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AIBU to think you need money to be an ethical rainbow mum?

(152 Posts)
RhubarbJuice Fri 12-Jul-19 19:15:12

So I go to a baby group, and there's a group of mums there, all very nice, but all quite similar in that they dress their children in organic clothes, the mums themselves often match in the adult versions, they have special reusable lunch boxes and coffee cups and all sorts. They are all very zero waste and anti plastic, which I agree with, we should all do our bit. One of them recommended these hair conditioning cubes which are zero plastic and good for your hair. I went online to look, the guts of £12 they cost! I have very thick hair so lucky to get a few weeks out of them

It's the same with the toys, they're very into their wooden toys, and as the babies were approaching their first birthdays, the conversation came up, and they're all spending hundreds on ethically made blocks and wooden rainbows. They worship this rainbow. One of them brought one to the group, and all the babies did love it.

AIBU to feel it's a shame its so expensive to do this kind of thing? I'd love to be able to afford all this stuff and go organic and plastic free, but it would cost me a fortune. Guess I'll have to stick with tupperware and second hand clothes for my DC!

I do draw the line at some of the clothes though, one mum was in a matching rainbow mushroom dress as her daughter.

SolsticeBabyMaybe Sat 13-Jul-19 22:03:29

Feels quite performative... Surely 2nd hand clothes and toys (plastic or wooden, landfill doesn't care) are actually better for the environment? Rather than chucking stuff that already exists and purchasing brand new 'ethical' stuff? Feel like they are just enjoying the brands etc rather than doing so out of environmental concerns... Which is fine it's just obviously not the only way of doing things! Crack on with your tuppaware I say. Why waste it and buy new stuff.

SolsticeBabyMaybe Sat 13-Jul-19 21:58:30

It's weird... Do these people ONLY exist in baby groups? And on MN? Seems to be a higher concentration than anywhere else! Surely all kinds of women have children, so how do there only seem to be mums like this around???

BarrenFieldofFucks Sat 13-Jul-19 21:52:58

These women don’t really care about the environment, they’re just jumping on the latest trendy bandwagon.

How can anyone possibly tell that from the OP?! 🤔confused

Kanga83 Sat 13-Jul-19 21:15:45

I only buy second hand clothes and mainly toys. It's ethical, the ultimate recycling and gives new life to and old toy. All my furniture is second hand from a charity and gorgeous solid pine. If I have to buy new, then I only buy ethical. Toiletries I only use faith in nature and vegan cruelty free make up. We are not rich (18k and I'm an SAHM) and we manage the best we can. We skrimp in lots of areas to buy some things full price ethical.

TheLastQueenOfPop Sat 13-Jul-19 21:01:34

Ethical consumerism is still consumerism.

There's very much a sense in eco groups, babipur and the like, that you must have the right brand, the "epic stash". I'm eco where I can - love scandi clothes for the kids, buy reusable where possible, but it's not the competition that some people think it is.

Yes, eco things can be more expensive, but to be fair I think we've been spoiled by artificially low prices that dodgy labour/production has given us for too long.

riddles26 Sat 13-Jul-19 19:09:05

@ballroompink, its crazy isn't it? I felt the same when I repeatedly kept reading how women were hiding their spending from husbands - its not like it was a little amount on a few treats, it was more a case of hundreds and hundreds of pounds! I could never bring myself to spend like that without discussing it with DH first

I feel like a lot of the retailers aren't that ethical themselves in how they sell if I'm honest - one of them had a 'clearance' sale where they would heavily discount a select number of items for 12 hours, then they would go upto full price and a new set of items discounted for next 12. It basically encouraged customers to make multiple orders over a 3/4 day period to take advantage of all offers - but of course, all orders are shipped separately so environmentally void! People also add to their order to make upto free postage so each person making multiple £50+ orders over a few days. Another would give a 'free' gift with every order over £50, with majority of gifts being something small but one person winning a large one worth £100+.. some women actually put in upwards of 5 individual orders in attempt to win. Again, each shipped separately so environmental impact high. Both retailer and consumer are not being particularly ethical or doing any good for the environment imo.

Like you, I have a few Grimms bits - mainly the items that can't be replicated cheaply like the rainbow whereas wooden threading beads from Lidl or Aldi do the job just as well for a tiny fraction of the price of Grimms.

gotmychocolateimgood Sat 13-Jul-19 17:13:35

There definitely seems to be a market for Middle class eco mothers. Some products do cost less in the long run but what's the point of buying into consumerism for the sake of saving the planet?

I'd be interested in good value conditioner bars if anyone can point me in the right direction. And Soap free facial wash bars if that's a thing...? Dove any good? My bathroom is a lot less plasticky and my supermarket shop looked quite different this week. Next step: greengrocer when I go to the nearest town this week.

ElizaPancakes Sat 13-Jul-19 17:04:02

YANBU. I’m trying to cut down on our packaging - I also have even thick curly hair, but I can’t afford the best part of £20 just for haircare for me.

There’s nowhere near me that does dry goods to be weighed into containers so I bulk buy what I can - even the butchers don’t use butcher paper.

Siameasy Sat 13-Jul-19 16:56:25

I got kicked out of one of those groups because I pointed out the conspicuous consumption going on
People were taking pics of their Insta-perfect white-walled nurseries and “asking for advice” on decor and which toy would look good where which was A LOAD OF BOLLOCKS as it was just an excuse to show off

IceRebel Sat 13-Jul-19 15:49:04

Fancy selling them to me @ShivD, so my nieces and nephews can play with them when they visit. smile I promise I don't want to play with them, what grown woman wants to play with a bunch of wooden toys, nope not me... honest

ShivD Sat 13-Jul-19 15:36:29

I have a load of grimms toys in the garage from my wooden toy phase. The kids never played with them blush

ballroompink Sat 13-Jul-19 15:29:42

@riddles26 What you've described is what has shocked me about a lot of those groups on FB! I joined many of them as discovered all the Grimms etc. toys after having DC2 and thought after not having any of that sort of thing for DC1 they would provide some good ideas for toys we didn't already have. I could see how those groups become these quite frantic clubs where people are desperate to own the entire toy ranges, all the sought after ethical clothes etc. The constant chat about hiding parcels and credit card bills from husbands made me quite uncomfortable as did the not-infrequent posts from people displaying their 'stashes' or even having to sell stashes or some of their children's toys because they'd had an unexpected bill. Definitely remember more than one sale post where women were selling a rainbow etc. because their partner had 'gone mental' that they'd bought yet another one.

I bought a few Grimms things but feel I have what I want now and left all the groups recently as I didn't feel they were a hugely healthy social media experience. So many of the things people gush over on them can be bought much more cheaply!

riddles26 Sat 13-Jul-19 14:00:46

As others have said, it doesn't have to be expensive and I do feel that some are just silly with money too.

I use cloth nappies, try to get ethically produced wooden toys wherever possible and minimise waste in the house so am on many Facebook groups for retailers that sell the items you speak of. So many women on there have little common sense where finances are concerned - like other PP have said - why spend a fortune on Klean Kanteen when can buy from supermarket/TK Maxx for a fraction of the price? Then I see lots of posts from same people complaining they don't have enough money for rest of month so they have to sell other toys confused
Likewise with cloth nappies - some parents buy a ridiculous quantity (think 50+ for one child in nappies) because they go crazy for prints and quite often for brands that aren't even cheap to get. Some spend well over RRP buying from USA then add on postage (plus environmental impact etc) because they like the look of the print then cry poor because they don't have enough money for things which are far more important (for example on recently couldn't afford a decent breast pump ahead of her return to work but was still happily spending £25-30 per nappy with collection of 40+).

The online retailers are there to make money and they successfully do so in creating a frenzy for products. However, as consumers, we need to have some common sense. Some of the latest 'zero waste' containers made of steel can be picked up in Indian supermarkets for less than £5 for multipack whereas retailers are charging upwards of £25 for one. Old indian ladies have been using them for years to store their food in. As many pp have said, it is much more friendly (to environment and bank balance!) to use second hand clothes than buy brand new organic cotton

All the things you mention can be done cost effectively whilst also being environmentally conscious. First rule is always to use what you have in the house so using tupperware is perfect!

I am fortunate to be able to afford many of the things you mention but the only thing I have is the Grimms Rainbow and that is because it was under £50 when my eldest (rainbow baby) was born so I bought it and kept it for her first birthday. I also use containers already in the house, supermarket drinks flasks, second hand clothes etc

Dontsweatthelittlestuff Sat 13-Jul-19 09:42:12

Bloody hell the prices on babipur

£46.50 to thread some beads.

Back in the Middle Ages of my childhood your mum would give you her button tin and an old shoe lace. Bet the mums who buy that don’t have van have a button tin, throw away a shirt instead of replacing a button but will spend ££££ as it is sold to them as ethical.

ambereeree Sat 13-Jul-19 09:40:57

I now refuse to buy plastic toys new. Drives me mad when expensive toys are played with for 10 minutes then thrown into the pile of plastic toys.

Nicolastuffedone Sat 13-Jul-19 09:35:26

Our reusable lunch boxes are old ice cream cartons......

ThePhoenixRises Sat 13-Jul-19 09:33:44

year before last

ThePhoenixRises Sat 13-Jul-19 09:31:13

For anyone else wondering what this rainbow is, I found a thread on it from last year.

Dontsweatthelittlestuff Sat 13-Jul-19 09:28:11

But it is not just the expensive brand names.

I went into Wilko during the week as I needed some straws to take to someone in hospital.
A box of 200 plastic ones were £1. A box of 100 paper ones was £2.

WantLifeToBeBetter Sat 13-Jul-19 09:18:30

Being ethical is pretty cheap - 2nd hand clothes, Tupperware lunch box that you already own (I do not understand why people but new fancy Tiffin boxes just so they can show off about not using plastic - it's much more environmentally friendly to keep and reuse your old plastic one, otherwise it will just get thrown in landfill!), drink coffee at home.

Being ethical and fashionable at the same time is expensive though.

RhubarbJuice Sat 13-Jul-19 09:11:55

Wtf is with all the clicky links. Didn't this happen a year or to ago and it was a virus attacking mn?

Someone up thread said they had started a thread with loads of cheap and obvious alternatives to the expensive eco stuff - cutting up a sheet for wipes etc - could someone link me?

OneStepSideways Sat 13-Jul-19 09:08:18

I'm an ethical organic Scandi mum (mostly!) and I buy most of mine and DD's clothes secondhand

Karigan195 Sat 13-Jul-19 08:55:00

Lol many of these posts are echoing how I feel about it all. I’m not buying a KK cup for extortionate amounts when tkmax has metal flasks for £4 for heavens sake. People are being led into this by the promise of being plastic free and not thinking to look at alternatives.

HandsOffMyRights Sat 13-Jul-19 08:28:29

That should say Pongy lunchboxes!

HandsOffMyRights Sat 13-Jul-19 08:27:47

I'm glad I missed this pressure! It sounds expensive and much of it is common sense or has been around for ages - my parents' generation played with wooden toys and we used to keep our (pony) lunch boxes for years.

Having gone vegan in January I can see how it's easy to get sucked in to over priced items. It also drives me mad that even by taking steps to avoid dairy and cruetly, I'm a hypocrite. There will always be groups who make big announcements on social media, while others quietly get on with doing their little bit.

Sorry OP not sure if you mentioned it, but do these same parents extend their ethics to not driving, flying, veganism etc?

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