Monday, May 21, 2012

On Our Way {2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge}

Or... The first of 7 days using only flats and washing all diapers, wipes and covers by hand.

DDLbuttonI am taking part in the Second Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. For 7 days I will be using only flat cloth diapers and handwashing them in an effort to prove that cloth diapering can be affordable and accessible to all. You can learn more about the rules and why this challenge was started by visiting the announcement post. This year there are over 450 participants from all over the world!

{Be sure to read posts 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 to see how the rest of the challenge went!}

My husband has finally taken the Just-Smile-and-Nod route when it comes to me and this challenge. To be honest, with his running commentary on this, I'm nervous to let non-cloth-diaperers know what I'm up to. (In all fairness, he's mostly confused by the handwashing aspect.) But if I had known in the beginning what I know now, I would have had more than a few flats from the start.
I had the crazy notion to use cloth on my next baby well before N was even a thought in my husband's mind, but I couldn't get my husband to make the financial commitment to cloth until I was about 8 months pregnant. Every woman interested in using cloth diapers wants to know what that pivotal argument is that sealed the deal for a husband to agree to cloth diapers (assuming the husband is resistant like mine was). This post by Sherry at Young House Love helped my husband's concern over added utility costs (ie. minimal). In reality, what really nailed the lid on the coffin was my husband being laid off. He was given two weeks notice in May of last year, right as many people were gearing up for the first Flats Challenge. The small company he was working for, the job that we had left family for, that we had banked on in buying our first home, was shutting down. And I was 8 months pregnant.

While my husband stressed over his next step and how we could manage to keep up with the mortgage, utilities, and impending medical bills, I pretty much parked myself in the DHS offices. By the time he was officially unemployed, I was all set with Medicaid for myself and my son, and SNAP (aka Food Stamps) for the family. The lesson here should be - don't ever let anyone tell you you can't make it through red tape in a timely manner when properly motivated.

We've kept our situation very private, but the few people we have let in on our situation have been very surprised that with all the assistance we qualified for, none of it included the HUGE cost of diapering a new baby. I am a religious person, and at that time, I knew I had been blessed to have already done a TON of research into cloth diapers. Because I hadn't had such a tight budget when originally deciding on diapers, I was set to get pocket diapers. I had $100 cash I had been gifted before all this, and I put the full sum toward some BumGenius 4.0's as well as a few other cloth diapering accessories. Great diapers, but unfortunately, it wasn't enough to use cloth full time. If I had known more about flats, or even prefolds, I could have used that $100 to get EVERYTHING I needed. I think that is the real reason I'm doing this challenge - to prove to myself and my husband that I really can use "old-fashioned" diapers and hand wash them, but more importantly - to spread awareness to people in situations like the one I found myself in a year ago.

some low-light pictures of N in her first official flat of the challenge... and more than ready for bed

Check out some of the other bloggers involved and add your link if you're participating too: