Meet These Sustainable Badass Mamas

By Reza Cristián

These two amazing women are a force you don’t want to be reckon with. Not only are they out there saving the world, literally. They are also raising children in a time where our Mother Earth’s time is ticking. Which gives all the more reason to dive into their eco-conscious and raise awareness on sustainability.

Business woman by day and mother 24/7, 365 days a year. Nothing will literally stop these mamas from saving our mama Earth, because trust me when I say, she needs saving.

Meet Céline Semaan, founder of The Slow Factory and The Library Study Hall and Whitney McGuire, attorney and co-founder of Sustainable Brooklyn, both are mothers and based in Brooklyn. NY.

Céline is a mother of two daughters and Whitney is mother to a 12-month-old baby. Just in time for Mother’s Day, SUSTAIN was able to talk to these lovely mamas. Read more as they share their favorite sustainable products to the people in their life that inspire them to be their best self.

Whitney McGuire

Photo by Whitney McGuire

Photo by Whitney McGuire

What does it mean to be mother?

Motherhood is many things beyond birthing a child. To be a mother is to be a warrior and a fierce protector. A mother is a force. I believe motherhood demands expansion of self, abilities, and spirit predicated on the divine feminine. 

Who is your role model and what did you take away from them to help with your own little creation?

Most of the mothers in my life are my role models, so it's hard to narrow it down to just one. I think the major take aways I learned form them are: (1) to never neglect yourself, your health, and your happiness; (2) that you are capable of incredible things -- trust yourself; (3) have a very strong spiritual practice and faith.

How do you balance work/life?

My support system. A strong support system is vital and can alleviate a lot of anxiety about the idea of balance. I am an entrepreneur and a solo attorney. No day for me is the same. But knowing that I have a strong and expansive support system opens a lot more options for creating balance in work and life. I am intentional about expressing my gratitude for my support system through action, word, and prayer. 

Any tips for other mothers?

You're doing great. Let go of the idea of perfection and you'll have a lot more fun. Don't hesitate to ask for help. TAKE CARE OF YOUR MIND BODY AND SPIRIT. And make it a goal to not parent from a place of fear.

Now being sustainable and mother can be challenging, what are some lifestyle changes you took on or wish to take one? Any special products you love and want to share?

I think the entire maternity/ children's fashion industry is so wasteful. I always knew I wasn't going to invest in any clothing my child could quickly grow out of and I also knew I didn't want to purchase cheaply made clothing for him either, so I started a clothing swap with a coupe of mom friends. Luckily one of them had a baby who is about 1 year older than our son, so we essentially got his entire wardrobe when our son was born. This saved our pockets and our sanity. Plus they are very stylish people, so we didn't have to worry about our baby looking too crazy out here. I also started making all of his food once he could eat solids/purees. We use the scraps from his primarily plant-based diet for composting. 

I love CBD oil for me. RosebudCBD is my favorite. And NotPot makes a great gummy.


Céline Semaan

Photo by Céline Semaan

Photo by Céline Semaan

What does it mean to be mother?

I never thought of it, it just happened without me having to step back an analyze it. I guess it means to be on duty 24/7 and to do it with love, compassion, empathy and joy.

Who is your role model and what did you take away from them to help with your own little creation?

I guess I don't really have a role model, I do whatever feels right at the moment. I of course draw a lot of inspiration from the women around me, the women who raised me and the women who are raising my kids, one of my friend in particular Mariola is my biggest teacher. She teaches me to just trust myself, to know who I am and to lean into the unknown without judgement. I owe a lot of my new found wisdom to her.

How do you balance work/life?

I don't know that I am doing a good job at it. I have a hard time disconnecting and never quite want to stop working. So my kids established "no work/no   phones" rules and I joyfully accept and follow their rules too sometimes! We do hangout the 4 of us often, and when we do, my goal is to be present as much as possible, this means no photos, no phones, and just be there smelling their hair and kissing their toes. My dream is to on an island just the 4 of us, by the beach in a time capsule that never ends.

Any tips for other mothers?

Don't listen to anyone but yourself, and if you aren't sure of yourself, then please remember that you have to respect yourself, you have to love yourself and be strong in order to inspire your child to be as loving and strong as you are.

Now being sustainable and mother can be challenging, what are some lifestyle changes you took on or wish to take one? Any special products you love and want to share?

We stopped buying Nutella, and anything that contains "Palm Oil" — we limit takeout food to twice a week max, most of the time I cook dinner. When we eat home, I mostly cook Lebanese dishes because that's all I know for now, and that's how I communicate our heritage to my children. My kids are very aware of the environment and want to plant, compost and never use plastic. They realize that it takes work to achieve these goals, and sometimes we have small victories, and other times, we take our huge pile of recycling to the basement with a heavy heart not knowing much if it will be recycled at all since most companies collect the waste and don't recycle it at all. This includes clothing waste. We repair our items instead of purchasing new ones, we visit our local cobbler often, and find creative ways to extend the life of stained clothes by drawing on them, covering the stains.