When I was pregnant with my first child … and had all sorts of free time I never knew I had until it was gone … I read Mothering magazine voraciously.  I would flip through the articles and ads and think about what kind of parent I wanted to be to the baby in my belly.

The articles about cloth diapers always caught my eye.  (Those fluffy little bottoms were just so darn cute!)

I convinced a skeptical husband to give cloth diapering a whirl, and after some investigation, I invested in a “stash” of FuzziBunz pocket diapers.

Fast forward five years and three kids and my once-skeptical husband would wholeheartedly agree that we have loved cloth diapering our children.  I haven’t regretted it for a second.

Along the way, I have noticed a common reaction when I disclose that we cloth diaper.  (Or when people hold my babies and feel that puffy behind.)  It’s not a universal reaction, but common enough that I have given it some thought.

There’s the “praise”:

  • “Oh, I could never do that.  You’re so good.”
  • “You’re such a good mom.”
  • “You’re so amazing.”
  • “You’re so green.”

And then there are the “excuses” or disclaimers:

  • “I just don’t have the time to do that.”
  • “I know I should do it, but I am barely making it as it is.”
  • “It’s not all that much better for the environment.”

Whether “praise” or “excuse,” these types of comments make me equally uncomfortable.  I don’t like the suggestion that there exists some code of conduct that makes one mother superior to another, or one set of parenting choices that is somehow the “right” thing to do.  (Excepting, of course, extremes like abuse and neglect.  Assume for me here that all of these people love and care for their children.)

In my observation, the happiest and most satisfied parents are those who a) know themselves and their value systems and b) make parenting and lifestyle choices based on this self-awareness and their value systems.

Truth be told, my desire to cloth diaper was not driven by the environmental impact of “sposies,” though that was a nice bonus.  I happen to have a little hoarding tendency and the thought of running out of diapers sends me into spasms.  (This despite the fact that I can walk to a 24 hour CVS from my house.)  I also didn’t like the idea of all of those gel sorts of chemicals mashed up against my baby’s private parts.

I know myself.  I know what type of home I run.  I opted to cloth diaper.  Myself … my choice.  It’s not sanctimony.  It’s not a desire to raise the “perfect child.”  It’s just what worked for us.

Now, you tell me – have you ever made a lifestyle or wellness decision that led others to make certain assumptions about you?  Did that strengthen or weaken your resolve?

7 Responses to “Fluffy Bottomed Self-Awareness”

  1. on 01 Nov 2012 at 12:35 pmTracy S

    Yes, I get this all the time! We didn’t CD with Sam. I wanted to, but I just got overwhelmed with all the choices. So I decided to research it in my last trimester, you know, the trimester I never had? Then after Sam came early, well, it was just information overload! So when I got pregnant with Caed, I started right away researching and talking to my friends who CD. And I never looked back. But people think my choice to CD is somehow a comment on their lifestyle choices. No, I just didn’t want to buy diapers every month. I’m cheap. 😉

  2. on 01 Nov 2012 at 12:45 pmKristine Rudolph

    I hear you on the $$! It was a hefty outlay at the beginning, but now that all three have used them I know we came out way ahead. BabyCenter estimates sposies cost $72 a month. Both #1 and #1 potty trained at 27 months, so that’s $1944 total that I didn’t spend per kid. If Baby A potty trains at that point too, then I conservatively estimate a little more than $4k in savings over all three.

  3. on 11 Jan 2013 at 5:33 pmCarrie

    I had to stop on over from Katy Bowman’s blog 🙂
    Yes, for me a big one was “Since you had homebirths, you must have a high tolerance for pain.”
    Umm.. no. My last birth had me talking out loud to keep myself from losing it. The pain was super intense, a short labor, and I cried out to God over and over and over. I take aspirin when I have a headache.
    It’s not about being superwoman.

  4. on 11 Jan 2013 at 5:55 pmKristine Rudolph

    I am so glad that you did stop by! I say “Katy Says” a lot over here.

    I bit my husband during my first and third labors. I think he protected himself better during the short one. Yeah, I’m no hero.

    I can’t imagine how many comments you have gotten for having a home birth. I know what people say when I went unmedicated, so I can only imagine the responses and reactions you get!

  5. […] You know I love my cloth diapers, but it’s possible that the thick dipes may hinder my baby’s walking a bit.  […]

  6. […] summer and my berry hoarding tendencies are at their […]

  7. […] Speaking of criticism, there were lines in this post called “My Choice to Parent Differently Does Not Imply Your Way is Wrong” that I could have written!  I actually hit on some of the same themes here. […]

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