Kelly Ripa, the chatty star of Live! with Regis and Kelly and former All My Children actress is one busy bee. Besides being mom to three kids (Michael, 12, Lola, 8, and Joaquin, 7) with husband, Mark Consuelos, she’s also recently teamed up with ElectroLux appliances to promote living eco-consciously. To celebrate Earth Day, we caught up with the perky talk-show host to discuss parenting with a “green” thumb – and the hardest thing she’s had to learn to live without.
Has going green impacted the way you parent?
I’ve learned far more from my children about going green than any other outlet. They go to a school that stresses protecting and saving the environment and preventing future damage. Recycling, reusing – even their school projects are made from what’s called “beautiful junk”: old paper towels, tissue boxes, things we [would throw away at home]. They’re beautiful treasures; the kids display them proudly at the school. Plus, energy efficient auto-flush toilets and sensory sinks, because children tend to turn on faucets and walk away. The school got hip to that quickly.
What do you teach your kids about the enviroment?
We’ve been very good about teaching our kids to use energy-efficient appliances. Turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth, so you’re not just wasting it. Take shorter showers, which is no problem with boys; you can just sort of hose them down as they’re walking by! If you’re married, why not co-shower? It’s quicker, faster – and you have someone there to wash your back! It’s the little things. We had a toaster that sat on our countertop plugged in for years! How much energy could we have saved if we just unplugged it?
What’s the challenge of being an eco-friendly mom?
The challenges are – and I don’t think I’m alone here – everybody wants to be a part of the problem. I [want] to take a shower and condition my hair for five minutes, or I want to throw my trash all in one place, because it’s easier than separating. The problem is nobody is willing to do it, so everybody has to do their share. If it’s a little bit, it’s a little bit – it’s better than nothing!
What’s a parenting shortcut that you had to give up to go green?
Giving up plastic utensils was hard. That’s a perfect example. It was so convenient to go to the park and have a picnic, and now you have to take everything home and wash it. But in the end, you’re saving the environment tons. There are also recycled paper products, although I have to say my kids don’t like them very much. They say they give them splinters in their tongues!