Deep thoughts from an overtired mind

By Mir
November 28, 2006

I stood in the kitchen this afternoon, transfixed by an empty jar of peanut butter. It was maybe 1:30 and I’d finally gotten around to making myself some lunch. So I pulled out the crunchy peanut butter and some cherry preserves (mmmm… sugary fruit) and made myself a sandwich by carefully scraping the last of the peanut butter from the jar.

Then I stood there, jar in hand, while a battle raged within me. On the one hand: I am a proponent of recycling. On the other hand: Peanut butter is sticky, and the jar really needed to be WASHED rather than just rinsed, and it was already well past my normal lunchtime and I was hungry and tired. On the third (invisible! mutant!) hand: Have I really become the sort of person who shirks recycling because, waaahhhh, it’s too HARD?

Yes. Yes, I have. I threw the jar away, and with it, all hopes for a clean planet for my children. (And that Native American guy crying in the corner of my kitchen was a little disturbing.)

I can say nothing in my own defense other than that I’m lazy. Oh, and that I hadn’t had breakfast, so maybe my blood sugar was low, and did I mention that I only got five hours of sleep, and— Nevermind. Let’s just stick with lazy.

Karma’s a bitch, though. Later, as I rubbed my eyes and wondered at what point, exactly, the random musings about getting up from the computer and never writing another word again change from “idle thought” to “viable escape plan” status, I somehow made a playdate for the kids for tomorrow afternoon. I only just cleaned their rooms and dug out the playroom, so what did I do in my stupor? Invite two extra kids over! SMART!

In other news: Chickadee has started calling me Mom. In that world-weary, tween indignation sort of way. I am no longer Mama. That’s babyish. I’m Mom. Actually more like MOOO-OOOOM *heavy sigh*. I find myself looking for ways to trick her into calling me Mama only about half as often as I try to come up with new and exciting ways to be INSUFFERABLE and OLD just to further vex her. It’s the great circle of life.

I think that tomorrow I’m going to ask her to fish that peanut butter jar out of the trash and wash it for me. That should be fun.


  1. Jenn

    I always throw out the empty peanut butter jars. I figure that I replaced our bulbs with compact flourescents, so I’ve earned it. Even if I can’t really spell “flourescent.”

  2. Tracey

    I have that peanut butter jar dilemma too! Only I factor in to the dilemma the issue of using up too much water to wash it. Recycling vs Conserving Water. With peanut butter, the Conserving Water wins out. (Maybe it’s not such a big thing in the US, but here (Aust.) it is.) Guilt, guilt, guilt over using water unnecessarily.
    So you could use that line, and then you won’t feel lazy. (Like I also am.)

  3. Chrissie

    Am i just weird because i run my peanut butter jar through the dishwasher before i recycle it?

    could be!

  4. Daily Tragedies

    Use my patented tricks for lazy recycling! Step one, squeeze one generous pump of dish soap into peanut butter jar. Step two, fill jar with water (preferably hot, but don’t strain yourself). Step three, leave jar in sink until you do the dinner dishes; in the meantime, take a nap.

  5. Fold My Laundry Please

    I’m with Chrissie. Just toss that sticky jar into the dishwasher and it will take care of itself!

  6. nancy

    I’m with Chrissie and the dishwasher solution. Of course now I live in an apartment with no dishwasher and no recycling bin and I have a tribe of crying Native Americans in my kitchen as I throw away plastic and glass. I really need a container system and to find the nearest recycling place, I could be making money!

  7. Karen Rani

    You CAN recycle that jar with peanut butter in it. I do it all the time and I leave the lid off so I can feed the neighbourhood coons and mice. It’s like one big Disney Cinderella scene here with all the woodland animals.
    Wow. Maybe I should get some sleep.

  8. Tug

    After my daughter left home & got married, I moved back to “Mama” status. And I SIGH. It’s all good…

  9. Gillian

    We have to pay to recycle. I can’t afford it.

  10. Cele

    I am dilegent about recycling…until I get to the plastic peanut butter jar. They are just too darn hard to clean.

  11. Rebecca

    We have to pay for trash, recycle is free and you are fined if you throw recycleables uh, spell check, in the trash. So I take the high and lazy road by throwing my dirty peanut butter jar in the recycle – save water and no fines. They’ll wash it later anyway, right?

  12. Marvo

    What? Your tongue isn’t long enough to lick the peanut butter jar clean? It’s how I do it.

  13. Amy

    Here’s how to handle the PB jars: Set it next to the sink to wait until you do dishes. When you are done and have a sink of soapy, mildly dirty water, wash it in that. Don’t even worry about rinsing much. Then you aren’t using any extra water or time, really. OR–move to a lame community that doesn’t even recycle @1 plastic (Who doesn’t recycle @1 plastic these days? Losers. At least we don’t have to pay like Gillian–that’s ridiculous!)) and then you can say “it’s not MY fault I can’t recycle this!”

  14. Brigitte

    I tried leaving my peanut butter jar out once, like Karen Rani, for the woodland critters to clean . . . only (stupid me), it was PLASTIC and the critters ate half the jar (ow, what roughage)!

  15. Niki

    I am often way too lazy to recycle things like that. Plus, we have a tiny little recycle bin the size of a laundry basket. With newspapers, cereal boxes, and milk jugs, one little PB jar just won’t fit, right? I’m trying to be better, really I am.

    Both of my girls, 16 & 11, still call me Mommy. Even in front of their friends at school, which shocks me. Of course, my daddy’s still my daddy, but I gave up the Mommy thing at about 12. I’ll take it as long as I can get it – it just sounds so much sweeter than Moohhhmmm (said with a whine, a sigh, and a rolling of the eyes). You can’t do all that when you say Mommy – just the whine, but I’ll take it.

  16. tori

    My kids all gave up mommy a few years ago. It made me sad! My baby (he’s almost 3) never called me anything but mom because he learned it from the older three. He does sometimes call me Tori, which is funny, but not really appropriate for him to be calling me. Every once in a great while, my 6 year old (while sick or scared or something) will call me mama. I find it funny that my three kids had three different names for me…one calling me mama, one called me mommy, and one called me mommymom. I miss them being really little!

  17. Carmen

    Mir, I just toss it in the dishwasher. I’m pretty lazy like that.

  18. Bob

    you need to develop a new viewpoint. you will soon be a southerner and as such you should view any glass container as a potential tea receptacle. you not only truly recycle the glass jar by continuing to use it, you also help adapt yourself to your new culture.

    (the really fancy recycle their bell canning jars as tea glasses – for company, of course.)

    you think I’m joking?

  19. Mir

    I know you’re not joking, Bob. This was a PLASTIC jar, however.

    And Carmen: I once put one in the dishwasher. I forgot to take the label off, first. Suffice it to say it ended up being a traumatic experience.

  20. Liz

    I throw away the nut butter jars too…figure I’m wasting too much water to make it worthwhile. I hope (in vain!) that the jars will be pulled out anyways out of the trash

  21. Elizabeth

    Ooh, Mir! This will appeal to your frugal side-if it is a Jif brand jar, or another brand with a red lid, then it is a container for a homemade Christmas gift!!! I save mine all year on a shelf in the basement (washed, of course), then fill them with mini candy bars and give them to my kids’ teachers and their friends for gifts. They are always a big hit!

  22. Melanie

    I threw away a yogurt container yesterday and I’m still feeling shame today. I’ve thought about fishing it out a few times but haven’t yet… Recycling is harder than it should be.

  23. Two Sirius

    I just don’t eat peanut butter. Works for me!

  24. lizneust

    I usually squirt dish soap & lots of hot water in it and leave it to sit for the day or overnight. If that doesn’t do it, then I throw it in the dishwasher. I’m a big believer in effort reduction solutions – like, instead of ironing? Spritz water on the wrinkles the night before and let ’em hang out – LOVE that one. As for the Mama-to-Mom transition, my 3 year old has already adopted the Mooo-om *sigh* routine. Sniff.

  25. Alison

    I find a labrador retriever to be an efective means of cleaning the remains from a peanut butter jar. Pretty darn entertaining too.

  26. Aubri

    So, yeah that crying Native American guy… you can tell him to stop… He’s not even really a Native American! His parents were immigrants from Sicily. And the tear? Wasn’t even a tear. It was fake too… glycerin from what I remember. All that guilt from childhood feels totally misplaced now.

  27. Sara

    My husband just last week toured our local recycling facility (he is a major dork but I love him). Anyway, the tour guide said that even if you wash they simply cannot recycle peanut butter jars. Too much residue! I was so happy to not have to clean them out! So- have no more guilt about your sticky jars!

  28. Sheila

    My town just had an explosion and fire at the facility where they separate recyclables, which are bagged in special blue bags and collected with our regular trash. Until they can fix things up at the sorting place, all of our blue-bagged items will be thrown in a landfill with the rest of the refuse, UNLESS we citizens drive our own bags to a drop-off point, which is yet to be named. I’m really torn about what to do. Do I store everything in my garage until we can recycle again? Do I take the bags to the new place myself, with unknown juices (ack) seeping from the bags and spreading all over the car? Let them be taken to a landfill? I have also thought of taking them a mere two blocks to the border between my town and the next, and leaving a bag or two in someone else’s bin, all in the name of leaving the planet clean for future generations.

    And while I’m deciding all of that, I still feel guilt about not washing the peanut butter and salad dressing containers.

  29. Rachel May

    My son (who is 2) sometimes hollers “Honey!” when he can’t find me… LOL! (That’s what my hubby always calls me.)

  30. Kimmie

    *snicker* I’ve been recycling pb jars but I had trouble with this last one. I usually just soak the heck out of it in soapy water. Didn’t work this time. Put it in the microwave to melt the pb a little. Melted the jar so the damn thing went in the trash anyway.

  31. Tiny Coconut

    Um…Really? You’re supposed to wash out recyclables? How very…interesting…

    My garbage men must HATE me.

  32. Stevie

    Thinking of sick and cruel ways to punish the tween for moving into the heaving-sigh-parents-are-so-stupid phase of her life- I love it!

  33. Jenn2

    Hey, you haven’t arrived until you become, “mo-THER,” complete with sigh and eye-roll. I actually do things just to provoke that reaction. Drama Queen now has to call Mr. Clairol “Dad,” because Missy Hoohaw is calling him by his first name. Too funny.

  34. Suebob

    Re: the thoughts about recycling. I am so glad to find out that I am not the only one who does this.

  35. kerrianne

    I still call my mom “momma.” But I suppose it was a name I stumbled upon some time after I stopped calling her “ma-ma” and called her “mom” for years. So, maybe she’ll come back around to it, I think was my overall point. : )

  36. Barb

    My almost 5 yr old son has recently starting calling me Mom instead of Mommy, which has nearly broken my heart. Even worse, his almost 3 yr old brother is following suit and has moved way too quickly from Maaa to Mama to Mommy to Mom. I keep telling Hubby we have to have another baby because these two are growing up too fast!

  37. Liise

    Everyone seems focused on the Peanut Butter.

    I am here to tell you that Chickadee will revert to mama when A) she wants something from you or B) she turns 20 something or C) when she has a chickadee of her own.

    Love from:
    A once very sullen teenaged girl

  38. Gina

    Back to the peanut butter (ha, sorry, I just don’t have any kid advice to share):

    Yay for everyone for recycling! Really! I work at our local recycling entity, and I’m so tired of people telling me recycling is stupid because stuff just goes to the landfill anyway. IT DOES GET RECYCLED, really! Except, um, sometimes glass jars. There’s simply a glut in the market and manufacturers are moving so much to plastic, that it isn’t always economically feasible to recycle glass (maybe someday). So, for harried moms, etc out there, I’d say don’t feel too guilty for throwing an occasional gross glass jar away; I even do that sometimes. But keep recycling, mostly!

  39. Jessica

    hey…haven’t you heard that most of that plastic actually doesn’t get recycled into anything usable? Well, seriously, before you worry about cleaing the PB jar, read this article and see if it is actually worth the trouble–every plastic bottle has a number on the bottom saying what kind of plastic it is. The article will tell you which can be recycled–some can, some cannot, and some should be but it costs more than it would to make new plastic, so it isn’t. It’s worth a look!

    and….for cleaning jars, hot soapy water still works the best on pB.

  40. Caroline

    Wait… You actually wash stuff before you recycle it?

  41. shannon

    a little late chiming in on this one (what, you expected me to read any blogs or even look at the internet last week when in hawaii?!?)…

    i simply soak the peanutbutter jar with hot water. later in the day, i just run water through it and the pb pulls right off the sides.

    easy peasy. :)

  42. A Binman

    Peanut butter jars are one of the most annoying things to clean when it comes to glass.

    But just put it in with the rest of your glass, in the recycling plants all glass is boiled to remove stickers etc anyway.

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