I’m writing to you, family who cloth diapers your child(ren) part of the time, to say I understand. I know you’re there, seeing pictures of humongous cloth diaper stashes. Watching those folks who #buyallthediapers. Hearing the somewhat competitive conversations between fellow cloth diaperers about their hand sewn cloth wipes and homemade wipe solutions. Thinking that you can’t participate in the #makeclothmainstream challenge because your child only sports cloth at certain times of the day or week. I get it...100%. Because, y’know what? I’m with you. I’m a part-timer. I never ended up taking the extra steps to ask my mother-in-law to deal with our cloth diapers when she babysits during the week. There are a few reasons (a huge one being that she washes the kids’ clothes every time they get changed rather than sending them home and I hated to get nitpicky about the wash routine), but overall it just wasn’t something I wanted to bother her over. She buys the diapers for her house and I pick my battles, and she does so much for us that I weighed my options. It just wasn’t worth it. And y’know what? I still consider myself a cloth diapering mama. I love my Thirsties (and a couple other brands), LOVE that I’ve found an awesome nighttime solution for my daughter, and particularly appreciate how it cuts back on our waste and cost. I still feel just as empowered as the other mamas, and you should, too. Awhile ago, a dear friend with a daughter the same age as ours came back to town for a visit. The topic of cloth diapering came up and she, rather humorously, said that all of her friends and acquaintances down in her big, bustling new city were into cloth diapering. “Ugh, I could never do it. They are all SOOO gung-ho. Nothing you ever do is good enough, so why even try?” It bummed me out. I explained to her that every little bit counts and, no, it’s really not as hard as people think. I’m not sure I got very far with her, but it definitely got my gears turning. What about all the other moms out there who feel the same way? Like they’re not doing enough because they’re not doing 100%?
So much of parenthood these days has become a competition. The perfect first day of school post along with the adorably filled-out chalkboard sign. The healthiest, most delicious, most beautiful (really?!) bento box lunches. The list goes on and on. My family’s far from perfect, but I’m trying to embrace it and enjoy the quirky fun that it brings with it. We try to implement green practices but for the life of me I can’t find a reusable water bottle that doesn’t weigh, like, 80 pounds so I keep refilling a plastic one; horrible option, but at least I’m not trashing it. We try to eat organically but aren’t above sharing a homemade meal made by one of our parents - most definitely NOT organic - because the experience and kindness behind it is more important to us than our ideals. We wish that we could be gentle parents and try our best to be, but we lose our tempers (and later apologize) just like anyone else. “Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection,” Kim Collins has been quoted saying. While we moms and dads should continue to do our very best and, yes, even strive to improve our parenting for the sake of our children, perfection is far too daunting to burden ourselves with. Just keep going. Just keep going.
I see you there, whether you’re a full-time or part-time cloth diapering family. I know you’re doing your best for your family. I salute you for all you do.