Hi everyone, I’m so excited for the first day of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. Our first topic we always begin with is “Why?” This is of course the question everyone asks if you tell them your plans for this event. WHY? Well, Lara is here to tell you why she participates every year and at the bottom of this post is your chance to either add a link to your own post about why or explore the posts of other bloggers. My children are long out of diapers but it’s so inspiring to see this event live on through others. I’m so thrilled Lara is posting her experience for DDL this week. Fair warning, her post gave me a good cry this morning. Good luck this week! -Kim Rosas, Founder of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge
On our first day of the 6th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge our topic of discussion is “Why are you taking the challenge?” This is my FOURTH year taking the challenge, and while my motives haven’t really changed, I’ve found that each year I still get truly excited and each year I learn something new. If you are new to the event and not sure what it is please read this post about it.
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 derailing 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.
My third year taking the challenge was the toughest yet, with two demanding baby girls to keep clean and happy, and a small mountain of diapers to wash. We had put off potty training Harper fearing after her sister was born she might regress or I might not be able to help her with the toilet during my round-the-clock nursing sessions, so I had a toddler and a six month old to clean up after. That was on top of my pay-the-bills job and all the daily chores and errands that called to me. I found myself washing diapers daily and sometimes twice in one day, and that was with the larger than usual stash I’d set up. But once I got the hang of it and felt more confident about how many diapers the girls could go through in a day and what the weather report suggested regarding rain on my drying laundry, I felt much better.
Like anything unfamiliar, hand washing gets easier the more you practice. I’m taking this challenge because I truly believe cloth diapers are the best possible choice for my family. They save us money, they are better for the environment, and they are better for my babies’ sensitive skin. I believe cloth diapers can improve the quality of life for many other families, too. Even if they don’t have a washing machine. Even if they travel a lot. Work a lot. Don’t work at all. Even if they live in temporary housing. Or on a boat. Or in a tree. As long as they have access to clean water and are interested in using a little elbow grease to save some money and do something for their family, I think cloth diapers are a better solution.
I remember reading a book in elementary school, titled “The Babysitter’s Handbook”. It explained diapering in detail, with fold techniques and proper care, and a small post script mentioned some families may keep disposable diapers specifically for the babysitter to use, and the author went on to point out that they are convenient but expensive and should not be wasted. It’s possible that this early introduction to the concept of cloth diapering from a caregiver’s perspective helped influence my stance, but I’ve never regretted my decision.
The flats and handwashing challenge is a wonderful way to remind ourselves that just about anyone can cloth diaper, if they want to. The community comes together to share stories and offer advice, inspire, commiserate, and laugh. I’ve made so many friends in the cloth diaper world, and you are all so amazing. You remind me of the kids in high school I always wanted to sit with. But you’re not the Mean Girls insisting I use only the most posh or trendy brand, you’re the slightly offbeat but charming group inviting me to come sit down no matter how awkward I am or shy. The handwashing challenge is an extension of that open invitation, because ANYONE can do it. Don’t believe me? Read up. Join the conversation. Ask questions. Give it a try. We’re here for you.
Bloggers and participants don’t forget to use your #flatschallenge hashtag on social media so we can all follow along!