I am a cloth diapering dropout
I am a cloth-diapering dropout. I was going to cloth-diaper Ike. I was so certain that I would cloth-diaper that I committed myself to a month of diapering service with pre-folds. I had them delivered two weeks before my due date, packed them in the “going to the hospital bag.” I bought nearly a dozen different diaper covers online in size newborn and small. The scientist in me wanted to try every possible diaper cover on the market.
And then, of course, Ike was born. I compare those first weeks of taking care of a newborn to bailing a leaky lifeboat. You are frantically bailing to keep up with the leak and it occurs to you that to have any chance of surviving, cargo must be tossed overboard. And you begin chucking things over the side, at first guiltily, and then defiantly. Clean house: gone. Laundry: gone. Blow-dried hair: gone, gone, gone.
Cloth diapering: gone. I’m not sure what it was that attracted me to cloth diapering. I think it was the aesthetics: the stacks of fluffy, clean, freshly laundered diapers, the cute little covers with pudgy baby thighs chubbing out at the edges, the vague aura virtuous “green” living.
But, aesthetics were not enough. I was a brand new mom, and in a mood to hate anything that robbed me of just thirty seconds of my free time. I had set myself up to hate cloth diapering, and hate it I did. I quit that diaper service as soon as I could. Of course, first I had to use the diapers for a month. That seemed to be penance for my over-confidence, for my breezy assumption that I could be super-mom from the get go.
I do regret quitting sometimes. How we care for our children is, at some level, a form of self-expression. Cloth-diapering is thrifty, retro, colorful and environmentally conscious, all things I think I am. But, you know, I could always start cloth diapering now. Ike is only 11 months old. I could have years of cloth diapering ahead of me! And I don’t. Because at the end of the day, I know that I’d still rather sew or read or cuddle my boy than wash diapers.