When I first fell pregnant, I received so much well-meaning advice. Some people couldn’t seem to accept that when I said a particular idea wasn’t really for us, it didn’t mean it was a bad idea.
Take attachment parenting, for instance. Some families love bed-sharing, co-sleeping, and baby-wearing. For me, the idea of having my child attached to me day and night makes me anxious. Therefore, we’ve never used any of these strategies.
Horses for courses.
“Sleep when the baby sleeps” was another gem that also made no sense to me.
So – will the baby study when I study, or work while I work? How do I find time to do my tasks if I’m sleeping every time I catch 40 minutes?
I do want to share the best advice I was given, though, in the hope that someone else can use it.
Save up nappies/wipes and other consumables in the year before you have a baby.
8 months in and we still haven’t used all of our packets of wipes and we only ran out of nappies after a couple of months.
Save up your baby’s 1st birthday items in the months before their birthday.
This saved us going out and buying packs of Batman plates, cups, and accessories all at once. Very useful.
Buy an umbrella stroller for overseas trips.
Use Gumtree/Ebay/Buy swap sell for baby brand name clothes.
You spend so little and get so much!
Take time out for yourself.
Whatever that looks like – it’s absolutely essential.
Most of the advice is chump change in the grand scheme of things, but these were my three most valuable pieces.
Before my birthing experience, my midwives asked me to draft a ‘birth plan.’ I thought the idea of planning something so unpredictable was completely absurd, so my plan was to take nothing off the table. In my head, I secretly wanted to give birth in a warm bath with nothing but a bra on, but this wasn’t to be.
On the twelfth day of December 2018, I decided I had been pregnant long enough. I was four days past my due date and becoming increasingly anxious about what was to come. The very next day, I went to the hospital. They felt my belly and told me the baby’s head was in an odd position, so an induction would be required straight away.
I hadn’t even brought my hospital bag.
Nevertheless, they took us upstairs to the ward and inserted a balloon catheter, while I waited for labour to start. Many hours later, it had not commenced. My waters were broken under laughing gas – which was definitely the high point of my birthing experience. After, a hormone drip was injected and my contractions started.
I laboured peacefully for a few hours and dilated on schedule. After awhile, I requested an epidural to numb the intense contractions brought on by the artificial hormones. I drifted in and out of sleep for the next couple of hours, until the epidural wore off. That was when things started to get tricky.
The nurse observed that my dilation had regressed from 8cm to 7cm, his head was still displaced, and I was running a fever of 40 degrees. It turns out I had an infection.
At this point, the doctors called time on my “natural” birth and I hastily signed the consent forms for a c-section. The hormone drip was then removed. As they wheeled me to theatre, I screamed as I experienced a half hour contraction.
When I was on the surgical table, the spinal block would not go in. They explained the need for a general anaesthetic and before they injected the cannula, I yelled, ‘Don’t let my wife find out the sex of the baby until I’m awake!’ Then, it was lights out.
During the surgery, I lost 2.5 litres of blood and needed to be stabilised with tubes down my throat. Fortunately, he was completely fine throughout.
I woke some hours later, with a baby on my chest.
‘He’s perfect!’ I remember saying, as I blacked out again.
When I woke the next time, his nappy was being pulled down in my face – the closest I came to the ‘it’s a boy’ moment.
In the days following the birth, I couldn’t get out of bed nor care for my baby as I would have liked. I needed a lot of assistance from nurses as I was on an anti-biotic drip and couldn’t get out of bed unassisted. It was awful to feel so helpless.
Being trapped in the house for six weeks also made my life difficult. In the early days, I caught a bus to rhyme time but felt so overwhelmed by the amount of people in the library that I sat outside in the park and sobbed.
Over time, I experienced quite a lot of distress over how it all went down. At first, I felt like less of a woman because people would say to me, ‘Well, I knew someone who laboured for 36 hours with their first baby.’ Or they would talk about how few interventions they’d had with their own births, like all of this is the high watermark of womanhood.
I grieved everything I missed; the ‘it’s a boy’ moment, the cord being cut, seeing the placenta, hearing him cry, and experiencing the first breastfeed. Any time I hear about someone else’s “natural” birth, I get triggered, knowing I will never experience this for myself.
I struggled through the first few weeks of breastfeeding, desperate to hold onto the last lingering shred of connection I had to a natural birth of my son.
It sucked. Knowing I would never give birth again also didn’t help.
But in the months following, I have reflected, contemplated, and grown through all of this. I realise that births happen in many different ways and what was completely unorthodox was still beautiful, in that it brought life into this world.
I am no less a woman because I was induced, used an epidural, or because I had an unconscious c-section birth. Although I am grateful, my birthing experience was devastating, scarring, and isolating. Being able to make sense of it takes away some of its darkness.
Before Master S came along, I stuck it out in an environment that diminished all of the self-confidence I had built up over the years of coming out and living as a gay woman.
“Happiness doesn’t pay the bills,” was my mantra as I worked to burnout, from the discomfort of the closet I’d worked so hard to come out of years earlier.
I saved almost every cent, desperate for the privilege afforded to few in this modern world, the opportunity to be a full-time stay-at-home Mum.
I eventually moved on, with the view to achieving a better work-life balance as I approached parenthood. It turned out to be an excellent choice, and I started to really enjoy my career.
After S was born, I was so excited to do Baby Rhyme Time, playgroup, and trips to the park.
It wasn’t until about five months in that I started to feel an intense boredom, restlessness, and loneliness that I couldn’t seem to fix.
Playgroups I tried in my local area seemed to be populated by nannies and hired help, or Mums who wanted to complain about their husbands in a communal echo-chamber.
Holy shit, it was depressing. And after awhile, something had to give.
So I went back to work.
Just two days a week, and only on a casual basis. The first day I dropped him off, I couldn’t believe how free I felt. I also noticed how much more effective I was in the classroom with organising instructional time and managing difficult behaviour.
When you’ve left your baby in daycare to work, you really do mean business when you get into your flow state.
When I picked him up after a day in the classroom, I had missed him, but I could see how much he was getting out of the extra socialisation and time out of the house. I was actually benefiting from the insignificant things I had taken for granted, like lunchtime banter with other adults.
I felt like a human again.
I refuse to buy into the outdated notion that a child needs their Mum home 100% of the time in order to grow up healthy and well-adjusted. It suits some people and benefits some families, but it’s not for everyone.
To the contrary, I think a little bit of space in the early years can deliver amazing benefits for a developing child, if it means the Mum is happier.
Not every mother is cut out for the full-time, stay-at-home Mum life, and that’s okay.
It’s high time we stopped assuming that what suits one family or individual is automatically going to suit another. It takes all sorts to make up this weird and wonderful world we live in.
Whenever there is a mental health awareness initiative, it is all about informing people that many people have struggles with depression and anxiety.
This awareness is a good thing. It is working to end the stigma around mental illness.
However, this should extend to helping people become more educated on the workings of the mind. Too many people are quick to self-diagnose, or suggest diagnoses to others.
Similarly, the way people use diagnosable conditions as adjectives doesn’t help.
Think….. ‘That’s so OCD/ASD/you’re narcissistic/you’re delusional/you’re so bipolar!’
At times, I’ve been guilty of it. I’ve thrown the word ‘sociopath’ around a few times, but now that I know better, I can do better.
The truth is, we can all be self-centred. Many people like their living space to be ordered. We all have social struggles. These traits can exist in healthy individuals as quirks, or they can exist in a collection with other traits that form a diagnosis.
However, these traits in isolation do not make a mental health condition.
Narcissism in particular is one that gets thrown around an awful lot. I’ve noticed it on Pinterest and in a number of Facebook communities, where people describe their ex, their mother, their siblings, their dog, as a narcissist. There is coaching on how to deal with such people.
All without any formal diagnosis, mind you.
Narcissistic personality disorder affects only a very, very small sample of the population. It is very resistant to treatment and can be devastating for the person who has the disorder.
Throwing the term around to describe every person who has taken a selfie, behaved selfishly, or been unfaithful in a relationship does not help the people who struggle with a very real, very misunderstood mental condition.
From what I understand, the diagnostic criteria is actually quite stringent, as such that your average self-interested type generally falls short.
We are talking about less than 5% of the general population.
Conversely, certain traits are common across disorders. So, just because someone has cognitive empathy, lacks affective empathy, and falls somewhere on the Autism spectrum, does not mean they are also a psychopath and a narcissist.
I guess it’s all about understanding nuance, which humans struggle with.
You can be socially awkward, but not ASD. You can be detached and limited to cognitive empathy, but not have a personality disorder. You can be nervous, without having clinical anxiety.
That is not to minimise people’s experiences, but not everything needs to be pathologised. Self-diagnosing and the diagnosing of others using speculation and Doctor Google only begets fear, ignorance, and the prevention of recovery.
The person you are struggling to deal with (including yourself), probably isn’t as disordered as you think they are – and if they are, it’s best to get some formal clarity from a psychiatrist or someone equipped to make a judgment.
That is the only way to work towards a better understanding.
We love rhyme-time, home sensory activities, and playgroup.
By far, though, my favourite is baby music class, which we do every Thursday at Hush Little Baby. Sometimes, people ask me if I’m trying to get him into music so he can become a musician. Like… in a band. Never mind that he’s not toilet trained.
While it’s a lovely thought, I think we spend too much time desiring lucrative ‘returns’ on what should just be pleasurable investments.
I take him to music class because it gets us out of the house – a dual benefit for our mental health. I take him because his eyes light up when we sing, I get to learn all the songs, and all of this focussed, attached time is good for our bond.
It is also known that music aids in the development of speech, language, and positive mental wellbeing.
Music makes children smart – but that should come second to the fact that it’s just a lot of fun. You don’t need to be a prodigy to enjoy any of it, either.
I think this may be some of the reason why some people resist exercising so much. Because society has always placed a value on exercise for weight loss, people are not taking it up for the enjoyment, thus, they do not stick with it…. which is counter-intuitive.
What this signals to me is a broader attitudinal problem where some of us can’t seem to separate activities from outcomes. Although I run purely for enjoyment, I have been guilty of this outcomes-based thinking in many other areas of my life – particularly study and work-related tasks.
This is why, at nearly 30, I still get hung up over paragraph indentation before I can even start the damn essay.
That’s a problem.
I don’t have any real solution, except that I’m going to start painting and journalling and cooking more because these are things I can do just for the sake of it.
Before we had S, Natalie and I both said that our child would fit into our lives, as much as possible.
For us, that means dinners out, running events, furthering our respective careers, and travelling.
Pre-baby, my style of travel was haphazard. I have run away from a crazy driver in India, walked 5km up and down cobbled roads in Armenia with 20kg of luggage, and partied with strangers in Las Vegas.
We are NOT this haphazard with a baby. A simple weekend takes a lot of planning, but it is a LOT of fun. With a bunch of checklists, an excellent time can be had.
At times, though, you just mess it up. Monumentally.
For Easter, we decided to cocoon ourselves as a family. Recovering from birth has been a rough ride and the idea of some time in a peaceful place appealed – so we booked a BnB not far from Brisbane, but away from the hustle and bustle.
Our little boy was yet to meet a farm animal. So…. being in a secluded area… we thought we would take him to a farm.
We found a ‘farm rescue’ online and booked 3 x tickets – one ‘unemployed’ (yes, that’s the baby ticket) and two ‘student tickets.’ Let’s not talk about why we have student cards.
Once we got there, the conversation went something like this.
“Does the baby have closed in shoes?”
“…. he doesn’t walk, but yes.”
“But you’re wearing thongs.”
So, my wife, in her infinite wisdom, had turned up to a farm, in thongs.
No thongs, no entry. No worries! Mate…
So…. I started the farm tour, baby in tow, sans wife. She went back to the BnB to get shoes (an hours’ round trip)…….
Far from being a tame petting farm as I thought it may be, it was a bit of a bush walk.
Bush walks are just fine, but I can admit that carrying a 9kg child with some incline gets old pretty fast.
As a side note, a sanded stump is actually a great place to breastfeed a baby. Nice and stable. Better than the seats in some of the parenting rooms I have used in shopping centres.
Fortunately, he is the chillest babe you will ever meet, so none of this bothered him.
When Natalie got back, she told me she’d bogged the car in the parking lot. When I finished rolling my eyes, I passed S to her so my arms could have a break. I thought that having a sit would be a great idea.
I got bitten by ants. So many ants.
After that, we decided to bail, because the hill to the sheep enclosure was beyond us by this point.
All was not wasted, though. He saw animals. We told him great stories about what we were looking at. The cuddles were great, and the smiles. He loved our commentary.
And like always, he was just pleased to be there. Such a happy baby.
As we drove back to the accommodation, we realised that I had failed to book the whole weekend and we were meant to be checking out.
Thank goodness for gracious hosts who let us stay the extra night at a discounted rate.
As we walked up the stairs to our room, we laughed and laughed. We messed up, we under-estimated the activity, one of us arrived in thongs, and I screwed up our booking.
But you know what? It was all completely okay.
If our holiday had been perfect from start to finish, we wouldn’t be sitting here laughing right now. S would still be yet to see a cow, a pig, a chicken, a duck….
We had fun, we made memories, we did something new…. but most importantly… we laughed. And laughed and laughed and laughed and swore, and then laughed again.
I am SO glad we did it. And I am thankful for the recommendation.
There is a lesson in all of this.
Chaos is more fun than perfection. You can do anything with children if you accept that. If you really want something, you’ll go up and down the hills, through the mud, under the fence…. whatever it takes.
This is a lesson I needed, as I approach my first big deadline with a tiny human.
I hope that as our little boy grows in this crazy adventure called life, he maintains our sense of fun and resilience.
Conversation is both powerful and simple. It allows us to share ideas. In the workplace, almost everything rests upon it – not just talking about work, but sharing workplace banter and building personable relationships.
I feel like part of living and thriving in this modern world is about how to have better conversations.
I’ve worked in a lot of places – schools, universities, community organisations – and one of the easiest ways for me to determine my longevity in a workplace is for me to listen to the staffroom conversations.
“Well you’re there to work anyway, why does it matter? Just don’t talk about your personal life while you’re there.”
Whether people agree or not, people do bring their personal lives into work. I have lost count of the amount of wedding video snippets I’ve had to sit through at work meetings, or the conversations I’ve been privy to about people’s married lives.
Many of us don’t want to air that, but it would be nice to be able to say ‘my wife’ without fearing discrimination, or risking professional limitations. You can choose to share less, but it is hard to sit in the staffroom and be completely private when everyone is having rich, fun conversations about what they know and who they know.
“But what about the anti-discrimination act? You can’t do that nowadays!” That is the usual response I hear when I express that we have far to go.
While there may be protective laws, imagine how limited they are in short-term contracts. Your job is not secure and someone above you will decide if your employment becomes permanent. If they have a bias towards the LGBTIQ+ community and they know you identify, they can simply say you are no longer required.
This fear can lead some people to lower their participation in aspects of workplace life in case it accidentally leads to coming out. So – less banter, conversation, or after work drinks. It can be hard, especially because people like to get to know new employees.
This really limits the benefits of organic, collaborative relationship building.
Always having to watch what you say can also lead many people to experience stress and anxiety. The cumulative impact of this can lead to lower performance and a higher likelihood of moving on. This can be bad for business. High turnover is expensive and it looks bad.
The way some large organisations are addressing this is through LGBTIQ+ inclusion and diversity training. The idea behind this is to help workplace teams become more informed about gender and sexual diversity. This often includes describing lived experiences, terminology, and how to have more appropriate conversations with others. Most importantly, how to be an ally at work.
You’d be surprised at how much more comfortable it can feel when you see a rainbow lanyard or sticker sitting on somebody’s desk – you know that if you were to mention a same-sex partner or provide your preferred pronouns, you’d be safe.
Through doing this, the idea is to foster inclusive workplace cultures, where awkward conversations and assumptions will become less common. Sometime, it’s not the outright homophobia that people struggle with, but the low-level awkward conversations.
LGBTIQ+ inclusion programs address some of this by showing workplace teams how to use appropriate, inclusive language. It is useful when this rests upon a good working understanding of lived experiences in the community and a rich discussion on the various identities – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer – and how people may relate to them.
We can all benefit from learning more – even if we’re all over this inclusion thing.
Trying to do less of ‘that’s so gay’, assuming someone has an opposite sex partner, or using an inappropriate pronoun once a preferred one has been expressed, can help everyone find their place.
It’s been a little over a year since I published my book and released it into the wider world.
Writing a book before the age of 30 was a pretty major life achievement for me. It was one of my bucket-list goals.
I never thought my first book would be a childhood sex education resource! But it was such a worthwhile undertaking.
I wanted my son’s story to be filled with pride and openness. Even if he never shares that part of his life with others, I wanted him to know where he came from.
After all – donor conception is nothing to be ashamed of. Nor is infertility, IVF conception, or having two mums.
I wanted to write a book about my future child’s life and conception, even if it made people uncomfortable. I knew my child would deserve to know his story, whether people liked it or not. So I wrote.
The first draft was terrible. God-awful. Too many words, not enough story. Too much awkwardness.
So I went back to the drawing board and thought about what it was I was trying to do, and why? What would I want from a book like this, if I were purchasing it myself?
A narrative – to connect with a child at their level
A scientifically accurate explanation – no pet names or silliness around body parts and sex
Inclusivity – to see various reproductive situations represented, including insemination, and IVF
Cute illustrations…. of course
The thing is, I am not an illustrator – I just like writing. So I contacted Anil Tortop at Tadaa Book who illustrates in a range of styles, and once I had a draft I was happy with, we got started on bringing it to life.
I will spare you the experience of looking at any of my drafts, but understand that by the time the book went to publication, it was on version 18. Thank goodness for patient publishers.
When I looked back and stared at my creation for the very first time, I realised that I had achieved what I needed to.
It represents my child’s experience. Children benefit when they see themselves or people like them in books and other forms of media. Knowing their life is important enough to be represented bridges that divide between child and world – through that, they know they are not alone. The research in this area is preliminary, but ask any teacher to give you an anecdotal experience and I almost guarantee you they will have more than one. Children can’t relate with what they can’t see.
It normalises the idea of IVF, donor conception, and living in a same-sex family. If you try to teach a child about sex education but their conception has to be explained as an add-end, it sends a message that their differences can’t be talked about, or that it makes people uncomfortable. If it is seen as ‘just another method’ or ‘just another way to bring children into loving families’, this creates a sense of normal. Which is great, because I feel our lives are pretty standard, even with all the differences.
It casts my wife as a main character in the story of our child’s life. I want my wife to experience equality in all ways as a parent and if she is not a main character in the story of our child’s conception, then she becomes less important – she is as capable of raising our son as I am and gets the same sense of joy and challenge from him as I do.
It works towards making us ‘just another Australian family.’ I know we’ve got a long way to go with this one, but casting our life stories on the periphery (which they have been for a long time), makes us seem vastly different to other families. The more we are seen on the bookshelf, the more conversations we can start and the more we will become ‘just another character in the story of Australian public life in 2019.’
When I introduce the fact that I am in a same-sex relationship in conversations with new people, that part of my identity can sometimes take over. So I am no longer the friend, the colleague, the parent, the new acquaintance. Once I’ve dropped ‘wife’ into the conversation, I then get to field silly questions like, ‘Who is the man? How did you make a child? When did you tell your parents you were gay? How’s that weather…. etc.’
My vision is that when I introduce this part of my life, it doesn’t become my persona.
Yeah, we have a long way to go, but when I look at how far we’ve come, I have great hope. In order to get there, we need to start more conversations, write more stories, and send it all into the world!
Before we started our family, I absolutely lived for travel and also for my career. We are yet to venture overseas, but we did get passport photos for Master S this week, so that will be on the horizon this Christmas.
As for my career, my approach has changed as I am taking a break from the full-time teaching workforce. I now work from home as a writer. This gives me flexibility, but also some fairly unique opportunities. I enjoy it.
A few months ago, a professional in the area of fertility psychology contacted me to see if I wanted to share some of my own journey at a conference – to tell my story about why I wrote a book, both from an academic perspective and a personal one.
Clinical professionals benefit from hearing about lived experiences intertwined with interdisciplinary research, so I jumped at the chance to provide this.
So, we committed to the just-over-an-hour schlep to the Gold Coast, knowing we’d have a three-and-a-half-month in tow.
And we decided to make a weekend of it.
This is how it all went down….
The week before the conference was scheduled, I organised Granny-Care – my mother – to come over and help with Master S while I packed, ran errands, and organised our food for the weekend. Going anywhere with an infant is certainly an exercise in organisation!
I made list upon list upon list. I cooked and created snacks and meals, packed in an insulated bag. I realised that the car would be so full…….. and the bags would be heavy. But it was worth it, because we had a nice dinner when we stopped en-route for a breastfeed.
We arrived at the Gold Coast at about 8pm on the Friday night. It all went well. Master S even slept in a strange cot, in a strange room, in a strange place…..
When I arrived at the conference on Saturday, I was included in the whole event. I was able to spend time in conversation with fertility psychologists and other professionals in the field from around Australia. This included many rich conversations with others about resilience, early disclosure for donor-conceived children, and ideas around donor anonymity. I also had the privilege of hearing a presentation by a donor-conceived adult – it was fascinating to hear of her journey.
All of these conversations reinforced the importance of what I advocate for – early disclosure for donor-conceived children, with a range of resources to suit unique family needs and structures. It also enabled me to tell my family’s story of life, and I have so much pride in that.
On Sunday, we spent time as a family – my favourite part of the whole experience.
Before I had Master S, people loved to tell me about how my life would change so much. They seemed smug about it, how I would feel limited – how I may even fail to achieve my dreams.
I have found the opposite is true.
I manage my time better because I’m completing tasks around a tiny human’s napping schedule – I have mastered the art of writing 100 words in 12 minutes (yeah… cat naps happen) and also the art of accepting that some days are more limited on productivity than others because once he’s awake, I am present with him.
The real ‘fire-cracker under my butt’ in using my time wisely is my baby boy.
I keep on going, because I want to contribute to the world he is going to inhabit. I want to be a role model for this child who is watching my every move in this world.
Most of all, I want to model pride, passion, and the pursuit of dreams.
I think that’s worth working for. Even if I get distracted a lot.
Anyway, play time is fun.
Until next time…. I hope to tell you more about the journey of writing my book!
Far from the modern grind-til-you-die attitude, gotta-have-it, spend, spend, spend mentality, I believe that the easiest way to become your richest self is to live below your means – and to acquire less. After all, the greatest assets are time and opportunity, not material belongings.
On this parenthood journey, I want to provide, but also to raise a child who is resourceful, ethical, and an environmental steward.
Not an easy task, but parenthood isn’t.
In the spirit of consume-less, recycle-more, save-more-money, I want to share my experience with Containers for Change. Everyone seems to have an opinion on this newfangled scheme.
Queensland recently launched Containers for Change to address the low recycling rate. Did you know that around 3 billion beverage containers are discarded every year and they are the second most littered item? Crazy! And kind of shit when you consider that we should theoretically know better in our age of information.
The way it works is that you sign up online, receive a personal code, and take your empty beverage containers into a depot, preferably in a reusable bag to reduce waste. The depots are quick and effective and will put your empties into a box, count them, and deposit the money into your account.
In drop-off locations, it can take awhile to receive a refund due to differences in collection and sorting times. I find that the depots are the best and easiest. Feedback from others has revealed that some of the sites work differently and are nowhere near as effective. Hopefully, this will be addressed.
Funnily enough, I don’t drink many bottled beverages. I believe that helping the environment is best achieved by reducing one’s consumption (e.g buying better/less.) So how do I generate recycling, to earn the refunds? And what am I spending it on?
Glad you asked. Since giving birth nearly a month ago, I have started to walk around the neighbourhood again. I start my morning by expressing milk and then setting out for my walk while Natalie and The Boy are still snoozing.
I take an enviro-bag and keep my eyes peeled for discarded empties. My route covers a walking path behind The Gap High School, and sometimes if there are empties close to the fence line, I can poke a stick through and retrieve them.
On the way, there is a creek that collects the occasional empty can. I have no issue with getting my feet wet to swipe them – the obvious benefit is that this is removing trash from a natural habitat.
On my way back, I go past the shopping centre. There are spots where employees sit for their smoko. One guy has the same iced coffee every day and leaves it on top of the bin. I swipe it (and then use hand sanitiser.) Occasionally, he’ll still be drinking it when I walk past. I lay low and resist the urge to say, ‘You done, or…’
His trash is my treasure. 10c, ka-ching! Waste not, want not.
Then, there is bin diving. I don’t feel comfortable digging through bins at random homes, but given that I live in an apartment block, I can often collect other people’s empties if I ask.
As for the money? We deposit the refunds into an account we started before our son was born. The magical trash collections will go towards what we already put aside to allow him to be debt-free and educated in the future.
Obviously, the scheme isn’t perfect and it is far from a catch-all solution for waste, but if it encourages people to recycle and pick up litter, then it is a step in the right direction.
And it’s putting The Boy through college. Win-win.