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Monday, August 25, 2014

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Supporting One Another: A Thank You

I'm nothing if not an organized planner. I spent at least twenty hours researching cloth diapers on the Internet before I even bought one. I spent the first months of my son's life, stalking the DiaperShops Facebook page (the precursor to the Cloth Diaper Support Group) while nursing through the night. I read every question and every comment. I learned the lingo, I learned how to handle toddler poo though my first was only weeks old; I learned to troubleshoot laundry problems I wasn't having. I was ready for anything. I could answer what to do if you experienced repelling; I knew the advantages and disadvantages of AIOs, fitteds, pockets, and flats without even trying them. I was smug in my knowledge that through all my research I chose the best option and since I had no problems, I would have none. Cloth diapering was easy. After all, I didn't have leaks or stinks. Until, of course, I did. We moved to South Texas and I got an HE washer and the rest is a stinky melodrama of failed wash routines and frustrated Cloth Diaper Support Group posts.

Post after post, I became repetitive and increasingly exasperated. It's the post we've seen time and time again; the posts that always get answered even if the answer is often the same one over and over again. And that, my friends, is the point. Even if you have done all of that research before, when faced with a pile of dirty diapers while you are sleep deprived because you have a newborn and a toddler, you don't remember what you learned years ago when it didn't really apply to you. So you ask. And ask. And ask. And who answers? Calley, Jenny and other mamas who maybe got one more hour of sleep than you did or who maybe aren't currently having any laundry conundrums. And so they answer over and over and over again. They answer your question even if it was asked the day before. They answer with the patience of.....well, a mother. They kindly share advice promptly because they know you don't have time to wait around. . . you have to get the laundry done NOW.

How should you thank such prompt, kind, patient and helpful advice? The first step is simple: thank those who respond. The second step is easy: When you know the answer to someone else's question (because you recently asked it or you've dealt with the same situation), answer kindly. Suggest what worked for you remembering all the while that everyone has different water and different machines and different budgets and different preferences. If you don't know the answer, but you know someone who does, tag the other person who can answer rather than answering with inadequate information. The third step is even easier: Be kind. Don't start or perpetuate drama. You are not going to change someone else's mind via Facebook post; in fact, unless they are asking for opinions, keep yours to yourself. Answer or don't answer the question presented. Calley and crew have families that provide them with enough drama -- they don't need yours.The Support group is for, well, SUPPORT. . . it is, after all, in the name.

Bio: Emily Robbins currently lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband and two sons: Harper (2 years) and Caedmon (3 months). She has been cloth diapering since Harper fit into OS at about four weeks old. She is taking a year off from being an English teacher to hang out with her fluffy bottomed boys.

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