Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Post Wherein I Pat Myself on the Back

After a couple of posts where I beat myself up over my many mother failings, I figure I owe it to me to sing my own praises. Because a website where I chronicle the mundane details of my life just isn't enough some days. Pass the wine and chocolate. Did I mention I spent $10 in dark chocolate at the grocery store? I excel at self-care.

But to the self-congratulation at hand: I diaper my child in cloth diapers. Yes, I know, I'm awesome. The environment would be sending me a thank you card any day now, but the carbon emissions and use of paper would cancel the minuscule amount of good I'm doing. Don't misunderstand me, I do believe that cloth diapers are an environmentally sound choice (even though they are washed in a washing machine that uses energy and water). I just tried to insert a little humility - you know - to cover the smug expression that creeps over my face whenever I notice my baby's well-padded bum.

Honestly, I do feel a warm glow of smug happiness at the sight of Katya's cloth diapers. But I think that's because they are so darn cute. In case you want the specifics, I use Bummies: they are pre-folds, with separate covers (yes, I speak cloth diaper fluently now). They much cheaper than regular diapers and have I mentioned how cute they are? In an age where guilt is pushed and peddled, it's nice to breath easy over something.

As long as I'm being honest, cloth diapers really aren't that hard. I think they have been mystified somehow. On a daily basis, I find that a little preparation: a diaper pail, a dry sac for the diaper bag, a certain laundry pattern (a cycle that washes and rinses with cold water, then an additional cycle that washes and rinses with hot water) really doesn't overwhelm an already busy life. In the interest of full disclosure, while vacationing, I use disposable diapers and I feel terrible about it. I guess that's why I was surprised to find this article:

NY TIMES: Green but still feeling Guilty

These people are really going for the green gold. They are buying carbon offsets, washing their hands in toilet water; they go green for a living. I find it amazing that they aren't using cloth diapers. Diaper services would even help a mom and dad too busy blogging about greening the world to wash some diapers. I believe the environment does need saving and we have a responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle; I also realize the messengers can be a little annoying.

My plug for cloth diapers is this: You too can recoup in self-congratulations all the effort spent rinsing and washing diapers.

Save the whales.


  1. dana, please talk to the times about writing a counterpoint. i feel sure that parents will thank you for assuaging their guilt. and maybe they'll buy you chocolate!

  2. Ah, yes. I,too, am self-righteous about using cloth diapers! I love to be smug!! We used BumGenius on both girls--the same ones, in fact. CHEAP!!

  3. Yeah, this is where I can't quite find my way ahead. Is the extra water used to wash the diapers (either as extra laundry or by doing an extra cycle) any better as an environmental choice? And the added electricity consumption? As my (quite crunchy, actually) friend says, "There's always room for more landfills: we're not getting any more water." I love and support all the beautiful families who do cloth, but I haven't been able to feel confident about either option myself. I've heard that "it's not easy being green," (oh Kermit, such wisdom...) but what's a girl to do when she can't figure out what the green is?

  4. I'm looking to buy a supply of cloth diapers in the next few days--fuzzy buns I think--and I have to say that the cuteness factor is probably outweighing how smug I am about being green (and I am a little bit smug about that). With a new high efficiency washer, I think water and electricity consumption are not as big of a deal as they used to be either. But still, the cuteness of these diapers!

  5. According to cloth diaper companies, more water and elctricity are used to produce one disposable diaper than is used to clean one cloth diaper throughout its use. I don't have any references, but. . .

  6. I feel guilty now. I had such good intentions and I make excuses for myself all the time. Like for example, that four people (count them 1,2,3,4) said they were going to lend me cloth diapers and none of them were actually able to follow through. So my use of disposables is not actually my fault, but other people's. Also Dave really wants *us* to do cloth diapers but I said that if *we* were going to do it that *he* would need to take the initiative and go out and buy the diapers and supplies and take the two flights of stairs down to the shared laundry room to wash them and take the two flights of stairs back up to the apartment and take the two flights of stairs back down to put them in the dryer and take the two flights back up to wait for them to dry and do it all over again to go get them once dry. Plus, he might have to take an extra trip or two if the washer was in use at the time of the first try. He still has not acted on his desire for *us* to do cloth diapers so I think his desire is in fact for *me* to do cloth diapers. Perhaps my desire to teach Dave a lesson is negatively affecting the environment. I will have to work through this because I do actually care about trees and lakes and oceans, especially given that I want Anton and his diapered bum to be able to enjoy these wonders in the future. Wow, this is a long comment. Maybe I should start a blog.
    PS. This is Esther, in case you couldn't figure it out.