Cloth Diaper Community – We’re Mostly Sane

It seems that this month has been pretty rough on the cloth diaper community at large.  There’s been the Cotton Babies patent thing, which is showing some fairly unpleasant behavior on the part of some folks.  (No, I’m not blaming Jennifer Labit.  However, there are now some stores that I never, ever want to deal with because their words have soured me on wanting to do business with them.)  There was the post on The Stir that says point blank that cloth diapering isn’t worth the trouble and don’t even bother trying them.  And of course, there’s the Huffington Post piece that kindly portrays the cloth diaper community as a bunch of lunatics.

So, it’s not the cloth diapering itself that wigs me out. It’s the existence of cloth diapering communities. Like, why are there cloth diapering meet ups? What happens at those gatherings? Is one parent all, “So, do you have a sprayer attachment for your toilet?” and then another parent is like, “I do!” And then they’re both like, “Yay! Twinsies! Let’s be friends!”? Because I’m pretty sure that’s not enough to build a friendship on.

Cloth Diaper Community - We're Mostly Sane (Cloth Diaper Addicts)Really, by this logic, why are there meetups for anything?  Why on earth would someone meet over coffee to discuss Doctor Who?  You know, since a Time Lord isn’t enough to build a friendship on.  (Replace this with any interest and you’ll see that it still holds true.)

Regardless of the example used, I think it’s clearly obvious that the author, while trying to portray herself as a journalist, has done nothing more than show her ignorance.  I love my local cloth diaper community.  Really, I’m the most grouchy and curmudgeonly one in the area.  (And I like to think that I’m not mean, even if I am terribly sarcastic and extremely confident that I’m right.)  I can tell you right now that at our meet ups, no one has ever said “Yay! Twinsies!”  (Unless, maybe, they were talking to B, the mom who is cloth diapering her twins.)

Quite frankly, the cloth diaper community is exceptionally important.  A local cloth diaper community is often worth the collective weight of the mothers, their babies, and all of their baby gear in gold.  Honestly, I’ve lived in Prince George for eleven years… and only now since becoming part of the cloth diaper community do I actually have friends of my own.  That’s pretty amazing for someone who is an introvert by nature.  So why is the cloth diaper community important?

The Cloth Diaper Community Advises

I get emails from parents all over the United States and Canada about resolving cloth diapering issues.  I can absolutely tell you various ways of stripping diapers to resolve issues.  I can absolutely tell you what I do for a cloth diaper laundry routine.  But you know what?  When it comes down to things like detergents and such, you’ll get the most useful advice from someone in your region.  They have the exact same water as you and access to the exact same stores.  While Prince George seems to be mainly a Rockin’ Green and Nellie’s town, Edmonton moms seem to love their Tide and their Laundry Tarts.  This isn’t because of some shared hive mind or whatever.  It’s because we’re cloth diapering in the same circumstances.

The Cloth Diaper Community Supports

Some of my best friends in town have been made through cloth diapering.  It doesn’t mean that all we talk about is cloth diapering.  Not even close.  To diminish a vibrant group to a single purpose is just sad.  We discuss the same things that most parenting groups discuss – sleep issues, development milestones, sibling interaction, trying for another baby, pregnancy, school, and anything else that catches our fancy.  Sometimes, it’s Doctor Who and The Big Bang Theory.  Through it all, though, there are moms who have been there, done that.

Sometimes, though, at a meet up at a local park, the comments are things along the lines of “Norton, do not push your sister!”  I’m not sure if this is normal for other communities, but we have no problems with “parenting” each other’s children.  If Ella is about to eat a piece of gravel, whichever mom is in the vicinity takes care of it.  This group parenting thing is part of what makes it possible for us to actually have conversations about things (and no, not just diapers… although that new diaper that J got from Green Bumkin last night is super gorgeous).

Not only does my local cloth diaper community support each other in terms of giving advice and friends to hang out with, but we also support charity.  Every few months, we’ll have a meet up at someone’s house, sans kids.  At that meeting, we sit around and repair diapers.  Most of those diapers repaired are for Cloth for a Cause, which is dedicated to getting cloth diapers on the bottoms of babies from struggling families.

A Dose of Reality

There are times when someone in our local community will go off the rails a bit.  Maybe she’s dealing with postpartum depression.  Maybe she’s having a hard time with pregnancy.  Or maybe her cloth diapering routine has just become insane and she needs a reality check.  Either way, because we’ve come to know each other so well through Facebook interactions and play dates at the park, we know when one of our own is struggling.  That support is the biggest thing that makes our local cloth diaper community so special to me.

Oh, and for the record?  Some of us babywear.  Some of us breastfeed while others don’t.  Some of us have pets, some think that cats are demonic little furballs.  We even have acceptance for moms who don’t exclusively cloth diaper.  We’re a pretty diverse group in terms of race, income, ethnicity, education, marital status, and career fields.  We all have that one thing in common that led us to having our community, but it extends far beyond that.  Respect also helps.

Supportive Parenting

The author, after writing a diatribe about how weird and how obsessive the cloth diaper community is, gives us this little gem:

But what if instead of segregating ourselves into these little Internet-defined klatches of babywearers, Ferberizers, attachment parents, swaddlers or cloth diaperers, we just found a way to gather with other parents and talk about how hard and weird and scary and wonderful all this parenting **** is?

Maybe, just maybe instead of making digs at any of these little klatches, the author should take a moment to realize that every single thing that she wrote above that sentence completely goes against this.  You don’t get to spend an entire post segregating parents based on hobbies… only to expect us to all sit around and sing Kum Bah Yah afterwards.  Focusing on how different and silly someone else’s hobby is will not exactly bring a end to the mommy wars.  My suggestion is that she go to a cloth diaper community meetup sometime.  She might actually find that we are actually people.  You know, normal people with multiple facets to their personality.  Some of us are snarky, some of us are serene.  Some of us are into the cuteness, while others are so crunchy that they will be picking caterpillars out of their kids’ hair.  You know, just like every other group out there.

Are you a part of your local cloth diaper community?  What was your opinion on the HuffPost piece?

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About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

Comments

  1. The author sounds like the kid who complains that none of the other kids like her but then pushes the other kids around. Not into cloth diapers? Fine. Whatever. Some people are. I don’t care for the Huffington Post, but some people read it religiously. That’s fine too.
    Heather Johnson recently posted…Buttons Diapers ReviewMy Profile

  2. I loved your thoughts on this (ridiculous) article. There really was no point to it. I often wonder if people write things solely to fire people up because I can not, for the life of me, figure out what her intentions were!
    mama pure recently posted…My Thoughts on the Huffington Post ArticleMy Profile

  3. There are cloth diapering meets? Wow. I do wish I had cloth diapered when my little girl was a baby.
    Shanna recently posted…The McCain Grocery Goodness Giveaway ($500 in Free Groceries!)My Profile

  4. I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment. I’m not aware of any local cloth diaper groups, but I do post on an online cloth diaper forum or two and follow several cloth diaper focused blogs (like yours). As you said, whole the cloth diapering advice and support is a big part of it, it’s not everything and the women of even these virtual cloth diapering communities are pretty amazing.

  5. You are so right! It’s amazing how she wants to hate on the cloth diaper community but yet she goes on to say she’s obsessed with collecting baby carriers and babywearing. I’m sure she has lots of friends who also do the same. The cloth diapering community is amazing and I too have made many friends through cloth diapers. She sounds like she just wanted something to complain about lol.
    Michelle F. recently posted…YOU are a Strong Mom!My Profile

    • What I find amazing is that there’s a lot of overlap in the babywearing and cloth diapering groups. How many of her friends did she just offend with her ignorance?

  6. I don’t know what it is, or why it is, but the ‘mommy wars’ have become so pervasive, that they’re now infiltrating our media (the Huff Post column is a great example). I have found nothing but support and excellent advice within the Cloth Diapering community, and it works for me, for us, to be a part of it. It doesn’t bother me that others could care less about cloth diapering, it really doesn’t. Just as I should not judge someone for their parenting choices, hobbies, etc., so should they not judge me for mine…
    Lauren S. recently posted…WWW – Baby’s First Word Book(s)My Profile

  7. Not sure why the author of the post even took the time to write the piece if she thinks there is no value in cloth diapers or the people who use them. It was a waste of time on her part.

  8. Who doesn’t want support from others who are taking the same journey?? I thought the article was pretty ridiculous, but at least she didn’t make cloth diapering sound TOO bad!

  9. I personally think that both pieces from the stir and Huffington post are written by people who have nothing better to do than to insult things they don’t understand and to be honest with you its pretty pathetic. We are happybeing crazy obsessed cloth diaper addicts so just let us be happy. Don’t go trying to burst our bubbles just because you’re unhappy.

  10. 16 years ago when I had my first child my husband almost lost his job………because I was nursing. No really, see the ONLY other people in our area who HAD breastfed before were the bosses spouses. NO ONE liked the “supposed” brown nosing they interpreted. OMG it was crazy. Even after it was pointed out that the other “lesser” spouses couldn’t give help, advice, or support, it still continued.

    Why do we meet or support each other for ANYTHING? Because we can AND should. Since we can’t ALL live in Vegas, where just about every group in the world meets yearly, we seek to meet like-minded folks in our own neighborhood.

    WHAT A CONCEPT!

    Yeah someone just wants to make a “name” for themselves as a “writer” by people-bashing the supposed underdog. The outcast, the Rebel. Except 16 years later there’s MORE of us & they no longer know what to do with us anymore. So they make fun of us. 😀 <— See that sadistic smile over there? It's because we HAVE changed things. & That worries people.

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