I met Sommer when we both became co-founders of the Green Moms Carnival. She's become a great source of information on many green issues that relate to kids – and if you're looking for a bargain, chances are, she's got one via the many great contests she promotes on her site.
Recently, I interviewed Sommer to find out what motivates her to be so green. Here's what she had to say:
Why are you writing this blog or spear-heading your site instead of, oh I don't know, learning how to play the piano?
I started Green and Clean Mom as a way to reach other moms like myself. Two years ago, in my small town, when I started talking BPA, non-toxic cleaners and organic food I had a third eye. I wanted to feel encouraged, motivated and inspired and give back to others. Green and Clean Mom really is like learning how to play the piano or sing – it takes time, practice, self reflection, an audience and self motivation.
What makes your site different from the thousands of other blogs/sites out there?
When I started Green and Clean Mom I really wasn’t trying to be different or set myself apart from other bloggers. As my site grew and then turned into a business I’ve had to learn some marketing technique, social media strategy and be competitive but I don’t really like to say my voice is “better” than any other blogger out there. The site as a whole offers a lot of variety, product reviews, giveaways, perspectives and unique content as well as a very large community of moms. Again, I really hope to encourage and support rather than judge at Green and Clean Mom. The idea of being some shade of green really applies at Green and Clean Mom.
Who are you trying to reach, and why?
Green and Clean Mom seems to focus on moms but the audience is vast and varied. Anyone going green can read the site and gain something. Parents, grandparents, teachers and companies are my main focus.
What has been your favorite blogpost?
A favorite post – out of over 500 hundred that would be pretty hard to pick – like a paragraph out of a novel! This question has made me really think and scroll through my posts and out of all the posts I’ve enjoyed mostly writing about those that will help my audience and those that are a reflection of who I am, as a person. Here are two I particularly like:
What do you hate writing about but you do it anyway?
I wouldn’t say I hate writing about anything but I’d rather not be pressured or under a deadline because the fun can be sucked right out of blogging when something has to get written. I like doing product reviews but they’re getting more difficult and it’s amazing to me how PR companies are really pushing bloggers. I hate getting emails from a PR company asking me to do a million things for a review, needing stats, comment numbers, asking if I posted, sending me reminders and just asking for lots but giving me nothing. This bothers me the most.
What is the one green action you've taken that has turned out to be much easier than you thought it would be?
Ditching paper towels has been a breeze but something I hesitated doing. I thought it would be hard because we were so dependent on them. Once we started using the Skoy Cloth and old rags and wash clothes, it has been easy. A big money saver as well!
What do you never want to do again?
Truthfully I can’t think of anything I’d never do again. Everything I’ve tried has been worthwhile and educational.
Where do you want to make the biggest difference?
I’d really like to help ordinary moms realize that if they start to switch out one cleaning product to a safer alternative it is healthier for their family and children. Starting in your home environment impacts the bigger environment but it can feel more possible than thinking about global warming, for example.
As my son gets ready to enter Kindergarten, I hope to have an impact on Michigan’s public school system and the traditional childcare and preschool classrooms that are using bleach, toys that are made of PVC and sippy cups and dishware that are made of BPA. This really concerns me that schools are where are children spend so much time but they’re sprayed with pesticides, have toxic cleaners and many lunch programs are far from organic or healthy.
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to go green?
Start somewhere. It is not a race or competition and if you’re open minded to doing something it usually become contagious and you want to learn more and do more. I always advise people to not go off the deep end and do so much so soon that they drive themselves and their families nuts (I did this). I find people quit and give up on their effort when this happens.