Four years ago I was a newly minted mama.
I had a 2-month-old baby, and a stack of soft, never-pooped-on cloth diapers arranged neatly in my change table drawer. I had done all the research while I was pregnant – hours upon hours of reading and searching for every last cloth diapering article I could find. I was armed and loaded with my top three reasons for cloth diapering (health, frugality, and eco-consciousness).
And also? I was terrified.
Of what, I’m not entirely sure. But for whatever reason it took me until my baby was about 3 months old before I snapped that first diaper onto his cute little bottom. Of course, it was way easier than I expected, and I quickly fell in love with the fluffy diaper bum look.
Fast forward to present-day, and I’ve birthed three babies in four years. That first little babe potty trained the day after his third birthday, but the second and third are both currently in diapers.
Now, for anyone who has ever had a breastfed baby (or maybe this applies to a formula-fed baby too, though I can’t say for sure), this is fairly obvious:
Babies poop a lot.
It’s their spiritual gift, I think. No word of a lie: a significant portion of my day is spent dealing with diapers – changing them, lugging them down to the laundry room, washing them, stuffing/folding them, repeat, repeat, repeat…
(Thanks to my smart mom, I no longer fold my cloth wipes – I throw ’em in a basket on the back of the toilet. Yes, I used to fold them… yes, it was a big waste of time!)
So, here’s where I have a confession for you. Because sometimes? A mama’s gotta do what a mama’s gotta do. In these last few months of adjusting to three kids (including a cross-country move and living out of suitcases for 2 months), we’ve been a part-time cloth diaper family at best.
We’ve used disposables far more often than I care to admit to myself, let alone the world. We’ve often done them for nighttime, because our babies are heavy wetters and poor sleepers, and we just didn’t need one.more.thing to steal precious sleep at night. But lately cloth has just been hit or miss in general.
– Dirty diaper bag getting too full and I didn’t make time to wash them today? Disposables tomorrow.
– Sitting on the floor to change a diaper and don’t feel like getting up, walking upstairs to get a cloth diaper, and coming back down? Grab a disposable.
– Want to change diapers less often today due to feeling lazy, overwhelmed, tired, etc? Slap a disposable on that cute bum and pray a prayer of protection from the nasty chemicals and yuckyness in them.
– Going out for the day and don’t have enough clean diapers to take along, or feel like lugging a huge extra bag with the necessary fluff plus accessories? (wet bag, wipes, wipe solution, etc). Just bring disposables.
Yup. Chalk it up to laziness. And overwhelm-ed-ness. And more laziness. And a tiny little bit of Totally Justified. (I mean, I’m the woman who went camping at 38 weeks pregnant and cloth-diapered the toddler for two days in the woods while tenting. Anytime I need to feel better about myself I just remember that story.)
But the thing is I still feel guilty.
It seems that anytime we veer from our mommy-ideals, it is generally accompanied with a generous side-helping of mommy-guilt.
It makes me wonder what I’m striving for here – a perfect execution of my ideals and plans? Or a minute-by-minute conceding to the grace that is woven throughout our days like a thread?
This grace-thread is whispering to me that I’m still an amazing mama even if I don’t meet all of my mothering goals and aspirations. It sounds a bit trite, but you know what? I struggle with letting that really sink down deep into my bones.
Right now, as my kiddos are asleep in their beds in disposable diapers (and one in big-boy underoos – hooray!), I know that I am ok with it. I am loved, life will go on, and tomorrow I have a load of dirty diaper laundry to do.
I am a part-time cloth diaper slacker, and these are my confessions.