Over the last few years, as God has turned our hearts toward being better stewards of our possessions, our children, and His creation, we have made countless changes to our lifestyle. With the faltering economy, we grew eager to become more self-sufficient so we wouldn’t have to become reliant or indebted to others to support us. With the addition of a son who has a drinking/liquid fetish, we all but eliminated toxic chemical cleaners from our home, and I started learning to make what I could from scratch. Two things I think we forgot to consider in all the changes, however, was, first, how every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and second, and more importantly, how we must also be stewards of our time.
So, I am going to confess a few things:
First confession: I HATE cloth diapering! At first, I loved it. I loved what it stood for, I loved knowing I wasn’t over-polluting the landfills with paper diapers or supporting an industry to mass-produce chemical-laden diapers for my young infants. I loved the simplicity of never running out of diapers and having to rush to the store to grab some. But, when it came to the actual, practical, real-life part of it, I HATED it! I hated the constant smell of urine and poop in my laundry and diaper-changing area. I hated the fact that it seemed like every diaper leaked, and I had to change the babies entire outfit 2-4 times a day. I hated pre-treating the diapers with vinegar because my home-made detergent couldn’t get the smells out on it’s own. I hated having to run extra rinse cycles with a just a handful of diapers, which wasted water. I hated hauling the soiled diapers around in the diaper bag during outings, even if I did have one of those fancy dirty-diaper storage bags. I was determined to hang in there though. After all, we had invested several hundred dollars in them. I loved what they stood for. Then, at a baby shower, I was gifted a couple packages of traditional, paper diapers. I LOVED their convenience, lack of odor, lack of laundry, etc. I remembered the days gone by with my other children, where I could get through most days with just 1 or 2 outfits, and half the laundry. It got me to thinking. I went back and forth, and I decided to give it up.
My dear husband, however, wasn’t so enthusiastic. He also loved what it represented–probably more so. He also didn’t have the day-in-day-out experiences with them I did. So, when I mentioned it, he had his concerns. The biggest of which was our initial investment into them. So, I promised to use them until I could find a buyer for about the same amount we payed. Then it hit me, the friend who had sold me the diapers had decided to become a foster parent. I called her up and told her the situation. God totally works!! She explained how disappointed they had been that they had sold them now that they would have more babies in the house. She jumped at the chance to buy them back, and now I think everybody is happy! She has her beloved diapers back. Although, I will once again be polluting landfills, I have found a source to get discounted, bulk, environmentally friendly, chlorine-free diapers, which seems to be a decent compromise. I also have probably regained HOURS of my time because I won’t have all the diapers to pre-treat and launder and fold, and I also won’t have all the extra outfits to clean and launder and fold. Overall, I guess part of me hopes that being a better steward of my time and water (in reduced laundry), will compensate for the poor stewardship of polluting landfills and continually purchasing diapers.
Second confession: I HATE my homemade laundry detergent. I have tried and tried and tried, for a couple years now, to make it work. Again, I love the concept behind it. I love having what I need and being indendent of the grocery store. I love not having to postpone laundry if I run out. I love the fact that it costs about a half to a third the price of traditional laundry soaps. I love that is is environmentally friendly. Then again, because it does such a lousy job on stains and odors, I have to invest in tons of vinegar which increases the cost. I also have to sometimes wash things multiple times, or do a cold rinse prior to washing, which wastes water, and uses energy, in turn increasing my cost. Most of all, I hate that all my whites and light colors have become dingy and dull looking over time. Since moving to the farm, the stain and dinginess problem has only become worse!
I discussed the issue with S, and he decided to let me make the decision. So, I have decided, at least for the time being, to finish out my current bucket of soap, then move on. I have heard about a good, environmentally friendly, commercial version I can get, so I think I will try it first. I may try a few different types if necessary. However, I am hoping again, that the time I save in mixing my soap, doing the extra laundry, the water I save by reducing the excess rinses and washes, and the money I save in less vinegar pre-treatments and reduced energy costs, will hopefully counteract the expense and pollution of commercialized detergents.
Now that that is off my chest, I feel much better. I’m sure I can come up with a few other confessions, but I’ve written too much already. Maybe my next post can be something with lots of photos in it!!