After my second child was born, I found myself nursing my voracious little eater for hours on end in front of my laptop. As I searched for old Mary Tyler Moore Show episodes, I started to think about what I wanted to do when all this new baby stuff was over. I didn’t want to go back to teaching full-time, and I had no interest in selling anything of any sort. I wanted to support moms like me; conscientious moms who want a healthy planet for their children, and who don’t equate good parenting with spending lots of money.
I had been cloth diapering my first child since birth and felt really good about that decision. So many of my friends scoffed at the very idea of cloth diapers, and yet I persisted in doing it and talking it up to anyone who would listen. During a particularly long middle-of-the-night feeding, I came across a non-profit organization called the Real Diaper Association You’ve seen them in other Cloth Diaper Whisperer posts; they have a great cloth diaper calendar that was featured a couple months ago. What you may not know (as I didn’t) is they act as a support system for hundreds of parents throughout the country who are interested in cloth diapers or who currently cloth diaper. They compile scientific studies that support cloth diapering, they educate parents who want to know more about cloth diapering, and they train people to run local cloth diaper circles (I call it La Leche League for cloth diapers).
That last part seemed like the perfect project for me. Yes, it’s volunteer. Yes, it’ll take some time. And yes, I’ll be talking to a lot of parents who don’t prioritize things the way I do. All of those facts were OK with me. To be honest, I was excited about the challenge – if I wasn’t going to work out of the home for a while, I wanted something that would keep my brain engaged.
Chicago is a wonderful city with good Midwestern values, but we are far behind the coasts as far as progressive parenting practices. My cute little Southside neighborhood is even further behind the rest of the city. Most parents I talk to down here don’t even know cloth diapers exist! Needless to say, I have my work cut out for me.
I finished my RDA leader training this summer and started an online group to serve Chicagoland parents. It has quickly grown from a couple of my friends to an impressive 76 members as of today (OK, I’m impressed anyway). I have three other wonderful leaders from different parts of the city working with me to spread the word and hosted my first circle meeting last week.
Despite all the work we still need to do, I’m having a great time challenging other parents to see their decisions differently. To me, cloth diapering is the first step in defining your family’s environmental and financial values. We don’t waste our money and we’re certainly not going to waste the precious resources we’ve been given.
If you’ve got any Chicago area friends, please send them our way! And keep spreading the cloth diaper love!
by Katrina P.