Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mary Mulliken, Intentional Motherhood: How I Have Fun, Do Good

The eighth guest blogger in my Have Fun, Do Good series is Mary Mulliken 

Mary is a coach, a writer, a contemporary ceremonialist, and a mom to baby Orlis Blackbird. She works with individuals through relationship and live-cycle transitions and creates and leads public and sacred rituals of all kinds, while cultivating intentional motherhood one day at a time. You can learn more about Mary at

Mary Mulliken, Intentional Motherhood: How I Have Fun, Do Good

While I was pregnant, I heard one of my favorite writers, Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy say, "we treat our planet like a supply closet and a garbage dump." I remember thinking that was (sadly) a very apt description for what I have come to witness as the process of having a baby -- the expectation that you need lots of [big, plastic and electronic] stuff that will end up in a landfill just a few short years later.

The work I do as a Coach and as a Ceremonialist has everything to do with helping people hone their personal values and then bring them to life. I see this motherhood track as a continuous opportunity to do just that for myself, and I've come to realize how deeply I care about the vitality of this planet that is inseparable from our physical and emotional health as human beings.

With all my mixed feelings about procreating when the world doesn't really need any more people, I realized that I'd only be able to have a baby in good conscience if I could find fun ways to do it really, really gently...for everyone involved, including Mother May I.

With an eye towards a lighter footprint, my thinking went immediately towards diapers. The problem is this: each and every disposable diaper a baby fills with pee or poop will go on to outlive her in the landfill by about 400 years. I'm sorry, but that's just gross.

What I've discovered is there are actually lots and lots of reasons to make the choice to use cloth diapers, besides the all-important environmental one. They are much cheaper, more comfy, cleaner and safer for baby's skin, and lend themselves to earlier and easier potty training.

But let's be honest, what's really fun about them is how darn cute they are! Endless colors and styles that simply delight me and have me reaching for my camera during diaper changes. And don't get me started about laundry day -- even schlepping to the coin-operated machines in the basement of our building -- has come to be a savored ritual for me. My partner and I have even dipped our toe into the world of Elimination Communication to some astonishing results, reducing our diaper impact even further. Who knew doing things the "old-fashioned way" could be so enjoyable?

If you liked this post, you might also like:

Bookmark and Share



  1. with our daughter we used a diaper service, which was fine and convenient. but with our son we decided to invest in our own cloth diapers. they have been so awesome. they are diapers that can grow with him which is great in that we don't have to keep buying new ones. and they are really so easy to clean. i always thought cloth diapering would mean endless scrubbing, three different buckets full of solutions, and then several cycles in the washing machine, etc. these just go straight into the bin (with solids flushed) and then a two cycle wash plus an extra rinse. it's nothing! and while cloth diapers cost a bit of money up front, they definitely pay for themselves quickly. there are so many advantages, indeed.

  2. Hi Zoe!

    Thanks for sharing how easy it is to use cloth diapers. I know I've always thought they would be a lot of work. Maybe you need to start another blog called Green Family Myth-busting!


If you are having trouble commenting, please let me know.