Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

    In addition to the warm sentiments directed to their own mothers, many people take time on Mother's Day to express the joy they receive from their own experience as a mother. I know plenty of these women. They are so excited to spend Mother's Day with the children that made them a mother. Even on a regular ole day of the year, they will gush over how amazing their role of Motherhood has been. Hard, yes, but so fulfilling! So wonderful! They can't remember what their life was like before their children were in it. And they can't imagine their life without them. They are so thankful for their children for placing them into the role of Motherhood.

   I am not one of those women. I know them, and I love many of them. I think they are wonderful people. And for a while, I was jealous of their enjoyment of Motherhood. I assumed that the post-partum depression was the obstacle in my way from that ethereal maternal experience. After all, when most women were endlessly kissing their tiny baby's faces, I was contemplating adoption. But almost two years later, the PPD is behind me and has been for almost a year now. Now I know that truly, it's just not who I am. 

   I remember what it was like before Perrin. I remember it vividly and fondly. I remember the pure selfishness with which I lived my life and absolute freedom I had. And I can easily picture what our lives would be like if he wasn't here. I can name the trips we would have taken and the things we would have done. Sometimes I find these thoughts entertaining, just because of the stark differences in those images and our reality. And sometimes, on the hard days, I find them incredibly painful as I find myself again questioning whether or not we made the right choices in our lives. 

   I do not like Motherhood. I do not find fulfillment in the ideal. When I don the label it feels stuffy and ill-fitted. I do not experience the romanticism that I know to exist for others. But I do like Perrin. I love Perrin. I love him fiercely. And whether I like it or not, I am his mother. And Joey and I owe it to him to raise him up in the love and kindness that every human deserves. Perrin is such a wonderful person. So I don't mind being his mother. But I don't like being a Mother. This distinction is subtle. But to me, it is a glaring disconnect.

   So this Mother's Day, I want to clink glasses with all the women who don't feel the warm fuzzies. The ones who find themselves embarrassed or confused by the emotions they feel on a day honoring Motherhood in the abstract. Especially when for so many women, the reality of their own motherhood is anything but honored. Because I truly believe you don't have to love Motherhood to love your child. And you don't have to be fulfilled in Motherhood to be a damn good mother. There is no one right way to mother a child. So for anyone else who finds today especially painful or disconcerting, just know you are not alone. These feelings can be complex, but there is no shame or guilt in them. And the more we can be open about them and speak our own truths, the more the idea of Motherhood will reflect what motherhood actually is. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Goodbye my diapers, goodbye my friends....

   Of all the things baby related that Joey and I discussed and decided on, cloth diapering was pretty far down on the priority list. We both like the idea of saving a boat load of money and reducing our environmental footprint, but we didn't have a strong attachment to the concept. We knew if push came to shove and cloth diapering didn't work out for us, we could be ok with that. But it did. It worked out so well.

   Joey has been in charge of the diaper department since day one, and he will be the first to tell you that cloth diapering has been simple and required pretty minimal effort. We were also lucky that most of our start up supplies was gifted to us for our baby shower. We bought a couple wetbags, our cloth wipes, and towards the end of our diapering journey I *splurged* and got a few cute print diapers used for $5-$10 a piece. But other than those late additions, we used the same basic stash for our entire diapering journey.

  We had 3 newborn diapers, 2 of which I bought specifically for newborn pictures so they wouldn't look so baggy. Everything else was one-size, so we used them from birth up till potty independence. We had two packs of cloth wipes, 12 Fuzzibunz pocket diapers, 6 Bum Genius pocket diapers, 4 planet wise wet bags for the diaper bag, 1 large wet bag as a hamper/diaper pail, a sprayer, and 4 hemp inserts on top of the microfiber ones that came with our diapers. It was a pretty minimal stash. Even counting all the extra diapers I picked up, we have only had 31 diapers total over our whole journey.

  But they served their purpose. We have bought exactly 2 packs of disposable diapers- one newborn pack to get us through the meconium stage, and one pack when Perrin was teething and got a gnarly diaper rash that needed max strength bum cream. We used about half of each pack and gave the rest away. We took our cloth on our vacations, no problem (although TBH having extra space for my own clothes wouldn't have been the worst thing ever, but we did only bring carry on). All included, we have spent well under $500 on diapering Perrin. Not bad for 22 months.

  But now it is time to move on. We have been doing part time EC with Perrin since he was around 8 months. He was very close to potty independence around 17 months, only using diapers for sleep, but we traveled over the holidays and relied more heavily on diapers and he lost interest in the toilet. However at 20 months I noticed he was dry most of the time when I changed him, so we switched to trainers and started back with the potty. By 21 months the trainers were unnecessary and we were in underwear and using diapers for night time only. Now, at 22 months, he wakes up dry in the morning. We use the trainers still at night *just in case*, but our diapering days are behind us.

  And it's funny, because we are sad and sentimental. I'm sure all parents are when their kids reach any milestone, but we also have found that we are just attached to our diapers in general. As we were washing and packing away all our stash, Joey and I each had favorites we wanted to keep. Joey could tell you which he liked best for nights versus days, etc. It felt weird to think we wouldn't be washing them and stuffing them and putting them in the little tote we store them in. Some of our stash (the extra sentimental part) is packed away in a box with our favorite baby clothes and other things. The rest will be loaned out and eventually sold. So our cloth diaper journey is at an end. But I must say, it has been a great run. I would highly recommend it to any family.