On Sunday I handwashed my last load of flats and covers as part of the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge.
Two things I now know...
1. I never want to have to handwash another load of any type of clothing...
2. But, if I had to for the safety and health of my children & to make sure we could put food on our table, I totally would!
The problem I see is that there is little awareness out there about cloth diapers. There is no major media coverage showcasing what used to be such a natural way of life. Whether it be the modern style of cloth diapering and the super cute brands like Bum Genius or what I just challenged myself to last week with the "old style" of flats and modern covers, we need to get more awareness. People of all income levels need to know that this IS a way they could diaper their child and it's not gross and scary like many think. Frankly, while handwashing wasn't fun---I'd almost rather do that then load my two children under the age of three in the car to head to Wal-Mart, to unload them into a cart at the store, to purchase an overpriced package of diapers that will just be thrown away, to load them back into the car....you get the idea.
Last week was tough. Handwashing is hard. This challenge took it to the extreme to show that this could be a viable option for those really struggling with no access to a washing machine. To try and get more into what that would be like, I experimented with using old receiving blankets and flour sack towels from wal-mart. Both worked just fine, though I do prefer my Diaper Rite flats (which if purchased on sale, are only a few cents more).
This challenge made me realize I could handwash, but made me thankful that I have a choice. Everytime I worked on figuring out a new fold, I wished that there was a wealth of cloth diaper knowledge being passed down to me. My mother cloth-diapered and when we first showed my parents modern cloth diapers, they were both a little shocked. But, after giving my dad a flat, he remembered how to fold one in no time! But, I wish I knew how my grandmothers & even great-grandmothers did it. I didn't grow up knowing my grandmothers as both had passed away long before I was out of diapers---but I'd like to think if they were around, they'd be showing me how to fold them and telling me stories of how they used to do it. Moments like these make me realize I'm missing a bit of that legacy....did they bake homemade bread like I'm attempting to learn how to do? Handwash their clothing? Make their own baby food? I'm not sure I'll ever know---and that makes me a little sad. My mother is full of wisdom and has passed down much of that to me, but how neat would it be to show my 90 year old grandmother cloth diapers with prints of them? Monkeys on a diaper?! What a hoot! :)
Today my washing machine is running and I will be washing my "easy" pocket diapers and all-in-ones that I have come to appreciate more post-challenge. The plunger and bucket have been retired to the garage for now and a new set of flats is on its way to me---because I've always loved flats, but I have a newfound appreciation for their simplicity.