How My Underwear Happened Upon the Starbucks Floor

About a year ago, I was a sleep-deprived zombie. I considered it good night if my four-month-old gave me at least three hours of uninterrupted sleep. My husband used to joke that our son’s favorite hymn was “I Need Thee Every Hour”. Most nights, that was astonishingly accurate.

One Saturday morning, I found myself awake bright and early even though my son was (miraculously) still sleeping. And what’s the number one mantra of new mommies? Say it with me: SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS!

But try as I may, I just couldn’t make myself fall back asleep even though it had been another difficult night and I felt exhausted. Screw this, I thought. I’m going to treat myself to Starbucks.


I set the baby monitor on my husband’s nightstand, found a pair of crumpled up jeans in the closet, pulled them on, and hopped in the car. When I got to Starbucks, I realized that since I didn’t have an infant with me, I didn’t have to go through the drive-through – I could actually walk inside! FOR SOME INEXPLICABLE REASON THIS MADE ME GIDDY!

(As a side note, what’s up with all the people who have two functioning legs, no small children or animals in the car, and yet refuse to park and walk into a place? Now that I’m a mom, such people irritate the heck out of me.)

So I ordered my iced chai at the counter inside, paid, and took three or four steps to the side to stand and wait. That’s when I heard a man say, “Ma’am? Is that yours?”

I smile and look to where he’s pointing on the floor.

It’s my underwear. Purple underwear.

My mind races. What the hell?! How did those get there? 

Oh. They must have been hiding at the bottom of the leg of the jeans I was wearing, which I had also worn the day before. And probably the day before that, too.

I didn’t even acknowledge him; I just grabbed them and ran to the ladies’ room. Since I wasn’t carrying a purse, I tried stuffing them in my pocket, but it looked rather obvious. I threw them away, rushed out, avoided eye contact with the man, swooped up my drink from the barista, and drove home totally mortified.

And what comforting, encouraging words did my darling husband have for me when I told him about the most embarrassing thing that had happened to me since middle school?

“I can’t believe you threw away a perfectly good pair of underwear!”


By the way, did you know that cloth diapers have a lot in common with Starbucks? Just for fun I’m giving away $15 Starbucks cards to two lucky readers. I know it’s not much, but sometimes Mommy needs a little treat so that’s what this is. Bring on the entries!

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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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