Greetings to all Thirsties blog readers and users out there! A quick introduction today before jumping right into my first post – my name is Megan, and I’m over-the-moon excited to be chatting with you here. I hope that my topics and experiences will speak to you on many levels as we take this journey together. I look forward to getting to know you and hearing your own thoughts in the comments!
As a soon to be second-time mama, it’s sometimes hard to admit that I didn’t succeed at everything the first time around. I never got the hang of babywearing. My disciplining voice is still far from the gentle parenting resources I’ve read and admired. And, the biggest “shoulda-coulda-woulda” parenting moment of them all: I failed at cloth diapering.
For the cloth diapering pros out there, you may be chuckling to yourselves. After all, what’s so hard about cloth diapering? Once you get the hang of it, it’s so easy! You’re making it harder on yourself by not CDing. Yes, I’ve heard it all and, yes, I believe you. Yet, it still simply didn’t happen for us the first time. We had a fluffy-bummed child maybe a dozen times in total.
I think that we had a lot going against us from the start. We had a colicky little guy who put me, his father, and his grandmother (our angel who has watched him during the week from two months onward) through the wringer; the last thing I wanted to do was add the learning curve of CDs to the mix. The rigors and unexpected challenges of breastfeeding took their toll on my energy level and, at times, my sheer willpower to exist. Returning to work sapped me of any emotional joy for longer than expected. Plus, there was the fact that I was also a bit of an outcast as far as friends and family in terms of wanting to cloth diaper, who weren’t exactly supportive.
In addition to these pretty personal reasons for getting a big ol’ F in cloth diapering, I found that there were three overarching, overwhelming main reasons I didn’t stick with it:
* I put all my eggs in one basket. After doing countless hours of research (you all know I’m not exaggerating!), I decided to purchase a good amount of diapers being touted by my favorite bloggers. Yup, all one brand, all one style. This works for a lot of people, but in our case, with a chunky monkey son (10+ pounds at birth), the brand didn’t fit his thighs and the AIO style took FOREVER to dry. I later tried a sample box with a variety of styles, which is an awesome idea in theory, but I think I already felt like I was drowning and had invested tons of money. Enter “overwhelmed” status, stage right.
* I didn’t give myself a starting time. I wasn’t quite sure when I’d start CDing; just that I would, at some point. I had tons of gifted disposable diapers to use up first and never really set a date. Finally, I did a couple of cloth diaper tries, but for whatever reason (habit?), I’d go back to the old ‘sposies. Without a clear, official start date, I never committed. I guess it’s kind of like a relationship; you literally can’t move forward until you have your first “real” date.
* I allowed myself to let the white noise win. Y’know those countless hours of computer time I mentioned above? Any vast amounts of research are bound to fill your head with information: some incredibly useful, some not helpful or just irrelevant, and most simply white noise. The white noise, constant questioning of CD types/styles/troubleshooting and so forth, definitely left my head spinning. I was ultimately overwhelmed by it all.
Fast forward three years. For our second child, I am once again committed (actually, more so) to giving cloth diapering a serious try. I’m learning from my mistakes. Given the issues I had and the lessons I’ve learned, my goals have now evolved:
* Keep research wiser and more concise. Sure, I’ve joined a few cloth diapering communities on Facebook, but I’m doing well at tuning out the white noise and sifting out the gold-filled wisdom nuggets. From the best cloth diapering sites (which give a great, SIMPLE rundown of the CD types and brands) and reliable reviews for certain CDs, I feel I’m better able now to mute all the unnecessary white noise. Plus, I don’t have as much time these days to endlessly scroll through every CD website known to man. #toddlerchasing
* Know thyself and chill out. If this is your first time at the rodeo, cut yourself some slack. Heck, if it’s your 9th time, do the same. I know full well that I won’t feel like CDing in the hospital, or probably the first couple of weeks or so. Given the little one’s size (apparently, we grow ’em big), I’ll use that as a gauge and mark on the calendar the exact date that CDing will commence. I seriously need this kind of reminder to keep myself on track…and, yes, I will laugh at myself one day for doing that. Oh, and I’m reminding myself that one time falling off the wagon (say, tummy troubles strike or we’re traveling for a long while) does not a failure make!
* Get others on board. My husband is a total supporter of cloth, but his knowledge pretty much ends there. I don’t blame him for not spending HOURS researching; our brains just don’t work the same way and his interest isn’t quite as deep as mine. So, after sifting through so much info, I feel that it’s my job to let him know the basics and have a chat about how everything will go down. Just as he was uber supportive in breastfeeding, I hope that he’ll help by stepping up when we receive the negative responses or curious questions. Also, by talking with family (and knowing that there are online support communities – yay!), I hope to surround myself with the support to succeed this time.
* Variety is the spice of life. I don’t think I’d be good at getting a variety pack of diapers after the little one comes and having to make the decision on brands/styles at that point. I wouldn’t feel prepared enough. Instead, I’m reading the message boards and sites for what will fit a variety of needs and what get the highest ratings, overall. After reading those solid mama reviews, I’m now pretty confident about growing a stash that’s practical, economical, and varied. (Although, if I hear the word “resale” one more time… What postpartum woman feels like selling, packaging and mailing ANYTHING? Just not something I enjoy, even on a normal day! ;-))
And, for the record, for everything I feel I “failed” at, there are a hundred more parenting wins we are glad to say we nailed. What are YOUR parenting wins, cloth diaper-related or not? And did you find your vibe with cloth diapers easily, or did it take some trial and error to get it right?
(And I’m still determined to babywear this next little peanut like a fiend the second time around, too.)