August 28, 2012

Cloth Diaper Quitter (You Heard Me)

I realized something last week, and it's groundbreaking.

Liberating, even.

I don't have to keep on using cloth diapers.

I can quit, if I want to.


I really, really want to.


To cloth diaper Oscar and Lucy on our (many) trips to Pennsylvania is an exercise in martyrdom that I'm not willing to continue. To demand the use of my mother-in-law's washer, dryer, water, and electricity feels inconsiderate. To lug a bag full of dirty diapers around in the van when I don't have to seems excessive. To rinse diapers at Jeff and Amy's house is a waste of the all too rare time that we get to spend with them and their girlies.

So: disposables when we travel.

And when they're being watched by someone else? It's hard enough to watch three kids when you're used to watching none, let alone figuring out the folding, inserting, wiping, rinsing hullabaloo that is cloth diapering for the uninitiated. My mom switched to disposable diapers when I was born because she could. She cloth diapered my older brother, and doesn't want to cloth diaper my kids. Demanding that she follow my system when all she wants to do is enjoy my kids feels rude and ungrateful.

So: disposables when they're babysat.

That leaves the rest of the time, which - frankly - is most of the time. When I take into account the increase in electricity use, the higher than expected cost of the diaper stuff that we bought, our ability to sell said stuff, and the fact that we both really, really hate rinsing poop off of things, we're not saving enough money for it to make a noticeable difference to our bottom line.

I remember looking at the number we so painstakingly arrived at last April when we first calculated the comparative costs of cloth vs. disposables, and being surprised it wasn't more. I was surprised again when I looked at the numbers over the last year to write the post for A Week Of Cloth Diapers (which, incidentally, made me never want to talk or think about cloth diapers again, and yet here we are).

When we switched to cloth diapers, it was to save money. When I went back to work full time, got pregnant with Lucy, and got tired of rinsing and washing daycare diapers every night, it was to stay sane (and stop barfing). When I had Lucy, and it was back to all cloth, all the time - except at night, because baby origami isn't one of my many skillz - it was to continue saving money.

Then I went on a diaper vacation, which brings me right back to the beginning of this post. The relief I felt at the thought of  opening, wiping, changing, and that's all was surprising. It made me realize that whatever enthusiasm I had for cloth diapering has dissolved to the point where it no longer outweighs the prospect of saving another $400 over the next two and a half years (less the disposables we'd buy for traveling and babysitting).

I don't want to cloth diaper anymore, and I don't have to. So as of today, I won't.

The end.