Thursday, April 2, 2009

Natural Mommy

I'm new to this whole natural mommy thing, and to be quite honest, I'm not all that good at it. Yes, I'm cloth diapering Blake & Madison, but my main motivation has nothing to do with being a tree hugger or "granola." My top reason is that is will save us money and cut down on the amount of waste we consume. So far so good. Except for the extra laundry it creates, cloth diapering hasn't been all that bad. Slowly I'm learning the terminology and finding out what I like. It wasn't long ago though when I felt lost, drowning in a sea of acronyms that meant nothing to me. Now I know the difference between a pocket and a fitted, an AIO and a prefold.

We all know how opinionated I can be. I speak my mind, though it can get me in to trouble and quite often does. I do tend to see things in black and white, and though I'm flexible, I'm not great with change. Go figure! I rarely think before I speak or act, for that matter. Basically my greatest strengths are also my strongest weaknesses. My point is that I tend to bow up when I feel like someone or something is trying to change me. In my search for the perfect cloth diaper I found that, for most of these "natural" moms, it's all or nothing. You're in or you're out. I think this is why more moms don't cloth diaper. You almost feel judged b/c the rest of your life doesn't follow the same pattern. I read blogs from WAHM (work at home moms) online stores, mostly looking for coupon codes for diaper sites, and find an us versus them (those that use disposables and those that use cloth) mentality. Disclaimer: I do not feel this way about people in my "world" who are cloth diapering. So what do I mean by this all or nothing clique? I don't know, it just seems like those that cloth diaper are also fanatical about organic stuff, whether food or clothing. They firmly believe in attachment parenting, which just isn't for me. They wear shirts that say "Jesus was breastfed," and have bumper stickers that read "spanking is of the devil." Actually I'm not really sure if anyone uses these items, but I see them in the online stores. They don't immunize their children and can't have babies in a hospital (and frown on those who do). They don't let their babies cry, and so on and so forth. Please believe me when I say that I'm not trying to criticize them. I think it's great that people hold firmly to their beliefs. I just don't like it when I get the stink eye for choosing a different way of doing things.

I have two close friends in Maryland, one whom I differ politically and one whom I differ parentally (if that's a word). Each of them adds value to my life and I am quite certain that God placed them in my life to be sand paper, to smooth out my rough edges. Man, do they have a rough road ahead. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." The more I get to know them the more I find that we differ in these areas, but it's no coincidence. God knew what he was doing when he put them in my life, and I'm extremely thankful for them. Katy is my "natural" mommy friend. Now, she has never judged me (that I know of at least) for being different, or for not fitting into her mold, so please know this blog is not about her. It's just my observations about the "culture" in general. But I do use Katy as a filter sometimes. I can ask her about things I read on the Internet, and bounce my ideas off her. I hear her side and then draw my own conclusions about what's best for me.

Sometimes I feel like I'm in high school again trying to fit into a clique that I'm just not right for. The thing is that I don't have to fit in. I just need to do what's best for us and not worry about what other people think. I have great friends who love me no matter how different I am from them. And I'm blessed with great cloth diapering role models, my favorite being my BFF Jo. She has successfully put two precious girls through them and managed to stay sane in the process. She's not entirely "granola" either so I know it can be done.

Really this blog isn't about cloth diapers, which I've pretty much decided to do the Bum Genius, It's about being myself and being grateful for the relationships I have in my life. Despite the substantial differences in certain areas, we still love each other and accept one another for who we are in Christ. At least I hope they all know that. If not, maybe they do now.

Dude (wow, it's been a long time since I've used that word), I'm so falling asleep as I type this. If this makes no sense in the morning, I blame it on the fact that I'll be a single mommy for the weekend and I'm scared to death. Really one has nothing to do with the other, but I am scared. Pray if you get a chance.


Jo said...

Hills. I get this a lot, too. I'm not really sure what attachment parenting has to do with a natural lifestyle. Yes, we cloth diaper, eat organic, and I am a natural birth educator. But I think parenting style should have more to do with what works for your family and not what your eco/childbirth beliefs happen to be.

I generally hold to the 'to each his own' attitude with other parents. My only issues tend to surface when the parents are being irresponsible or have extremely rude children (they tend to go hand in hand).

I may need to blog about this myself sometime.

Anonymous said...

Someone should write a parents' handbook. Nobody has the perfect method. Mom used to tell me, "you just do the best you can and hope they turn out all right."

What the heck is attachment parenting anyway? Is the kid velcroed to your side so he or she never learns self-reliance?

All these so-called modern ways are actually less than 60 years old. If they are so good why weren't they thought up sooner? Moms did it naturally for thousands of years and the world did just fine.

Kiss your kids until they get tired of it, then do it some more. Tell them you love them just as often (even in front of their friends) and discipline them when they mess up.

BTW, cloth diapers pay for themselves in many ways. They make great dust cloths and are perfect for washing cars and all sorts of stuff like polishing furniture (I am talking about the old style square ones, of course).

EG said...

Well I'm glad you got to what you're using for cloth diapers! I was going to have to ask.

#2 is on the way and I'm considering the bumGenius 3.0, is that what you're using? My only fear (and what I've read in the reviews) is that the velcro tabs won't hold up after repeated washings.

But the only other option that sounds feasible for me is the old-fashioned prefolds and covers, and that does NOT sound appealing!

Hillary Pennington said...

Ellen, The one thing I've noticed as I've researched the options is that there are a ton of options. We are using the 3.0's for my older one. I have about 7 of them so I'm still doing a lot of laundry. For Madison, I'm using Fuzzi Buns sized pockets I got off Craigslist. I also have some Kooshies AIO for her as well. And I'm waiting on some homemade ones I ordered a while back. There are many options besides the prefolds. They don't work for us either because I need Neil on board, and the closer they are to disposables, the more on board he is. So far he's done great with the Bum Genius. I also use the flushable liners by Kooshies (I think). They help a lot with the poop.

Believe me, when I started, I was so overwhelmed by all the choices and quite frantic over making any one decision. Then I found this lot on Craigslist and started using them. Over time I began to see what others were telling me. You figure out what works for you.

Jo told me to wait until Madison was about 2 months so the cloth diapers fit better. Great advice. You have to buy special sizes for newborns and I just don't think it justifies the expense for a few weeks. But that might just be me.

Good luck.

Hillary Pennington said...

Jo, I like that, "to each his own." I generally try to live by this as well, though I'm sure I've given a few moms the stink eye in Walmart.

I love you!

Hillary Pennington said...

Manuel, The problem with a parent handbook is the fact that everyone has a different perspective on what's right or wrong. I personally think unless you're doing your kids harm, whether emotionally, spiritually or definitely physically, there is no black and white way to raise a child.

I do happen to strong views about what's right for me, but hopefully I don't judge those that do it differently. I'm not so good as keeping my opinions to myself, so I hope I don't come across as my way or the highway.

Thanks for the comments. How are you doing by the way? How's the battle going?

Katy said...

I think everyone makes their parenting decisions based on different reasons. Believe me, in the crunchy/natural mommy world, I'm no where near AP, I'm actually pretty soggy if you can believe that :-P I'm glad that you're in my life and that we can learn from each other.