On our first day of the 5th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge our topic of discussion is “Why are you taking the challenge?” My first year of taking the challenge I limited myself to handwashing in the sink as a way to prove to myself I would be able to cloth diaper my baby even while on vacations that limit my options like on a cruise or staying in a motel. I wanted to know that even without any tools beyond my simple rubber gloves, some running water, and a small amount of detergent, I could effectively use cloth diapers without disrailing my daily routine. My second year of taking the challenge I really did go on the road, as I hand washed cloth diapers during a week long camping trip, oh and PS I was secretly pregnant! Morning sickness and handwashing was not the easiest thing in the world but it was my mind more than my stomach that held me back. Once I got past my hesitation and got started it really wasn’t a big deal and became a peaceful routine I could almost look forward to.
This year I will be cloth diapering and handwashing for TWO babies. Harper has not potty trained yet, I have been nursing her sister around the clock and am nervous to start her with the toilet when I am not able to jump up at a moment’s notice to help her. Autumn is now six months old and between the two of them I will be challenged enough to keep fresh laundry available. I’ve built up my stash a bit since this week I will be out of the house for a work forum a few hours away, a babywearing ballet class, trips to the gym, and several errands out of town that require about an hour long drive. This is on top of working five nights a week, going to the gym, and keeping the house acceptably clean and the family fed. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
The point of this challenge is not to see if it’s possible, even plausible, to hand wash cloth diapers in a best case scenario, though. It’s to see if I can do it as part of my routine, without disrupting my everyday life, without cancelling outings or avoiding the gym or keeping car trips under an hour. I need to show that anyone can do this if they want to, if they are interested and willing to persevere.
I’m taking the challenge because I love the impact I’m making by not using disposable diapers. I started using cloth because I knew it could save me money and I wanted natural fibers against my baby’s skin, but as time went on I grew more and more passionate about how easy cloth diapers are and how little it takes to wash them and use them. So many families use disposables and they all have their reasons, but I believe if more people knew just how possible and convenient cloth diapering really can be, more people would make the switch.
For me this year the challenge is an important step in making cloth mainstream, showing that cloth diapers are attainable regardless of your budget or free time. Even though most days I don’t even find time to pour myself a bowl of cereal until the day is nearly over, I am determined that I will be able to make this work. I’m excited to document this week with you, and also to read all your stories if you’re blogging along with us.
Are you joining the challenge? Why? Share here in the comments or add a link to your blog post on today’s topic.