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op ed

It Certainly Doesn’t Smell Like Roses

I’ve been cloth diapering for a few weeks now and we’ve officially made the decision to continue with it. This means a trip to the store soon to pick up some more pre-folds because I’d really rather not be doing laundry every day for the next three years. Dan is pretty stoked with the whole situation and I’m surprised and pleased to see he likes it a lot more than he thought he would. Then there’s me. I don’t love it. I don’t think I even like it. I have little fantasies about going back to disposables on like a daily basis, but then I think of the money saved and the potential environmental savings and I just… can’t.

And the thing is – I’m a little bit PO’ed about the whole thing. I like a lot of green things – I prefer using cloth grocery bags over paper or plastic any day. I love nursing and would never really want to go back to the bottle – I’m thrilled it’s working so well this time around. We use reusable water bottles and I can’t even imagine using a new plastic bottle for EVERY bottle of water I drink – because I drink a LOT of water. And there are other things, too, that my sleep deprived brain can’t think of – but the point is – I was pretty sure I’d love cloth diapering, too, in a sort of “so it should follow that…” mentality.

I’ve read blog posts of CD users who absolutely rave about cloth diapering. Who say they can’t even imagine letting a “yucky disposable diaper” touch their darling’s delicate skin now. People seriously seem to love the heck out of cloth diapering and I know people can go a bit over board and exaggerate, but seriously? I thought I’d at least like it. I know that with all things, we have our extremists – the people who love or hate something so much it makes you green in the gills just listening to them talk about it. But even with that grain of salt taken… I clearly expected too much.

Because now that I think about – seriously – we’re talking about diapers here. About poop and urine. Does anybody really like changing diapers, like in a, “Gee golly I can’t wait for another diaper change!” kind of way? Does anybody love the rustic smell of throwing out a bag of dirty diapers or washing reusable ones? Really? They are diapers – they stink by nature. Are all these enthusiasts full of *it, or am I reading into their raving the wrong way?

Basically, I think I set myself up for failure by somehow imagining this level of CD enjoyment that just doesn’t exist. Because seriously, picture when disposable diapers first came out – do we think that housewives everywhere said, “Yuck – no thanks!” Or that those same housewives, before the invention of disposable diapers, were like singing songs merrily about how much they loved changing diapers and washing them? It’s not exactly a party game people.

Don’t get me wrong – there is something to be said for not having to run to the store in the middle of the night because we somehow used the last diaper and need to buy more – never mind the cost savings of not having to buy diapers every week or month or whatever until BB is potty trained. That’s kind of sweet. And those little water proof covers can be cute even though they are also gigantic and practically double my daughter’s clothing size – and she’s a peanut, for the record. And I mean, the size of the diapers isn’t exactly the hugest of inconveniences, I can deal. And I know that poop stinks, period – so even though I personally think it smells WAY worse on cloth diapers, whatever, it’s not like it smelled awesome in a Huggies. All I’m really saying – is that I’m disappointed in myself for expecting some weird level of happiness that diaper changing is never going to deliver – and mildly miffed with the world wide web for encouraging that level of excitement, even though it isn’t really their fault.

If I’d gone into this whole thing only wanting to save money and feel like I’d done my part environmentally… I don’t think I’d be so disappointed. If I’d somehow remembered that at the end of the day we were still talking about poop, I wouldn’t have had such unrealistic expectations. But it really has me wondering, am I the only one? How many parents out there cloth diaper, not because they freaking love it to pieces, but because of the cost savings, etc.? Has anyone else soldiered on with CDing despite not loving it in the least? Show of hands?