totally Ray's mom from Everybody loves Raymond!  i know how you feel, my DH is the baby, and she loves to buy us tons of useless crap!  (we're long islanders too!) 

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  • Wow this is totally my mom. She thinks she's a saint because she re-uses her plastic water bottles & puts #5 plastics in her recycling bin... We're also from LI originally (I live in upstate NY now, and she still lives on the island). We TRY & TRY & TRY to get through to my parents (like a PP said, showing up with reusable h2O bottles, etc.), but she takes everything the wrong way. Actually, she thinks it's snobbish behavior! AH! It makes me so angry, & I wish I could be of more help to your issue here. As far as shopping, I would just say: "I have enough stuff, really..." GL, and know that there are others in your shoes!

    image photo DSCF1711-h2o.jpg image

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