Sometimes I feel like I am doing something illegal, and because of that, every time I walk into a certain building I find myself nervously looking around and trying to be as unnoticeable as possible. And just what establishment is this you may be wondering? Why the Laundromat of course!
Not having our own washing and drying machines was the number one reason why my husband and I had initially considered using a diaper service instead of buying our own diapers. However, once I realized how much money we would save if we purchased our own diapers, we decided buying was the better option. Yet I was still really nervous about how the washing was going to go for us, myself especially, because I am not a fan of heated confrontations!
What would happen when people saw me put a bunch of dirty diapers into the machine next to their clothes; would they get mad and yell at me? Would people tell me how gross it was and that I “contaminating” their machines? I did not see it going well for me on every laundry trip. But I tried to encourage myself by reminding myself that it did not matter what they thought because I had just as much of a right to wash diapers at a Laundromat as anyone else does to wash their socks! After all, I told myself, if they can wash underwear –which have the same things on them as diapers (plus usually a few other things!), the only real difference is the quantity on them! Plus, it is not like there are signs inside the buildings stating what is and is not allowed to be washed on the premise. With those thoughts in mind, I decided I had nothing to be ashamed of and could proudly display my diapers.
Of course I chickened out the first couple of times. Using instead the machines at our parents’ places, where I knew I would not run into anyone. But that could not last forever, and I soon found myself having to go to an actual Laundromat. My first time there I (of course!) had issues with the washing machine and had to have a staff person fix the machine. I was so worried I was going to get in trouble! But she did not say a single thing, and while I did not know if it was because she did not notice or just not care, either way it was not an issue and I was thrilled!
Ever since that initial trip, my experiences have all been (surprisingly) uneventful –for which I am very grateful! My hope is that my trips will continue to be without incident, as everyone is focused on their own laundry. And as I have begun to notice, people wash a lot of other things that are deemed gross (i.e. blankets and rugs that animals have done mysterious things on!), and if those things are deemed acceptable, than so are my little one’s diapers!
And while a part of me still tenses every time I dump the contents of my wetbag into the washing machine and hurriedly shut the lid, I have also gotten braver at the same time. For example, I am now able to hang up the clean covers, AIOs, and pockets to begin air drying, while waiting for the inserts to dry in the machines, and no one even seems to realize what those colorful things are hanging off of my basket!
I do not know if my experiences are normal or not, but I hope they can serve as some encouragement to those who have not been cloth diapering due to not owning washing machines. It is not nearly as intimidating (or costly) as it initially seems; and if I can be “brave” enough to launder in public, then so can everyone else!
Rebecca Brown is the mother of a really tall five month old boy. She is also looking forward to moving into her own place so that she can have her own washing machine and be able to do laundry at any time of the day or night!