It all started with an idea to help more parents see and understand modern cloth diapers so that they could make an informed decision. That idea became a blog and that blog became a huge part of my life and eventually, a paying job as well as a passion/hobby.
Dirty Diaper Laundry started from an idea while a new and insomniac mom laid in bed thinking of a new cloth diaper coming out and how she wished she could see it in person without driving 2 hours to the closest diaper shop. “What if I bought it and filmed it for other moms just like me who want to see how the diapers work and what they do?” The very next day I bought a domain name, signed up for a hosting plan, and shortly after I filmed the new Gro Baby AI2 and posted it.
I wasn’t a blogger before starting DDL but I had created a few websites, though mostly in high school and usually about how much I loved The Smashing Pumpkins and/or my boyfriend. I was making .gifs before .gifs were cool (I created them for message boards over 10 years ago) and had even turned my website knowledge into a job by creating and managing a restaurant’s website from scratch while still in high school- all hand coded HTML. It was
beautiful functional. With my self-taught Photoshop/Website skills and my love of online research I dove in and started this blog, never knowing or planning it would be anything more than a fun hobby and hopefully an asset to other parents.
I knew way more about websites than I did about videography and video editing in the beginning. My first videos were poorly lit, low quality, and badly edited, but I kept learning about what makes a good video. As the blog began to earn ad revenue I started re-investing the profits into a better video camera, better editing software, better lighting, audio equipment, even better tripods and other equipment you never knew I had. From the start I wanted to give you quality videos over quantity. I wanted videos that weren’t shaky, weren’t grainy, weren’t full of high pitched white noise or anything else distracting. I wanted the videos to be to the point and informative and for all of my video reviews to create a cohesive library. It wasn’t until last year that I really began exploring other kinds of videos that weren’t review based, often featuring myself in the frame (a rare occurrence for the first 2-3 years) because you guys liked them! Then one day I lost my marbles and filmed a video about menstrual cups. I knew I had the skills to make something really great and helpful and like with cloth diapering, I felt I owed it to women to make a quality video educating them on their choices. That video has the most views of all of my videos! I went there, and I’m really glad I did because I get feedback every single week from women who made the switch thanks to that video.
Overall, my stance on cloth diapering has evolved from the first post. I was far more militant and gung-ho about cloth diapers in 2009. I thought every mom no matter what should use them every day with no exceptions. I’ve grown and changed since then and my eyes have been opened to situations when cloth diapers just can’t work. Long time readers will surely recognize this softening. I don’t think this change has made me a less effective advocate- I think it makes me a better one, and a more understanding and compassionate one. My posts here on DDL reflect this personal change, and while I do want every parent to switch, I understand there are times when they can’t. Maybe they CAN later, and I’ll be here to help them along the way. Making parents feel bad about their choices is not something I want to do. I want them to feel like this is a safe place where they can learn and not be judged for using disposables in the past or even present.
Part of this change has been a direct result of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, an event I started almost 3 years ago as a way to show that every parent can cloth diaper. I still whole heartedly believe in this event and the amazing community it has created, plus the educational opportunities for cloth diaper advocates that are a direct result. I and thousands of others have learned ways to cloth diaper for almost no money, and even without a washing machine. Together we have performed back breaking nightly or morning diaper washes, reported on what works best, and found that it is possible but it isn’t exactly easy. Doing this challenge teaches us all skills and compassion. I’ve found flats to be the ultimate diaper above all others in this experience and my blog has been shaped by this as well.
Simple can be better than easy.
I’ve also used the tiny “celebrity” of DDL to help another cause close to my heart- Giving Diapers, Giving Hope. GDGH is a cloth diaper lending organization that a friend of mine started. They began in 2011, and along with helping spread the word, I’ve also begun helping in a more concrete way behind the scenes. It has become another large part of my life and my time, so much so that some days I spend more time working on their projects than I do on mine. Speaking of… we are launching their new website design today!
Cloth Diaper Finder was another project I poured myself into because I knew the cloth diaper community needed it. My husband was the “investor” and helped bring this one of a kind, searchable database to life. It took months of planning and design with a programmer and it costs more to run than it has ever made but I believe in what it does and know it has helped so many families choose the right diaper for their families so I keep the money pit alive. Make no mistake, this was the original searchable database and a project that came from 2 years of dreaming. That’s all I will say about that one.Is this real life?
I’m so incredibly fortunate in so many ways. Starting this blog was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. It has created a job for me and taught me why I always hated working- I cannot stand working for other people, now I don’t have to. It isn’t work when you do what you love and for the most part that has held true for 5 years. I’ve met amazing people, individuals that are changing the world, are compassionate, inventive, thoughtful, giving, and kick ass. Many of those people are now great friends. I’ve taught myself skills that translated into my life in other ways. I now have a thriving side business where I’m filming and editing videos for companies. I didn’t see that coming AT ALL and yet here I am, being paid to create videos for businesses that I can’t believe trust me to do this for them. It is surreal! This has been the best year yet in many ways. I was recently in San Diego speaking at an expo about cloth diapers (also, I can’t believe that happened!) and have other fun plans coming soon. I almost feel guilty that I get to do this. 10 years ago my goal was to teach high school English. Now I have a BA in History and blog about cloth diapers and edit videos.
Life, man, you just never know where it will take you.
This community continues to grow and change. In fact, it already has. I have been watching for 5 years and have seen a significant shift. That is for another day. As long as there is a place for me in this community and as long as I can help families with my knowledge I will do so. I’m lucky to have Lara here helping with reviews now that my babies are no longer in diapers. Last year was rough- everyone stopped napping and I had no time to work. Next year I will have a child in Kindergarten and one in Pre-K. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can accomplish with more time at my disposal. I have big plans….Thank you…
Thank you for reading, telling your friends about DDL, and thank you to the companies and brands that continue to support what I do with advertising and promotions. The biggest thanks goes to my husband and kids. My husband has supported me in this website since it began and is the one who pushes me to keep it going even when I want to throw in the towel. He has seen the potential in it and in me when I couldn’t. My son calls me “the best cloth diaper queen”-a title I am happy to accept. He probably knows more about cloth diapers than most adults.Next week is the big celebration with giveaways from sponsors like GroVia, Applecheeks, Thirsties, Bamboobies, Baby Shusher, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Molly’s Suds, Eco Nuts, Sweetbottoms, Jack be Natural, and more! I’m joining up with The Eco Friendly Family so check back then to celebrate with us on our 5 years of blogging!