It’s been so long since I shared a photo of a fluffy butt here! In the name of simplicity, we took some time off cloth diapering while on the road because figuring out how to live in an RV was learning curve enough. But it’s been nearly 6 months, and we are feeling pretty confident in this new life. Plus? We’re ready to save some $$ to throw toward our Hawaii fund. (Such a shame we can’t drive there!) So Wallace has been back in cloth diapers part time lately. Luckily, we’ve found a way to keep it simple.
Being a parent for the first time is no joke. I don’t envy those of you holding tiny babies right now that are going through this brand new. While my postpartum recovery seems to get worse after each baby, the babies themselves? They keep getting easier.
Also, I think I just keep getting better at taking care of small babies, and I’m owning that.
I WISH I could gift every first-time mom a basket of mom-of-4 confidence.
I remember taking my first to the ER at 2 in the morning within a week of coming home with him. I couldn’t get him to stop scream-crying. Maybe it was the beginning of months of colic, but I look back on that night and tell old-me, “First, calm down. Okay, now feed him. I KNOW HE JUST ATE. I know your nipples are screaming and bleeding and there are literally chunks of flesh falling off of them. PUMP. Pump a bottle. A bottle is not going to ruin him. Stop obsessing about ‘nipple confusion.’ Give him milk. Put something in his mouth to soothe him. Pacifiers are okay. It’s going to be okay. FEED HIM AGAIN.” We probably would have saved the $50 ER copay and I may have got a few more hours of sleep that night. Because I don’t think I went to the ER with a baby with colic (yet). I went to the ER with a baby who was born to a mom who had no idea what she was doing.
That first baby learning curve is steep, and there is no way to relax when, for the first time ever, you are responsible for something as huge as a human life with the tiniest toes you’ve ever seen.
First babies feel so much more fragile than each baby thereafter – to me, at least. And I’m not just talking soft-spots and floppy necks.
By this time around, I know a baby crying in a crib for a few minutes while I tend to other things (like his 3 siblings) is not going to suffer permanent damage. I know there is no need to stress about tracking diapers and feedings – that because my breasts feel actual relief after he nurses, and because we’re washing a load of bumGenius Littles cloth diapers every 2 days, he’s doing just fine.
The thing is, though, these are things you have to learn yourself. You have to learn what that rooting look is- the one all your babies will do long before they break out into full- blown “I’M STARVING” screams. You have to learn what “advice” to take and what to toss. You have to learn to trust yourself.
You will also have to learn how to totally make up stuff on the fly when the nurse at the pediatrician’s office wants a real answer to “How many wet diapers a day? And dirty? And how often is he eating?” They don’t seem to like to record “Plenty” and “The whole damn day. Just look at him!”
If you’re reading this while rocking your first baby, hang in there. We’re all in the trenches together, but you? You’re in the deepest part, in mud (or something that looks like mud but smells much worse) up to your knees with flies swarming you. It gets better. I promise. And if you do this again? You’ll do it better. Yeah, sure, it’s hard when there’s more than one kid to look after, but confidence sorta makes up for all that.
And by “confidence” I partly mean not caring if the 3 year old is running around your backyard naked while eating his 3rd chocolate breakfast bar of the day, and knowing your baby will be just fine with no socks on.
They’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. It’s fine.
It’s been a long while since I’ve blogged about how we plan to use cloth diapers on here. I have some really old posts in my archives from when I first cloth diapered my oldest- EIGHT YEARS AGO. Holy cow.
In some ways, a lot has changed, but what hasn’t changed is that I’m STILL using bumGenius diapers by Cotton Babies. So it’s super exciting that this year they are working with me on a series of posts as I embark on cloth diapering my 4th baby, including sponsoring this post.
Newborn Cloth Diapering
To start, I’m thrilled to have 18 bumGenius Littles on hand for the tiny newborn phase. This will be the first time I’m using these, but I’m hopeful they will be just as effective and easy to use as the full-size (one-size) bumGenius diapers. While I usually prefer snaps over hook & loop closures, I think having h&l for newborn size is just perfect because sometimes you’re too tired to operate snaps, like when you have a newborn.
Because these are sized specially for babies 6-12 lbs, they are far less bulky than regular size cloth diapers on a tiny bottom. They are also designed to rest below baby’s belly button to keep the umbilical area dry. The ultra absorbent microfiber core and waterproof outer layer are all one piece, meaning there is no stuffing required. They go on and come off just like a disposable diaper. Another win for exhausted parents!
*A note on investing in newborn size diapers- I’ve used newborn sized diapers on all my babies (I did fitteds with covers for the other 3), and I think it was a worthwhile investment if you can swing it. You won’t be using these diapers nearly as long, so they will make it through more than one baby with no issue, and retain great resale value.
In fact, you can even sell them back to Cotton Babies, along with many other sizes and brands of cloth diapers, via the Cotton Babies buy back program.
Infant to Toddler Cloth Diapering
Once baby outgrows the Littles, we’re moving right along to bumGenius Freetime and Elemental one-size diapers. I’ll have about 30 of these once I finally get the diapers I used with the other kids out of the attic, but a stash of 18-24 should be plenty for one baby.
With my first and second babies, I used mostly bumGenius pocket diapers, and they were wonderful, but I really dislike stuffing them, especially with such limited time now. Luckily, the all-in-one diapers have improved so much since then in terms of durability and absorbency. I donated most of my pocket diapers, and am excited to exclusively use all-in-ones this time around.
Like the newborn sized Littles, and as “all-in-one” suggests, they are all one piece, so no stuffing pockets or snapping inserts in.
These fit kiddos up to 35 lbs, so they should get us all the way to the potty training stage, which they have in the past.
Sometimes (a lot of times, actually) we’re pretty lazy and use disposable wipes. I don’t know why I classify that as “lazy” because it’s really more work. When you use cloth wipes, you just throw them right in the diaper pail with the dirty diaper. With disposable wipes you have to separate them and throw them in the trash. So I’m going to try not to do that as much with this one. (Of course, with my first, I never used disposable wipes.)
You can buy special cloth diaper wipes, but I’ve found the inexpensive, thin baby washcloths that you can get at big box stores are just as effective. No need to keep either kind in a special wipe box or wipe warmer. Just toss the clean ones in a box or basket that’s within reach of your diaper changing area. I promise, there are better things to do in life than spending time folding your wipes.
Oh! And I like to use the peri bottle I bring home from the hospital to fill with water and tiny bit of baby shampoo. Then I squirt that on the wipes right before I use them.
Cloth Diaper Laundry
I try to get a load of diapers in every 2-3 days. In the meantime, the dirty diapers are stored in a basic plastic, step-lid trashcan, lined with a large, waterproof pail-liner. I actually need to get a new one of these, and am eyeing this one by Planet Wise. In my experience, this method is really effective in keeping smells at bay – no fancy diaper pail required.
While the baby is exclusively breastfed, it will be fine to toss his diapers in there without rinsing poop off first because breast milk poop washes away with no issue in the washing machine. Once he start solids, though, it’s super important to rinse the poop off before throwing them in the wash. I use a combination of flushable diaper liners, and the help of my Spray-Pal splatter shield and diaper sprayer.
To wash, I like to use All Free & Clear, and I follow the washing suggestions for our top-loading washer from Cotton Babies (though I’ll admit I rarely line dry and usually tumble dry on low).
While Out And About
It’s pretty easy to cloth diaper while you’re out of the house running errands. Just keep a couple clean diapers in your bag, along with a travel size wet bag. These do a great job of containing mess and smells, so you can throw the dirty diaper (and wipes if you use cloth wipes while out, too) in there, zip it up, and then toss it in the diaper pail when you get home.
On Keeping It Real
With my first baby, I cloth diapered him full time, like even on vacation. As I’ve had more kids, that’s just not been an option. With our 3rd, I cloth diapered while at home and used disposables or Flip covers with disposable liners while out and traveling.
The cool thing is cloth diapering doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Do what works for you! I’m hoping I’ll be able to cloth diaper this baby more than the last one. We’ll see! Not going to be upset if we don’t.
This is a very basic overview of our cloth diapering process, but I also feel like cloth diapering has become so much more streamlined (at least for me) over the years, that there’s not much of a learning curve anymore. I’m sure a lot of you have questions that I didn’t answer, though, so feel free to ask away! I’ll do my very best to get you some answers.
You’d think after 3 other babies that I’d have a huge stash of stuff ready for this one. I mean, yes and no. There isn’t a ton we need for this baby, but I also haven’t kept every single thing I’ve ever used with the other 3, either. For good reason. Half of it was crap.
And while there are some awesome new things that have come out over the last few years that I do plan on getting, I am pretty confident in all the good stuff that I’ve kept.
This includes our bumGenius cloth diapers by Cotton Babies, who is also sponsoring this post.
If you’re a first time parent, I think these are some quality items to put on your registry. Of course, everything in parenthood is subjective and really relative to your lifestyle, so take this for what it’s worth- just my opinion… my opinion based on having 3 other babies in 8 years, with a 4th on the way.
Fisher Price Bouncer Seat
There are a few variations of this, but I’m partial to the most basic. The vibration function is nice, but what we use this for the most is to manually bounce our babies to sleep because our babies love them a good, hard bounce.
My favorite pro-parent tip is to master how to bounce a baby to sleep with your foot with the seat on the floor in front of you while you sit at your desk and work, sit on the couch and watch TV, or sit at the table and eat. It’s also the perfect place to put a newborn while you shower. Yeah, there’s going to come a moment when you’re alone with a baby, and you can’t stand your own stench, and then you’re going to be like, “Uhhhh… so like, what do I DO with you?”
I can’t even begin to quantify how much money cloth diapering has saved us while raising 3 kids. bumGenius diapers are the most reliable, longest lasting brand I’ve tried. I’ve got some bumGenius Original pocket diapers that I used on my first baby 8 years ago, that I’m prepping for baby #4 now, along with a nice stash of new Freetimes and Elementals.
I’ve been all over the place with cloth diapering, from using them ALL THE TIME with my first (road trips included) to using them just at home with baby #3. Even if you’re not planning to commit to full-time cloth diapering, I think it’s great to have at least 6 on hand. Then you don’t have to stress if you run out of diapers in the middle of the night, or if the brand you’re using suddenly seems to be giving your baby a rash.
Not to mention, they’re ADORABLE. (Look at those prints!)
I’ll be sharing a lot more about cloth diapering over the next year!
Miracle Blanket & Woombie
These are the only 2 swaddles that have ever contained our hulk-smashing newborns. (They are all born with super strength.) The Miracle Blanket helped save my sanity when my first baby had colic. The Woombie came about in time for our 2nd, though she seemed to prefer having her arms at her side in the Miracle Blanket. But, our 3rd LOVED having the freedom to scoot his hands up a bit in the Woombie. I’m going to have both washed and ready to see what works best for baby #4.
Aden & Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets and Dream Blankets
The basic swaddle blankets are such workhorses. They make excellent nursing covers, spit up rags, car seat covers, light blankets, and plain ol’ swaddles. They are HUGE, which is really useful. The Dream Blankets (like that star one up there) are several layers of the basic swaddle, and they are the perfect weight blanket for when you need something a little heavier. They get softer with every wash, and soon you’ll be wishing you had one in your size (which they actually make).
Fisher Price Rock & Play
I’ve only had the Rock & Play for my 3rd baby, and man, I wish I had it for the other 2. My babies all love to sleep in a slight incline, and this thing is PERFECT for that. The Bouncer seat is, too, but it’s not always convenient to sit it on the floor, especially with older kids and dogs running around. Lowell napped in this all the time, and even spent a few fussy nights in it. I hear there’s one now that automatically rocks itself?! Yeah, getting it.
Diono Radian RXT Car Seat
These seats are WONDERFUL if you need to fit 3 carseats across one row of your car. With just one Radian RXT in the middle, we were able to get 3 carseats across the back of our Infiniti G35. Leyna, at nearly 6, just outgrew hers and is switching to a Britax Frontier.
Medela Harmony Breast Pump
If you think you’re going to even try to breastfeed, I can’t recommend having a manual pump enough. I have used this so much with 3 kids that I’m actually on my 2nd one now. The first lived a long, hard life. Even if you think you’re going to exclusively breastfeed and never give your baby a bottle, and even if you already have a fancy double electric pump, here’s why you need it:
1. Sometimes you need to pump a little bit to relieve engorgement to get a newborn to latch, and having to bust out the electric pump for that can be overwhelming.
2. If you unfortunately wind up with a clogged duct or mastitis, this can really help you get milk moving to help it clear up faster.
3. If you travel, a small manual pump is immensely easier to throw in your bag and take on an airplane with you.
Stokke Tripp Trapp
This is the only high chair we’ve ever had, and I fully expect we will still have it when we have grandchildren. It’s easy to clean, impossible to destroy, and functions as a high chair, booster seat, and adult size chair. It’s a fantastic investment that you can feel confident will not wind up in a landfill anytime soon. You can read a more thorough review of it here.
Boppy Feeding Pillow
Not only does it make a great nursing/feeding pillow (and mine looks a little deflated here because it’s been used A LOT)…
But it’s also wonderful for tummy time, and helping babies sit up. I love that it’s uncomplicated, and you can find a ton of cute, custom covers on Etsy or from sellers on Instagram. Get you a couple because this thing gets covered in a lot of bodily fluids on the regular.
Bonus- I also need to add some sort of baby carrier to this list, but since I can’t narrow down a specific favorite, and we’ve used several over the years, I’m just going to encourage you to do some research and find a good quality baby carrier (that you can usually find 2nd hand for a great price if you’re not sure it will work out) that works well with your lifestyle.
What about you, seasoned parents? What are some of your tried & true baby items you’d recommend a new parent get?
Thanks to Cotton Babies for sponsoring this post. Many of these items, plus so much more, can be found at CottonBabies.com, and shipping is FREE with every order.
Share This Video With All The Moms In Your Life Because They Just Might Need To See It – Postpartum Progress PSA
I saw some pictures come up in my Timehop app last week, and I caught my breath.
There was a photo of the Pantages theater in Los Angeles. I was there for a media event, and I spent the entire symphony trying to convince myself nobody was going to push me over the edge of the balcony from 6 rows back.
Then a photo of me holding my then 10 month old daughter. I had a bruise on the front of my leg from rubbing an imaginary “tumor” over and over, convinced I would need my leg amputated, and that I’d probably die and never see her go to kindergarten.
She started kindergarten this year, and I was there.
5 years ago I was sinking, drowning, felt like I was dying. Literally. I was rock bottom in the pit of postpartum anxiety. And I had no idea that I would ever be able to sit here today, and look at that from a distance. I had no idea what it would feel like to say that was something that happened to me, not who I was, who I am. I didn’t think I’d ever feel any differently.
Then I read The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety in Plain Mama English from PostpartumProgress.com, and to say my life was changed would not even begin to cover it. I was not a bad mother, I was not dying. I was sick, and I could get better.
AND I DID.
(And then I got sick again, and then better again. Click here if you want to read through my journey with postpartum anxiety.)
I will forever be indebted to Postpartum Progress for helping me get out of that incredibly dark place, I’ve been dedicated to helping them share their mission with mothers ever since.
So, for the 2nd year, I am honored to team up with Cotton Babies, a sponsor of the Postpartum Progress Warrior Mom Conference and supporter of all moms, to create a video PSA that we all hope will get seen by countless people all over the world who need to know that there is help for all moms who feel this way.
I wanted the tone for this year’s video to be uplifting and full of hope. 1 in 7 mothers (at the very least) will deal with a perinatal mood & anxiety disorder, like postpartum depression, anxiety, ocd, and psychosis. Our goal is for every single one of those mothers to know that she can get better, she can rise up, and that this does NOT stop her from being a good mother. There are so many of us who have made it through to the other side, and we’re here to throw you a lifesaver.
We are more than the news stories. We are changing lives- our own, and mothers and children around us. We will not be quiet. We will keep shouting about this until all mothers and people who love mothers know that Postpartum Progress is here to help, and to smash the stigma and the shame.
On to the video! I hope you’ll consider sharing this with anyone and everyone you know.
I’ve seen first-hand how few major voices are willing to speak out on our behalf. And by that, I mean brands, pharmaceutical companies, corporations. There are SO MANY people who will NOT touch this cause with a 10 foot pole. I have been behind the scenes, pitching them to sponsor Climb Out Of The Darkness and the Warrior Mom Conference. Many will say they choose to focus their resources on causes that “help children.”
You want to “help children”? There is nothing more important than supporting their mothers.
So it is incredibly moving to me when a brand that I have long loved and used and aligned with steps up and makes a PROUD stance supporting Postpartum Progress and all mothers. I can not thank Cotton Babies enough for their part in all of this. I hope you’ll consider supporting them, too.
Finally, a special thanks to this year’s Warrior Moms who participated in the video.
Jessica is a home schooling mother and dedicates herself to being the best she can be for her 3 children.
Heather is a mother of 2 who also runs a postpartum support group and leads a Climb Out Of The Darkness climb in her city.
Graeme is a Postpartum Progress Warrior Mom Ambassador and blogs at The Postpartum Mama. (Photo by Maria White & Matthew Mebane)
I have loved cloth diapers since I had my first baby nearly 8 (!!) years ago, and I’m so stoked contributor Suzanne Davis of BeBehBlog.com joined this year’s Make Cloth Mainstream challenge! This is a super awesome peek into a day in the life for those of you who are curious about cloth diapers and how it may work for your family.
This April, as part of a yearly initiative called Make Cloth Mainstream, I joined the Make Cloth Mainstream Challenge and became someone who uses cloth diapers. I was previously NOT that person. In fact, when my oldest son was still a baby I sincerely attempted to become that person and failed. Super failed. So the idea that I would try again when I have two and a half more kids is surprising, especially to me.
Even more surprising than me joining the challenge is me finishing the challenge. I made it three weeks without resorting to a single disposable diaper. Can I promise I will never ever use one again? Absolutely not. But by the end of the summer I’m going to have TWO kids in diapers and ain’t nobody got the money for that. Plus, and I really hate to say this part because I sound shallow and silly, cloth diapers are so cuuuuuute. I hardly bother to put pants on Lincoln anymore.
I know Jill has been a huge proponent of cloth for years, so I might be preaching to the choir a little bit if I just talked about how we made the switch. So instead, I’m going to give you a play-by-play of approximately 24 hours of our life in cloth diapers and YOU can tell ME what I’m doing right, what I’m doing wrong, and what could make our lives easier.
I’m still really new at this and although the super nice sponsors behind the Make Cloth Mainstream Challenge gave me everything I needed to get started, I’m 100% sure the things I don’t know could fill several books.
Monday, 8 am:
This week is spring break, so our days are both busier and more relaxed than usual. Linc apparently slept in the twin bed last night (praise be to husbands who deal with non-sleeping babies so pregnant ladies can rest) and was still sleeping this morning. He’s in a Rumparooz pocket diaper with both inserts for extra absorbancy and so far we’ve had no overnight leaks.
Monday, 8:15 am:
These diapers were actually washed yesterday, so this morning I have a clean supply. The ones on top are Applecheeks and Rumparooz (plus one Thirsties cover), which dry really fast just laying out. The ones in the dryer are the Thirsties all-in-ones and Smart Bottoms all-in-ones, plus a couple wet bags and inserts I ran on low.
Monday, 8:30 am:
I took a few minutes to stuff all my pocket diapers so they’re ready to go, then changed Linc, who insisted on holding this giant train the entire time. His nighttime diaper was disgusting and I hadn’t been expecting a poop so I hadn’t put a disposable liner in it (REGRETS!). That means it’s definitely going to need sprayed.
Monday, 8:35 am:
This is my comically small and old downstairs bathroom. That is the brilliant qdspray that attaches (and easily unattaches) to even my stupid sink and a Spray Pal to hold my gross, gross diaper and prevent poop splatter.
These two things have been KEY to my cloth diapering success. Toddler poop is disgusting (which is why I kindly edited that photo for you) and not having to deal with it for more than a few seconds is the only way I can handle it.
Monday, 9:30 am:
My Ju-Ju-Be B.F.F. bag holds ALL THE THINGS and also has backpack straps. We’re headed to the zoo, so I packed two all-in-one diapers (a Thirsties and a Smart Bottoms), my Applecheeks disposable liners to stuff inside, a mini wet bag with reusable wipes and booty spray, my travel wet bag for used diapers and about 10,000 other things because I have three children.
Monday, 9:35 am:
TO THE ZOO!!
I will flash-forward here through the nightmare that was a drive that took literally twice as long as it should, parking a mile from the zoo, hauling all our stuff through the herds of people and finding our friends in the mess. By the time we got inside the zoo it was time for lunch already.
Monday, 12:30 pm:
Quick diaper change for a grumpy baby on our picnic blanket. It only took a few seconds (no poop!) and then we were ready to go. We spent a few hours letting the kids be insane and burn off as much spring break energy as possible and then headed home.
Monday, 3:30 pm:
Stopped for ice cream on the way home. I checked Linc’s diaper and decided he was good to go without a change. Those are some really tired, really filthy kids back there.
Monday, 4:00 pm:
When we get home and head upstairs for baths I grab all my wet bags. The big Kanga Care wet bag I keep in the powder room to toss in diapers I spray/change downstairs, the travel one was from today and the extra diaper was the one I took off the baby before I threw him in the tub.
Luckily my washer and dryer are in the main bathroom so I pulled everything out and tossed them in for their first rinse (double rinse on cold with just a tiny bit of Allen’s Naturally liquid detergent) while the kids splashed around. After bath I put a cover with a hemp/cotton insert on Linc. He was very extra completely tired from skipping his nap and our busy day.
Monday: 5:00 pm:
Came upstairs to restart the diapers on their “real” wash (wash on heavy with hot water/cold rinse x2 with a 1/4 cup of the Allen’s Naturally powder detergent). With 5 people in our family I was already doing a ton of laundry, so I also pulled dry kids clothes out of the dryer to sort and put away, pre-treated everything that needed to go in the wash tonight – like Caroline’s dress from the zoo she literally SOAKED in mud – and pulled all the underpants/pants apart in the hamper. WHY CAN KIDS NOT DO THAT THEMSELVES????
Monday, 7:00 pm:
Caroline made (most of) our dinner. I supervised but she’s currently obsessed with doing as many grown-up things as possible, so I’m letting her help as much as I safely can. In case you were wondering, it was chicken fried rice and it was delicious. Monday dinner is late because the boys are at Judo. This is not cloth diaper related, except that she loves playing grown-up and that also includes diapers.
Monday, 8:00 pm:
Pajamas and one last diaper change for Linc. Caroline helped again. I think maybe I should give her most of the credit for the Make Cloth Mainstream Challenge.
Monday, 8:15 pm:
Twelve hours after I grabbed my clean diapers off the dryer, I put more clean diapers on top to air dry. That Rumparooz is a little stained after the nightmare poop from last night so I’ll put them out in the sun tomorrow and that will lighten them right up. Now it’s time for tooth brushing and baby bedtime!
Tuesday, 8:00 am:
DONE SLEEPING TIME TO GET OUT OF BED IT’S ANOTHER GREAT CLOTH DIAPERING DAY!!!
Tuesday, 8:15 am:
My helpers and I put the diapers from yesterday’s wash outside to sun bleach. We have afternoon plans so I grabbed them around noon just in case it rained but 4 hours brightened them right up. It’s really like magic. I won’t have to do cloth laundry at all today unless for some reason Linc goes through 9 diapers between this moment and bedtime.
So, cloth diaper people, am I officially one of you? Or am I doing this COMPLETELY wrong? Does this pretty much look like everyone’s cloth diaper days?
For the record, one poop a day is average but not predictable. Some days it is 4 poops and I hate everything. Does cloth diapering always involve talking about poop so much?
I would say that the number one thing I learned from this challenge is that you do not actually have to know everything about cloth diapers to cloth diaper.
I do not know how cloth diapers work with a newborn. I do not know anything about why hemp is better/worse than microfiber. I do not know how to strip diapers. I do not understand the nuances of using Tide vs. other laundry detergents. I haven’t had to troubleshoot rashes or leaking or poopsplosions. I was not 100% prepared to make the switch. But you know what? It doesn’t matter.
If any of that stuff becomes necessary, I can figure it out. I’m in a great Facebook group called The Cloth Diaper Experiment where people are more than happy to help with even my dumbest questions. If I never become a cloth diaper expert I can still be someone who cloth diapers. And I’m pretty excited about that.
The lowest, rock-bottom point in my postpartum anxiety battle was a quiet afternoon, as I rocked my then 9 month old daughter in her dark room, hot tears streaming down my face. I looked at her, and apologized over and over. I said to myself, “If you don’t get help, you will be the mom on the news.”
1 hour later, I was in my car, driving to fill my prescription for Zoloft- something I didn’t want to admit until that very moment that I needed to get better.
Last weekend I was part of a revolutionary movement. I sat in a room at the first ever Warrior Mom Conference with over 100 other women, and we talked about our battles with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (postpartum/antepartum depression, anxiety, ocd, psychosis). We shared moments of tears, joy, and victory.
And then? We talked A LOT about helping moms who haven’t been helped, who need it the most, who need that one person to come into their life and let them know that they are not a BAD mom. They are a mom who is dealing with an illness, and that that illness CAN get better.
Katherine Stone, founder of the nonprofit Postpartum Progress that put on the conference, made a powerful analogy in her keynote speech. 1 in 7 moms (at least!) will deal with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, falling over a cliff at the edge of motherhood, into a dark hole. It is so important that some, many of us who make it out of that hole, come back around, and throw ropes down to the women who are still in it.
And so, this project I’m about to share with you, this is just one of my ropes.
I’ve spent the last 3 months working with the Warrior Mom Conference national sponsor Cotton Babies to create this short video with the hopes that as many moms, and people who love and support moms see it. I want them to see this rope that is woven from threads of hope and messages of victory and solidarity.
7 women in 3 cities opened their hearts and homes to me. They sat before my camera, raw and beautifully vulnerable, throwing out their own ropes.
Watch, listen, share. Grab hold of that rope, momma. We are here for you. You are a GOOD mother. You CAN get better.
Thank you to Cotton Babies and to these gloriously strong women for making this video possible.
If you or someone you love can identify with the struggles these women talked about in the video, and you need a place to start, head over to PostpartumProgress.org. I found their “Tools” to be incredibly eye opening and helpful.
The experience of selling our house and buying a new one has been pretty similar to planning our wedding. At first, we were like, “OMG YES! So fun! Make it so pretty! Allllll the ideas!” And then I started pinning things like crazy (except that Pinterest didn’t exist when I got married and BACK IN MY DAY we cut ideas out of magazines that were MADE FROM PAPER).
But then there were contracts and vendors, and we started bleeding money, and days before the big day we’re like, “Why didn’t we run off to a romantic island and build a hut from grass at sunset with our closest friends and family?”
The biggest similarity is that by the end of the planning and prepping, we are both like, “Welp, I hope we love each other (and the house) forever because NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN. Stuck for life.”
It’s been hard to get excited about the new house because it’s been a rocky few weeks with our buyers. And then there’s always the fear that something random will happen before closing, like the zombie apocalypse or a massive Ebola outbreak that shuts down the entire city.
I have an overactive imagination.
Assuming nothing blows up over the next 4 days, though, we are all set to close on both houses next Monday. Like, we will be moving boxes into our new house this time next week.
So now it’s full-on packing mode. The house is covered in giant boxes, which is a toddler wonderland!
The sacrifices and the stress will be worth it in the end. We are all looking forward to moving on and settling in. We know quite a few of our new neighbors, and we each have big plans for different parts of the house. Scott is already dreaming up a new garden. The kids are looking forward to playing in the big driveway. I am so pumped to decorate my new craft/photo studio!
All that’s standing in our way is a little ol’ move, and writing a giant check.
And lots of boxes.
A huge thanks to Seventh Generation for sponsoring this post and sending Lowell a ton of their new Touch of Cloth disposable diapers. When Lowell isn’t in cloth diapers, he’s been in Seventh Generation diapers since the day he was born, so this is such a natural fit for us.
I had to pack up the cloth diapers when we put the house on the market because it just wasn’t something I could keep up with right now. The upside is those diaper boxes are the perfect size for Lowell to help pack his own toys.
Yeah, get to work, buddy.
Yesterday I unveiled the shiny new blog design, and now I show you what’s up my other sleeve.
A fancy new YouTube channel! You can check it out and subscribe here. The big dream is to upload new videos 1-2x a week, but it may take a while to settle into my groove, especially during the summer. I need to set up an appropriate studio-ish space still.
I’m so excited that this also coincides with the launch of a campaign with bumGenius, one of my very favorite cloth diaper brands and the very first brand I purchased when I began cloth diapering my oldest 6 years ago. Yesterday, I helped bumGenius announce their brand new diaper print- The Chaplin- in this short video all about what I thought motherhood would be vs. what it’s really like. I hope it makes you smile!
And I’d love to hear from you what you’d like to see videos about!
“How may of you are the parent you thought you’d be before you had kids?”
That’s the question I opened with last weekend when I spoke about giving ourselves permission to change at the Great Cloth Diaper Change in Denver, presented by Kanga Care.
Nobody raised their hand. Shocker.
Sometimes the words I say to other people are exactly the words I need to hear for myself. It seems weird to be speaking on a topic, like I’m some sort of expert, when it’s a journey I’m still on.
I still have to remind myself it’s okay to change, and that change is not an indication of failure on my part. I spoke briefly last weekend about how hard the first couple years of motherhood were for me because anytime I was faced with having to change my beliefs about something, or my approach, it made me feel like a failure.
But once I learned to embrace that change, and give myself permission for it to happen, it became freeing.
I was once the kind of person who planned long in advance for things like work trips. I had post it notes to remind me of to-do lists, and packing lists that I checked twice.
I type this now, 4 hours out from flying out to another work conference (Mom 2.0 in Atlanta). I’m half packed, I don’t have a plan, I haven’t glanced at the schedule yet. I spent a lot of yesterday feeling guilty for not getting media kits printed in time, and not yet buying classroom treats for Kendall’s birthday on Friday.
Oh yeah. He turns 6 on Friday, and I’m going to be gone.
But as I started to reflect on what I was going to write about for this post, the message I spoke about last weekend, it was a good reminder to me that it’s okay if this stage in my life doesn’t have room for to-do lists and packing lists. It’s okay if my work/life balance right now means we had cake and presents with Kendall last night, and his dad will visit his class tomorrow with treats he’ll pickup from Target today.
This is one of the best lessons motherhood has taught me, and I hope it’s something the attendees of the GCDC in Denver last weekend will take to heart.
Last weekend’s travel was fun… and exhausting… but fun! I got to take Lowell with me. On a plane. Twice. I had wine the 2nd flight.
He was mostly really, really good.
And of course, he did his part to try and break the Guiness World Record for the most cloth diapers changed at one time around the world.
It was fun to spend some time one-on-one with him. Let me tell you, after you have 3 kids, one baby is…. still a little hard, but hey, TWO HANDS and both eyes all for him!
A HUGE thank you to the Kanga Care team, especially Julie, for having me out for the event, and letting me stay at their house! Traveling with a mobile infant is hard enough. It’s nice to have a real house to escape to, one with pack and plays and an endless supply of wine.
Kanga Care is the maker of Rumparooz cloth diapers. We just started using their brand with Lowell, and we are big fans!
I keep hoping the cloth diapers will slow this kid down a little. Maybe we can stuff them with quarters? Because this? No bueno, folks. He turned 9 months old yesterday.