When letting go of ideals means a fresh start
This is a hard story to tell. Chances are, you’ll read it and raise an eyebrow, wondering where the hard part of this story is, because to you, it seems a little silly.
And in the grand scheme of the universe and life, I know it is, really. But for me, for now, I’ve had a hard time making peace with the way this story ends.
To take you back the beginning, we would have to time travel back eight years ago where you would find me in a modest little apartment in Texas, happily mothering my beautiful one year old daughter, and absolutely giddy about my new discovery: cloth diapering.
What began as a simple, thrifty solution to an economic challenge quickly grew into something of a hobby, and in my enthusiasm, I wrote online about my zeal for cloth diapers. I knew every system of diapering, I moderated cloth diapering message boards, I stalked the shops of WAHM-made specialty diapers that would sell out seconds after they stocked. I knew the first names of some of the more prominent diapering business owners of that era because we emailed each other. I was all in.
My passion for my precious hobby waned only slightly when I was pregnant with my second daughter, but once she arrived, I was over the moon to get to experience cloth diapering from the start. Eventually, the day came when both girls had grown out of the diapering stage, and so I tucked most of our cloth diapering stash away for a wistful someday.
And then, someday roared into our lives when our just one more arrived with an identical brother. Even though more than a few people looked at me like I was out of my mind, I was determined that the twins would be cloth diapered, too.
I built a nice-sized stash of squishy soft diapers for them and washed and stacked them neatly in the nursery. It wasn’t really a question for me. That’s what I did. That’s who I was.
But then we brought home a big dose of shell-shock with those two sweet bundles, and a few months later, people gently pointed out that what I thought was just difficulty in adjusting to life with twins was actually postpartum depression. And when I had just barely, barely begun to get a handle on that, my beloved father in law passed away unexpectedly.
And then it was all I could do just to keep all of us bigger people in clean underwear.
I found myself lugging home big bags of disposable diapers from the warehouse club, ashamed and defeated. The cloth diapers stayed tucked in their drawers while I figured out how to put systems in place to run a home housing six people with a modicum of sanity. Eventually, I no longer cringed when I threw each dirtied disposable diaper in the trash. Eventually, it became normal.
The twins turned one, and I began the process of moving things around, changing their nursery to a toddler-friendly room. I loaded the cloth diaper stash into a laundry basket, and I must have scooted that basket around the room twenty times, unsure of what to do.
Then one day, I knew: it was time to sell those cloth diapers. It was time to wave a white flag in The Battle of My High Ideals, surrendering to reality. It was time for a fresh start.
And that’s how we got here, to the way this story ends. Sometimes a fresh start means sitting down with yourself and saying, “That’s what I did. That’s who I was. But that doesn’t fit what I do now, who I am now, and it’s time to let go.”
So you pack up the old with fondness and care, and you tenderly and tearfully send it off to where it will be used and loved, and only then do you realize how much that old stash had been weighing you down.
Chin up, shake it off, breathe deep. A fresh start feels good.
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