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?