What Do Cloth Diapers and Starbucks Have in Common?

Have you ever noticed that cloth diapers seem to have some kind of magical powers that make regular moms a little bit… well… crazy? There are plenty of logical reasons why cloth diapers are a better choice than disposables. But why have cloth diapers developed such a cult following? When you think about it, cloth diapers have three things in common with Starbucks.


Just like caffeine causes an addiction to coffee, I have a theory that cloth diapers are laced with an unknown substance that creates an addict-like response in those who use them. Cloth diapering mamas openly talk about their addiction and how they convert and enable their friends. “Fluffy mail” is a mid-day pick-me-up that seems just as powerful as that first cup of coffee in the morning.


The “Affordable Luxury” Justification

It is widely noted that one of the reasons for Starbucks’ success is that it brought an “affordable luxury” to the masses. Many people seem to think that carrying around that cup with the green logo on it is an expression of social status. They may not be able to afford a country club membership or a shiny new car, but dropping $5 on a beverage makes them feel better about themselves in a small way.

Starbucks Addiction

Cloth diapers are kind of the same. Although many of us (myself included) started using them as a means to save money, we use our savings as a justification for buying more of them. We feel proud that our babies’ bottoms look so much cuter than the bottoms of those babies in disposables. We actually find reasons to dress our babies so that their diapers are showing. (Oh come on, admit it. You’ve done it too!)

Insiders’ Lingo

In college, I worked at a small coffee shop called Gloria Jean’s where we used normal terms like small, medium, and large to describe the sizes of our drinks. When Starbucks came to town, I was irritated that they had the audacity to make up their own names for drink sizes. And it goes beyond the sizes. People seem to enjoy spouting off long, fancy, customized drink orders to the barista. Ordering a small cup of coffee just sounds too ordinary, I suppose. Instead, we have to have an iced double tall nonfat sugarfree 180 vanilla latte or a venti iced skim caramel macchiato.

Joe Fox

As the character Joe Fox says in You’ve Got Mail: “The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, et cetera. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.”

Isn’t it kind of the same with cloth diapers today? Crunchy Nana says that when she was cloth diapering my sisters and me in the 70s and 80s, she would color-coordinate the diaper pins to our outfits. Today, cloth diapering mamas have a dizzying array of colors, prints, systems, features, and materials from which to choose. Much like Starbucks, cloth diapers can certainly give you that defining sense of self.

Now go out there and find that perfect organic one-size side-snapping AIO.

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  1. I laughed so hard! I had to send this to my mom she is as addicted as I am!

  2. Kyrsten Sherwood says:

    I LOVED this post–especially as a Starbucks-addicted-Seattlite. Totally nailed it! I’ve also become as addicted to your blog as I have been to buying new Grovia diapers, haha. You have a great voice and I can’t wait for more!

  3. New to your blog. <3 this post. Sooooo funny.

  4. I read this on line at Starbucks! So true, great post!

  5. This is so true! And really makes me want to watch You’ve Got Mail now!