• J Mess


But not in the way you’d want it to mean.

Back when I was breastfeeding, I was an anti-wasting lunatic. If even one minuscule drop of breast milk wasn’t consumed I went nuts. I spent hours of my life pumping that milk for the purpose of feeding my child, not the drain. I would constantly berate daycare with questions about exact amounts he was drinking and pretend that even though the bottles came back empty every day, they weren’t just tossing anything he had left over. At one point I even went so far as to feed him in 2 oz installments. When you finish that, you can get more mister! He wasn’t so happy about that eating situation. But I felt great that nothing was being wasted.

Then one night I went out to dinner with some mom friends. I feel like all of the interesting stories start out like this now. Trust me, you'll see. And even though it's probably been more than 16 months, I still remember it like it was yesterday. I came home to find 4oz of breastmilk sitting on the nightstand. Just sitting there. My husband had thought Nathan was hungry and had warmed the milk but then it turned out he wasn’t hungry at all, just overtired. So there sat an entire bottle of my breastmilk, warmed and ruined, its only hope of being consumed if the baby were to wake up in a window of an acceptable number of hours. And he always did when I didn’t want him to, but when I desperately wanted him to drink all that milk… he did not wake up. I made my husband stay up waiting anyway, and continued to remind him every hour about my wasted milk. Then after I seriously contemplated making him drink it instead, I forced him to watch as I dramatically poured it down the drain and cried.

Tossing breast milk is an original sin. Punishable by the extreme ire of very hormonal postpartum ladies.

As you have probably surmised, I don’t like wasting things. I use my moisturizers and body washes until every last drop is gone, and although I’ve never gone as far as to cut open the container to get everything out, I’ve thought about it. Nothing infuriates my husband more than finding a tiny sliver of bar soap left in the shower. It’s still soap and it works fine at any size, right? Besides when is the proper time to dispose of bar soap? When it disintegrates into nothing right? But apparently washing himself with a little wafer of soap is not his jam. I, however, firmly feel that I paid for these things and I want to get my money’s worth until there is literally nothing left. Why should I throw out a half-used bar of soap and start a new one? The only people besides my husband who benefit from that are the soap companies.

So when it comes to food, I struggle to use everything before it goes bad and if I have to throw something away, I feel terrible. Terrible that there are hungry people in the world and I'm tossing food. Terrible that I paid money for something that isn't being used. Just terrible. And the worst part is, children are notorious food wasters. Literally the worst offenders. Nothing fills me with more rage than when Nathan says "nana! nana!," and even after I ask him directly to confirm that he'd like to have a banana and he nods emphatically, when I open the banana, he looks at me while handing it back and says "no." Just over the span of the last 3 days, this happened 4 or 5 times. You'd think I would have learned my lesson by now. It's not like I can close back up the banana now Nathan.

Kid you better eat this damn banana, I paid 25 cents for it.

The amount of food wasted in my house makes me cringe. The food that hits the floor. The food that he shovels into his mouth and then spits out into his lap when I turn my back. The food that he says he wants and then flat out refuses to eat. The food that I send to school and have no idea how much is going into his stomach versus the garbage can. The food that rots in the refrigerator because one week he devours 500 strawberries and then the next week he won't touch strawberries. And every time I throw something out, I'm reminded that there are people in need. As I say to my cat, there are starving stray kittens on the streets, finish your dinner. Except he’s the best eater in the house. He’ll eat his dinner, your dinner, Nathan's dinner, tomorrow’s dinner. He never leaves over anything. He truly gets me...


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