Motherhood & Zero-Waste Living: Ashley Ayala – The Wise Consumer

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Motherhood & Zero-Waste Living: Ashley Ayala

June 23, 2019

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Ashley Ayala

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Q & A with Ashley:

1) What is one thing about motherhood/pregnancy that you were least expecting? I least expected that I would be so changed by motherhood. Motherhood has brought a whole new perspective to my life that I didn’t realize I wasn’t in tune with before.

2) How has motherhood/pregnancy changed you? Motherhood definitely has prompted me to talk more openly about mental health. I was already passionate about breaking the stigma around mental illness but I feel like since becoming a mother, it’s a priority for me again, especially when talking to new moms. The first year, in general, was like, shock. I feel like right around the 10-month-old mark, I felt like I was waking up from a dream (likely due to the increase of sleep around that time). The lack of sleep before then though, and the newness of a schedule that revolved around nursing and changing diapers was a major adjustment period. I struggled so much with my own mental health during pregnancy and those first 10 months, but when I had candid conversations about how hard it was adjusting with other parents, I felt a huge sigh of relief that what I was going through was okay, and normal.

3) What three things have you found to be the most challenging when it comes to living sustainably (eco-friendly, ethical fashion, etc.) & raising children? I definitely have a hard time with the amount of waste, whether it’s food waste from baby not wanting to eat lunch one day, the excessive amount of gifts we receive (everyone loves to buy baby clothes!), or all the gadgets the baby registry blogs recommended (we didn’t request many gadgets but we bought the ones we thought we needed, and even those I feel like we could have done without since they’re only used for so long). I would say that living eco-friendly or more ethically is challenging but it’s something that is non-negotiable for me. There is no such thing as 100% sustainable living so I do what I can and I am mindful that there are always going to be things that I could be doing better, but that doesn’t mean the effort I AM putting in is for nothing. Every small action adds up to a significant impact.

4) What three tips (things that worked best for you) can you share with other mothers/fathers to help them along their eco-conscious/slow fashion journey?
1. Do what you can and don’t feel guilty about what you can’t manage. At first I set huge goals of cloth diapering all the time, homemaking all my food, etc. but I learned quickly that it just wasn’t going to happen. And I felt guilty. My suggestion is to by-pass the guilt, set some goals but if you’re going to lose your mind trying to meet them, give yourself a break and just do what you can.

2. Make friends with other parents or parents-to-be who are also striving to live a conscious lifestyle. Sharing resources, tips, tricks, toys, clothes and all the other baby gadgets not only lessens your impact but it builds healthy friendships and camaraderie with others who GET IT!

3. The most sustainable option is the one that already exists, which also makes it the most affordable. It’s the dilemma of whether to buy the $60 ethically made baby romper or the $2 used romper at the thrift shop. There is NO SHAME in buying the ethically made romper, but if you’re on a budget and want the most eco-friendly option, go with the thrift shop romper because it’s impact has already been made. The same goes for high chairs, baby bullets, cups, bowls, forks- everything as they grow!

5) List three of your favorite ethical and eco-conscious children’s brands:
1. Plan Toys – I want to visit their factories because I just can’t believe how sustainable their whole program is
2. Little Lentil Clothing – Closed loop children’s clothing brand, 100% GOTS certified (organic, fair trade)
3. Beru Kids – Children’s clothing made in LA from deadstock (other brands’ leftover rolls) fabric

6) Living an eco-friendly/slow fashion lifestyle isn’t always convenient or easy, but why does it matter that we at least try our best (there’s no such thing as perfection).
EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS. That’s it! No effort is wasted because it still makes an impact, even if it seems like a drop in the ocean.

7) What topic are you most looking forward to discussing during this podcast conversation?
I look forward to learning from the other girls how they work sustainable practices into their daily routines (since we all work pretty much full-time it sounds like). Every journey is different as a mother and I’m sure we all have various things we prioritize in the sustainable living realm. I’m interested to learn how we each incorporate sustainable practices into the daily routine as working moms since balancing businesses and babies is sometimes a circus act!

The Wise Consumer

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