Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How Cloth Diapering Made Me a Better Mom

Before anyone gets offended, I don't feel like I'm a better mom than anyone else; I just feel like a better mom than I was before. I recently jumped into cloth diapering with my second child, and I've been very pleased at the ripples it has caused in my life.  For me, cloth diapering helped me get off my butt, literally and figuratively.

My stash after my first purchases
My gorgeous cloth diapers that I wash every two days (I could get away with three if I bought a few more, but I'm enjoying seeing how few diapers I can get away with) keep me on a schedule.  I am a person who needs a schedule, or I get nothing done.  My cloth diapers keep me active.  Go downstairs, put diapers in for ten minute cold rinse.  Go back down, wash on warm.  Go back down, put in dryer for 45 minutes on low. Go back down, take out my (beautiful) PUL covers and put them on rack to dry, dry rest of diapers/inserts for a hour on regular.  (Some moms dry all the diapers/inserts, but I'm too paranoid about ruining my beautiful bumGenius 4.0 PUL covers).  It's easy to be motivated to do this multistep wash because if I don't, my baby has no cloth diapers to wear, and her mommy doesn't have adorable cloth diapers to revel in all day. I wake up with a purpose: are my cloth diapers clean?   

Diapers loaned by friend
Cloth diapering also helped me get off my butt, health-wise.  I started cloth diapering because I read that disposable diapers have dioxin, a cancer-causing chemical in them.  This was just after I learned that Tide Free, the detergent I've used for YEARS, had unhealthy levels of dioxin.  The amount of dioxin I could be exposing my kids to really freaked me out.  I immediately emailed all my cloth diapering friends and asked how to get started with cloth, and I've been on a roll since!  I did a 3 week trial of 8-9 different diapers from Jillian’s Drawers, and all 3 of my friends loaned me diapers to try; this way, I wouldn't spend money until I knew what worked best for me!  
Once I got the girl in cloth, and saw how easy that change was, I started looking at other things that used to seem hard.  To be able to deal with my children’s poop so easily- with just a washing machine and later, as poop gets more solid, a diaper sprayer, is very empowering! I figured if I could do cloth diapers, I could do anything!  I began learning how to find shampoos and sunscreens that didn't have bad chemicals in them.  I started doing all organic veggies and I'm looking into using safer cleaners in my home. To make sure I use all the organic fruits and veggies that show up at my house every Wednesday, I've had to cook and meal plan more.  I'm hoping this will make my whole family more healthy.  
In the center, great colors by bumGenius
Cloth diapering also got me off my butt environmentally. I'd always had an impression of cloth diapering as being sort of gross and inconvenient. Once I realized how rewarding it felt to wash what I already owned, as opposed to buying new stuff to use once and throw away, I explored other ways I could make less garbage. I started using cloth napkins, because once I was in the routine of washing my cloth, it seemed easy to wash my napkins and placemats.  I bought a couple of those (adorable!!!) reusable snack bags.  I became even more committed to basics like recycling and using cloth bags and stainless steel water bottles. 
I don't think anyone else is a bad mom because they DON'T cloth diaper or eat organic veggies, I just think I personally have become a more motivated, more knowledgeable mom than I myself was before.  Learning about how I can life in a more healthy, environmentally friendly way- without too much inconvenience!- has been eye-opening in a good way.  
And of course there are about 8,000 more ways I could still become a better mom (being more patient, feeding my son healthier food, coming up with more interesting afternoon activities, doing more art with my son).  Parenting is truly a humbling job.  

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