Mama Says...

By Rachael Maiden
When the day finally arrives that the government bans singleuse service ware (and I feel it will come) such as straws,coffee, smoothie cups, napkins, takeaway boxes, will I as aMother of a two year old be up in arms? Will I be unable tocome to terms with this disruption to convenience. In ourhouse there will barely be a flicker at the change (well otherthan the happiness for our planet) not because I avoid cafélife but because it needs to happen.

As Mothers the popular narrative is that we are so time poorthat we need these trappings of convenience, how could Ipossibly cope if I had to remember our own cups for a drink ora plastic spoon for an ice cream treat, as well as parenting ourchildren. But the reality is so far removed from this. Mothersare legends at being prepared, they have purses and nappybags full of every possible thing that we could ever need.

Need a napkin, got it, a straw, check in the sidecompartment. One of my youngest Memories of my mother’shand bag was that she always carried a wet facecloth in an oldbread bag, forgoing the need for wipes or napkins. So willMothers cope, of course we will (as will Fathers, grandparents and those fabulous souls who care forothers children). If it no longer exists we will work around it. We coped when plastic supermarketbags were removed we will cope when we have to bring our own coffee cup or takeaway container.

But what about the children? How will they manage without a straw? Oh the cups that will bebroken if we bring them flufy’s in a real cup. What they will learn is, they are capable, children rise towhat is expected of them, treat them with the dignity that they can manage and they will. I’m notsaying there won’t be the odd broken cup or upset over using metal utensils but that is life with littlepeople, never plain sailing but certainly never boring.

Teaching children to reject single use is vital, they are the ones who have to live here much longerthan us. It is their future that we are taking away with our desire for convenience. How we teachthem is simple, we teach them with our behaviour because they are constantly watching, every timeyou bring a reusable container, every time you refuse a plastic straw, every time you fill a reusablewater bottle, it is stored away until it is their normal and to do differently would be odd. So if wewant to break the cycle of a disposable lifestyle it’s with teaching the children we should start.
For some change is difficult and often a more softly softly approach is preferred to give people thechance to gradually get on board better than offending people. But this will just teach anothergeneration that single use is not the end of the world (or though potentially it is).

Rip the plaster off, many will moan but eventually we will get on with things and forget there was
another way.