I got called "granola" this afternoon. Yep, apparently our decision to use cloth diapers has some people talking about us, and having a few laughs at our expense (not to mention the fact that these folks are family members). My first reaction was to just shrug it off with a candid, "Yep, earthy crunchy, that's me!" But then I got to thinking about it. Now I don't necessarily think "granola" is always an insult, but I can guarantee you in this case it came with a hint of, "You're one of THOSE people." So, if that is true, who are "those" people, and what are their reasons? Here's what I've come up with so far.
First of all, what do people think diapers were made out of for literally thousands of years? For the majority of time since man has existed, people used cloth. And did laundry. By hand. They didn't even have the modern conveniences that we have of laundry detergent, washing machines, and dryers. It was a lot of work, and people did it. Because there was no other option. Disposable diapers have only been used within the last few decades. And, cloth diapering is a LOT easier now than it used to be. They are made differently, and there are all kinds of tools and supplies that help make it as simple as possible. I've been told by many people that once you get into the routine, it's no big deal. Just like anything else.
But what are my personal reasons? To be honest? The biggest one is money. I can't even begin to describe the amount of money it will save. I've already received some as a gift and I know some people plan to give more. But even the up front cost of buying diapers ourselves will more than pay for itself in a very short time, because lots of cloth diapers are made to fit a wide range of sizes. Even if you take into account the additional use of household electricity and water (and detergent), it STILL works out to be thousands of dollars cheaper over the course of 3 years (about the length of time diapers are needed). I don't know about you, but in these times, with the amount of money we make, I'm all FOR saving us a few thousand dollars! Yes it's more work, but it's well worth it in my opinion.
The secondary reason is to do our part to take even just a little bit better care of the earth God has given us. Yes He gave us freedom to do a lot of things as we choose, but we are also held responsible for the choices we make. I saw a picture on Facebook today, actually I'll just post it on here so you can see it. It's going to pop into my mind every time I feel a little overwhelmed and don't feel like doing the extra work of cloth diapering. Here it is:
Yep, you read that right. 400 to 450 years for one disposable diaper to biodegrade. Ew! Talk about gross! And the irony of it all is that's what people tell me about cloth diapering...that's it's gross. I will let you be the judge for yourself, but in my mind, I'd rather get my hands dirty than leave something behind that's going to rot for centuries after I'm dead and gone!
I was just telling Derrick the other day that I don't care about what other people do, and I don't. I know lots of people who use disposable diapers, I even use them myself while babysitting every day. I don't turn my nose up about it, because it's a personal decision, and to each their own. Disposable diapers are easier and more convenient, and sometimes you just gotta take it easy on yourself, especially if you have a lot to already juggle in your life. So I really, really, honestly don't judge anyone else about this issue, because I'm not even that strongly opinionated about it. Like I said, it's mainly about $$ for us. But, in return, all I could possibly think to ask is for others to respect our decision, and not look down their noses at us. I know that anything "different" causes people to judge. That's ok. We all struggle with that. I'm not going to ask you to stop judging me, because I know it's probably not a realistic request. It's going to happen. You don't even have to give your support! Just please, do your research, and formulate an educated decision before you laugh at me behind my back. Thanks. If you study up on it and still think it's dumb, then by all means, go ahead and laugh. You can even do it in front of my face! :)
See, I've been doing research on this for months now. Lots. I read tons of blogs and posts by moms who are experienced in cloth diapering. I talk to friends who do it and ask tons of questions. I learn the ins and outs and try to study up on all the problem solving that people do, so hopefully I will remember some of it when I'm in the "trial and error" phase of figuring out what works and what doesn't. And the more I research, the more I think it's a good idea. So I guess all I can say about that is, don't knock it 'til you try it!
I guess the thing that cracks me up about being called "granola" is that the word is a stereotype given to people who are into all natural, save the environment, organic, kind of things. And just because a person chooses to cloth diaper doesn't necessarily mean that they fit into a particular classification. I don't think it's right to stereotype people anyway, but if you're going to do that, at least get the facts straight. Lots of people choose to do it for different reasons, and I can guarantee you that it's all different types of people. And besides, granola is yummy. I like it.
So if this is what it means to be granola, then I'm guilty as charged. Just make sure it's made with gluten free oats. Oh, and lots of chocolate chips and dried cranberries. 'Cause those are my favorite. :o)