Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 1: Why Am I Doing This?

WHY AM I DOING THIS??

This kept running through my mind as I sloshed the dirty diapers in the soapy water in my diaper pail. What was I thinking? Will I be able to do this all week? This seems like an awful lot of work. I mean, honestly. Is this REALLY necessary? And EEEW I JUST GOT SOAPY DIAPER WATER IN MY EYE!!

Since I had time (2 minutes per “agitation”, rinse, repeat, repeat), I reminded myself why I signed onto this challenge.

When I first started cloth diapering about 8 months ago, some of the women who helped me get started were talking about this “Flats Challenge”. It piqued my interest. I’m a person that enjoys a challenge (some would say that I like making things more difficult) and this certainly qualifies. I have two young children, am relatively new to cloth diapering, and a year ago, pretty much thought this is all there was to them anyway. Large pieces of fabric that you wrap around your baby, covered by ‘plastic pants’. Whoop de doo.

{As I’m sure I will rave on about in a later post, that’s not actually what it’s like any more. But back to my story.}

What really got me interested was hearing these sad stories: people washing disposable diapers and reusing them, babies with horrendous diaper rashes because their parents simply can’t afford to buy as many diapers as they need. What do you do in that situation? There’s no special assistance for diapers. Just food. What do you DO when you literally have to choose food or diapers?

That is why I’m doing this. I am not Donna Reed. I did not CHOOSE to be a homemaker. I got laid off. I’m not very good at this staying at home business. And frankly, if I didn’t know what I know about cloth diapers, I could very easily be in that same predicament. Diapers are expensive, and babies pee and poop a lot. I estimate that I would go through 480+ diapers in a 30 day period, with two kids being changed roughly every 3 hours. Paying about $.20 per diaper that’s $96 per month, and that’s not including wipes. Even paying per load to wash diapers, there’s still a significant financial savings there.

Again, why am I doing this?

To see if I can. To know that I can. To have the confidence to know that I won’t ever have to make a decision like, ‘Do we eat tonight, or get diapers?’ To know that if I come into contact with someone in that situation, I will be able to share this experience with them and help them know that they don’t have to make that decision either.

You may think I’m crazy, and I probably am. But I’ll be damned if I let that stand in my way.

Day 1 Notes:

I actually started Sunday because I apparently can’t read a calendar. Come Monday morning I had a pail full of lovely diapers to wash. After I talked myself out of talking myself out of this, things went fairly smoothly. What I learned is that my apartment is not a great place to dry diapers at all. After 7 hours of waiting , several panic attacks, and lots of moving them from room to room, I discovered they actually do dry fairly quickly, as long as they are getting air on them. The majority of my drying will be done in the basement from now on. Instead of being damn after 7 hours, they dried in about 2.5. The covers take a bit longer. I did 3 loads on Monday. I don’t want to have to do that again.

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