- May 10, 2015
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Spring has arrived in our corner of the earth. Spring to me means clothesline season. Every time I hang our diapers on the line, I feel connected to my mother and grandmother.
My mother cloth diapered two children. Disposables were just becoming more popular, but she says they were too expensive. She did not have a dryer until her children were out of diapers. She kept life as simple as possible, making many decision based on saving money. We lived in a mild climate and she hung our laundry on the line year round. My, and my brother’s, earliest memories are of playing in our backyard inside the laundry basket.
However, my mother has a hard time using my daughter’s cloth diapers. I had a revelation last month as to why my daughters’ diaper is usually crooked, or backwards after a day with her Nana. The pocket diapers that dominate our diaper stash are designed to be similar to disposable diapers. My mother has never used disposable diapers. She used prefolds with pins, covered with rubber pants, for both of her children. Like many aspects of modern parenting, I have taken cloth diapers and complicated them.
My grandmother immigrated to the United States (from Australia) after World War II. She was a war bride who grew up on a farm. Her first winter in the Northeastern section of the US was eye opening. When the wash froze on the line outside, she attempted to photograph the frozen laundry. In that era, cloth diapers were the only option.
I often wonder what my grandmother would think of me cloth diapering. She was thrifty, yet also practical. The diapers on my clothesline would be unrecognizable to her. Perhaps my colorful pocket diapers and covers would seem frivolous to her. Maybe she would think I am wasting time my hanging my clothing. Modern conveniences, such as dryers, simply made sense to a woman who boiled water over a fire for laundry day.
But when I hang diapers out to dry, I think of her. When I hang cloth diaper laundry on the line, I am carrying out a chore that generations of women in my family have performed. I am the person I am today because of these women.
My life is wonderful, especially because I have choices. I choose cloth. I want to line dry and keep life simple. Maybe I will use my prefolds more to remember how cloth diapering can be simple too.
Real Diaper Advocate