Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Are you a cloth diaper snob?

Recently I participated in our local Great Cloth Diaper Change, it was held at a local park, right next to a really busy playground in fact.  We had about 27 babies cloth diapers changed, and at least fifty adults in our group.

There were canopies set up selling and showing cloth diapers and other products, I had brightly colored cloth diapers and accessories hanging from clotheslines as a decoration and our group was as friendly as can be.

I had assumed that there would have been more public interest in what we were doing,  and at least some people from the playground, that would have come up to check out the diapers and see what all the commotion was about.

After spending at least three hours there for our event and seeing tons and tons of the general public come and go, I can tell you that only one person came up to look at our event and ask what we were up to.

This makes me wonder, with the diapers all on the clotheslines, all the breastfeeding and babywearing going on that the "public" had to have noticed that it was a cloth diaper or at least somehow "natural" parenting type of gathering.  Did they assume we were snooty or snobby?  That perhaps we think we're better than they are because we cloth diaper?  Did they think we were all cloth diaper snobs?

It's pretty hard to fathom, knowing how passionate and friendly the cloth diapering community is and how much we like to spread the cloth gospel around, that maybe, just maybe, outsiders think we come across as pushy or snobby.

Where I had assumed there'd be tons of curiosity and opportunity to talk about cloth with the disposable diapering crowd at the park, there turned out to be no outsider interest.  Parents kept their distance, were they afraid we would try to convert them?

What do you all think?  When you're out in public changing a cloth diaper or doing anything cloth or natural parenting related do you feel that others can be stand-offish?  Do you think that you're sometimes perceived as a cloth diaper snob among your friends or peers?  I'd love to read your thoughts.

-Julie, The Cloth Diaper Geek

22 comments:

Mama Bennie said...

I honestly have had nice conversations about cloth at a few public changing tables with ladies. I then gave them information of where to go, because they wanted to know more. Some of my friends are kind of stand-offish because they think it is "gross". The ones that are outright rude about it I take with a grain of salt, because they are just showing their own insecurities about their decisions and it shows by the way they are treating me. I am confident about the decision I made, and if people are interested in talking about it I do...if not that is OK too.

Jill said...

my guess is that they just weren't that interested.

Courtney B said...

i definitely haven't found this to be true. maybe in this case it was because it was such a large crowd, people were intimidated?

whenever i change arlo in public, i get people with curious & positive questions. what type of diaper is that? or, wow, i didn't know that cloth diapers were like that now! that is awesome! i mean, not every single person comments, but many do! (i also live in a very "green" area).

Dawn Papple said...

I agree completely. I feel that breastfeeding is the same way too. It doesn't help our cause to put the others down or for intolerant actions. It divides us more. I blogged about it in the URL I linked. Thank you for posting this.

whocg23 said...

They could have also thought that it wasn't completely a public event. It could have been a mom group gathering or something and most outsiders then would not want to barge in or anything like that.

Shannon said...

I get a lot of comments on how cute they are, and what are they. When I tell them, they are all like - wow! That's not what I expected cloth diapers to look like at all-. The only person who has been at all negative about it has been my sister when I first said that I was going to cloth diaper-she said-that's repulsive!!! All I could say back was, well, don't worry, I won't ask you to watch her :)

Tiffany Hatch said...

The natural parenting community is a WHOLE 'nother world. It's intimidating. Take it from a mom pregnant with baby #3 trying to navigate through all of it. It's scary and some "natural" momma's are really really pushy. What I am doing is for my family and the Earth so I am happy that I have pushed through some of the walls. :)

Ann said...

I've found more people who are interested, but don't really know anything about it than anything else. Mostly people are just surprised. We use pockets, and the overwhelming response I get is "I didn't realize they made cloth diapers so nice!" Everyone I know is used to cloth diapers meaning flats, pins, and bulky plastic covers!

The Pavlik Family said...

Sadly in my area there are those that are cloth diaper snobs ( as in "I think I am a better parent than a 'sposie wearing/formula feeding/stroller pushing mom") but there are also the flip side as well( as in the I think I am better than the hippie cloth wearing/boob flingin'/ ancient fabric wrapped mom"). I have seen the separation first hand at playgrounds, in play groups, in stores ( I used to work at BRU- where it was frowned upon by management when I shared with customers that I cloth diapered my daughter) and even within my own (in-law) family. My one set of in laws were totally opposed to the idea of hubby and I using "ancient methods" of diapering and feeding our child but we told them, "Our lives, our choices," and left it at that. I, myself, have tried to not judge other parents for their personal parenting technique choices. BUT, I am the first to admit that I cringe and have to bite down on my tongue HARD to keep from saying something to the parents that have the infant seat propped up on top of the shopping cart, or the infant seat turned around facing front in the car or stroller, or the toddler precariously propped ontop of the canopy ( or in the bottom basket) of their single stroller.
I think that too often people form an opinion about things they don't know or understand because they fear being judged for their choices and it really is sad that they miss out.

Rachel said...

My guess is that the "outsiders" might have thought it was a private party, and didn't want to appear to intrude.

Maybe attendees weren't making eye contact with other people so they "outsiders" didn't feel safe coming over? Sometimes it just takes a smile and a wave and people open riiiight up.

I don't think it has anything to do with being a snob. I actually see more cloth diaper snobs WITHIN the cloth diapering community than not. (too much time on forums has taught me that!)

Natural Momma said...

I am extremely chatty to ANY KIND of human being. I have talked ghetto chicks into wanting to cloth diaper, younger women (between 18-21) who coo over my baby when I am in a public bathroom, changing my baby, to decide when they have kids they will use cloth- to meeting a random soon-to-be Grandma walking up & down the baby isles in the store and showing her our Fluff & how modern cloth diapers work, to where she decides she is buying a stash for her daughter to use on the new baby!

I think its so important for people to see us as PEOPLE. I am NOT a tree hugger- I look like a normal mid 20's mom... I vaccinate- I don't do all Organic foods... but I am still pretty crunchy, just wrapped modernly! I wear makeup, wear synthetic fabrics.... I fit right in the middle of the common public and the Crunchy Snobs.... I actually have felt MORE uncomfortable around Crunchy Snobs than the sposie using, formula moms...

We all just gotta remember to be outgoing and ready to share! If they aren't cloth diapering they probably have NO idea how EASY it is!

mojoraven said...

I think part of the problem is that people in general, at least the vocal ones, seem to have forgotten how to be polite. It happens on both sides. So normal parents get intimidated and feel judged by any decision that doesn't mirror their own. Even if it isn't meant that way by most people.

I probably wouldn't have gone up to a large group of people like that. I would have figured it was a private event, especially if they seemed to be a different "type" of parenting group than I would fit in with.

Kiyomi said...

I usually have decent comments from others as about my choice to cloth diaper. Some think it is gross and that it is just too much work. Sadly, though, I have met other cloth diapering moms that were very forceful on the choice. I didn't start cloth on my daughter until she was 4 months old because she was too small for the diapers I had and we didn't have the money to buy more diapers and I got negative comments from moms that did cloth diaper from birth. Also, I am mostly a prefold user (they are the ones that I can afford, so that is what I use) and several other CDing moms have told me that I need to get certain name brands because they are so much better, etc. I also practice ECing and get lots of crazy comments about that, but I save more money doing it because I don't have to have as many CDs. I do what I feel is best for my kids and within my means.

Lil n Mama said...

I don't think perceived snobbery has anything to do with it necessarily. Sometimes when you think what you're doing is alternative, it's actually pretty well accepted by the mainstream. I don't think we always have to be activists about our natural parenting decisions. I am part of a very diverse group of parents, and we all raise our children differently. I've never felt I've been judged for choosing cloth diapers, baby wearing, co-sleeping, or anything else. Conversely, I don't judge people who choose to parent their children differently from me.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about all the snobbyness, I think most parents are strong in their convictions so all parents are kinda snobby BUT looking at the pictures they may have thought it was a baby shower and didn't want to intrude. I didn't see any signage. Just a thought...

Melinda said...

@Natural Momma: I have to tell you that the "ghetto chicks" reference makes me cringe a little. Just sayin'

I work in a cloth diaper store and I work really hard to NOT come off as preachy and judge-y. There are so many choices when it comes to parenthood that it does not help anyone if you are sanctimonious about your beliefs. In fact, it usually drives people away and makes them never want to consider cloth diapering, breastfeeding, baby wearing etc.

My guess is that people thought it was a private event. Maybe next time an information table would draw people in and make them feel welcome.

Rebecca said...

I love this question. I am a newer cloth diapering mommy and only able to do this with my baby because of a very generous cloth diaper maker. Aside from a serious explosion from my little girl yesterday, I love cloth diapering her. I have to say though, before being a stay at home mom with time enough to spend on FB and running across someone who cloth diapers 3 girls, I thought it was completely weird and gross and swore it off of my things to do list. When I am out I search for other cloth diapering moms to no avail, and have had two people notice her cloth diaper and were interested in conversation... thats been about it. About the tents being up, I am nosey and would have probably strolled by to see what was going on. :) Love all the comments!

Rosalee said...

I think that we as women and mothers need to stop being so judgmental of others. I for one am guilty of this but I am trying to be better. We need to remember that we don't know the whole story for why people choose what they choose. One choice is not necessarily better than the other choice. And if a mother honestly feels like she is doing what is best for her child then we need to be supportive of her (unless what she is doing is harming her child).
Every mother needs a good support system and when we pass judgment on each other we tear down that support system. It is time to stop.

Lindsey said...

I cloth diaper and do not think I am better then those who use disposables. Though i have run into some people that cloth diaper and seem to think they are superior for doing so.

Milk Bubbles said...

There were at least 3 private parties going on around the playground at the same time, I kind of chalked it up to everyone respecting everyone elses space. If we were to do it again at the same or a similar venue I think a banner with the name and something like "public welcome" on it somewhere would make a huge difference!

Nicole said...

As for your particular event, from the one picture posted, to me it kind of looks like a private event, a baby shower even. Maybe people didn't know they could approach. Just my guess. As for the "snob factor" in general: I haven't found it to be the case because I generally surround myself with supportive, like-minded people. If a someone were to take issue with the way I cloth-diaper, extended breast-feed, co-sleep, water-birth, delay vax and baby wear, then they probably aren't that close of a friend. And if it's just a acquaintance, I don't mind sharing my views, but I also recognize that they're just that: MY views (well, mine and my family's) and to each their own. If someone doesn't see the value in cloth-diapering for the environment, the cute factor, and the savings, oh well. I know I am thrilled about it and that's all that matters.

kdactyl said...

I just think that people may have thought it was a private gathering. Many times at the big group picnic areas at parks...there are large gatherings, but they are by invitation only. I would never have approached anyone at something like that unless it was truely set up to be like an open air market. But...on that note...most people who know I CD think I am crazy and really have no interest in learning about it. I really think something personal needs to happen to make it an option for them (for me...it was too many rashes on my son). I also think people ARE afraid of us. They think we are all super extreme. For example...I am lucky that my daycare with CD for me. My daughter had a rough day and went through her normal stash and they put a sposie on her and were soooo apologetic and seemed afraid that I woudl be mad. I had to explain that I am not anti-sposie...just pro-cloth. I'm not going to pass judgement on sposie users and will occasionally use one myself. So...I just think the perception is that we are kind of clique-like....make sense?

 
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