Kudos to My Washing Machine

So it’s the last day of the DDL Flats & Handwashing Challenge and I never did get my act together. I let my makeshift flat diapers pile up for a few days, and then I decided to let them soak for an inappropriately long period of time. On Friday, my washing machine began whispering sweet nothings to me, telling me how easy my life would be if I’d just let it do all the diaper laundry work. And I gave in!

Although I really didn’t do what I was supposed to do for this week-long challenge, I don’t consider it a total failure because I did learn a valuable lesson.

We have it so good these days!

Earlier last week I was pulling into my driveway after an errand, and when I hit the garage door opener button, nothing happened. I got a little irritated because I had to sit in the driveway for an extra ten seconds while I pushed the button again and waited for the door to lift. And then as quickly as I had allowed myself to feel annoyed, I sheepishly realized what a stupid first world problem that was.

I’m surrounded by appliances, gadgets, and devices that do my bidding at the click of a button. Among many other modern conveniences, I have a garage door opener, a dishwasher, an iPhone, a robotic vacuum, a washing machine, and a dryer. Seriously, what do I have to complain about it?

It reminded me of Louis C K’s awesome bit “Everything Is Amazing and Nobody Is Happy.”

Just a couple of generations ago, washing cloth diapers by hand was simply what moms did because there wasn’t any other choice. I couldn’t even manage to make myself do it for one week! The next time someone acts like I’m some sort of supermom when they find out that I use cloth diapers on my son, I’m going to gently remind them that my washing machine is the real hero.


Handwashing: Could Be Worse

Whenever something’s not quite going my way, I try to make myself feel better by saying, “At least it’s not… [fill in blank with more dire scenario].”

Am I truly an optimist or do I just play mind games? I’m not sure.

could be worse

Here are the ways that the flats and handwashing challenge could be worse for me:

  1. There could be monetary penalties for cheating.
  2. There could be a “boil your own hot water” requirement.
  3. There could be a “haul your own water from the lake” requirement.
  4. There could be a “make your own soap from lye” requirement. (If that were the case, I’d have to call Crunchy Nana for help. She actually does make her own soap from lye.)

So yes, I’m admitting that I’ve failed at this challenge. I used flats for the first two days which was a little bit fun and different, in spite of the sh*t hitting the floor and all. I knew that the handwashing would be easier if I didn’t let it stack up, but did that stop me from waiting until Wednesday to attempt handwashing? Nope! Procrastination has always been a talent of mine.


But wait, it gets better. Once I started rinsing the diapers by hand on Wednesday I told myself, “Hmm. These should really soak for a bit.”

Those diapers have now been “soaking” in the (totally wonderful) Potty Pail for two days and I’m promising myself I’ll attempt the handwashing during my son’s nap time today so that I can end this week with at least something to show for it.

I’m going to need a little encouragement, y’all.


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Flats & Handwashing Challenge (aka “MacGyver diaper week”)

This week is the 3rd annual Dirty Diaper Laundry Flats & Handwashing Challenge. Yesterday morning I mentioned to my husband, “Umm… so…. I’m doing some weird things with diapers this week. Just humor me.”

He’s heard those words before.

We just got back from a few days out of town, so I hadn’t really thought about what I needed to do to get ready for flats & handwashing week. Plus, to be totally honest, I’m not expecting to like flat diapers very much, so I didn’t want to spend any money out-of-pocket on this endeavor.

My “supplies” are just a ragtag (literally) bunch of stuff I had around the house:

  • A couple of floursack towels
  • Some old, worn hand towels that were in the pile of cleaning rags
  • 10 Gerber flats (which I purchased them a few weeks ago when I bought those awful Gerber prefolds)
  • A few covers
  • Pins and Snappis


So far, it’s been a comedy of errors and I haven’t even gotten to the handwashing part yet. Yesterday I diapered my poor child in the hand towel pictured above. I was beaming with pride at my ingeniuity and the fact that the little horizontal stripe across the bottom was actually really cute.

I let him run around the house coverless while I tried to get a picture, which is fairly impossible at this age, but here’s my best attempt. Looks kind of vintage and shabby chic, right? It’s upcycling in the Pinterest world.

Towel Diaper Collage

So anyway, he’s running around in this upcycled, vintage-looking, shabby chic diaper and I’m feeling like the best mom ever and the queen of the flat diaper challenge. When all of a sudden, my nose catches a whiff of a less-than-pleasant smell and a little… ahem… surprise rolls out of the leg of the diaper and lands on the floor in front of me. You know the phrase “the sh*t hits the fan”? I’m re-writing it. It’s “sh*t hits the floor”, folks.

Apparently I have much to learn about getting flat diapers nice and snug around the legs. Bring on your best advice! I’m definitely going to need it.

From Hybrid Diapers to Handwashing

I just arrived home this evening from a five-day trip to Texas to visit family and attend a wedding. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I didn’t use cloth diapers on our trip. It wasn’t feasible for a number of reasons, and even though I’m a huge cloth diaper advocate, I’m also practical and see no need to feel guilty for using disposables on occasion as a convenience.


Cloth diapers have unleashed a little bit of diaper snobbishness in me. Ok, a lot. While I felt no guilt about using disposables for a few days from a cost or environmental perspective, I had serious qualms about the ugliness factor. In my mind, mainstream disposable diapers look like wrap-around maxi pads. I’m spoiled by the vibrant colors and adorable prints of cloth diapers.

Enter hybrid diapers. You may have read about them on my Cloth Diaper Systems page, but in case not, allow me to bring you up to speed. Hybrid diapers are a specific type of all-in-two (AI2) diaper that can accomodate either cloth or disposable inserts. This is a brilliant beyond brilliant idea, because you can take advantage of the convenience of disposables while maintaining the illusion of cloth. I present to you the perfect solution for using disposables incognito!

For our trip, we brought along a mix of gDiapers disposable inserts (which lay inside the sized gPant) and GroVia biosoakers (which stick to the GroVia One-Size Hybrid Shell). Both types of inserts are biodegradable, and we never had any troubles with leaks. I was one happy mama!

gDiapers and GroVia hybrids

Now, the irony.

Tomorrow is the start of the Dirty Diaper Laundry Flats & Handwashing Challenge, and I’m participating. What was I thinking??? I need to catch up on laundry from our trip, go grocery shopping, plan meals, catch up on work, and just catch up on things in general. And on top of that, I’ll be making MacGyver diapers out of t-shirts and washing them by hand.

Stay tuned to find out how this goes…

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