Parenting faux pas: The hand crank Wonder Washer


We all have moments in life where we look back and think what was I thinking? As I prepare for motherhood again, this time with a new birth plan, a new partner, a new perspective, and a preschooler in tow, I am reminded of the mother that I was the first go around.

When I was pregnant with R, I thought I would be a pretty good mom. I had tons of experience with children, was a nanny for most of my twenties, and had a good idea of how I wanted to raise my kid.

And once R was born, despite the many obvious obstacles in the way and the gentle nudges from my mom to try and make life easier, my stubbornness in me kicked in and I just HAD to stick to the plan.

There was one particular thing I was determined to stick with and that was cloth diapering.

Maybe it was the pretty cute patterns of diapers, maybe it was my romanticized notion of being all natural, maybe it was some pride part in me that I was saving a tree or helping the environment, who really knows. But I made the decision and stuck with it. For a year.

Baby R barely wore a disposable diaper in that first year. Amongst my friends with babies, most of them happily cloth diapered, and so I thought why not me too? Except,

I didn’t have a washing machine. Or a dryer.

And my sweet mom, tried to convince me to just get a diaper service

mom: “they do it all for you, pick up the dirty diapers and return you with new ones!!” she sweetly pleaded.

me: “Nope!, I said we are buying something called the Wonder Washer, its a hand-cranked washing machine”

and knowing better to than to argue with me when I’ve made up my mind, my mother silently sighed and offered to buy a pack of cloth diapers.

O, if I could just hug my old self back then and say, “it doesn’t need to be like this, life doesn’t have to be so hard!” I would have.

But I wouldn’t have listened.

So for a YEAR! I filled my little wonder washer with soap and water, HAND CRANKED the wonder washer, drained the Wonder Washer, rinsed the diapers with fresh water then HAND CRANKED the Wonder Washer and then squeezed them dry to hang on the line. All really so I could prove my mother wrong. :)

After awhile of doing this I convinced my former husband that we MUST purchase a wet dryer (similar to what you see at the gym to wring your swimming suit dry)

“It will save us so much time!”

And it did save us time, but compared to what?

I don’t say any of this without embarrassment, I’ve had many good ideas in my life and this one I’ll admit was not one of them.

Parenthood was hard for me as I think it is for most people, but I really did make it harder on myself. But as painfully embarrassing all the mistakes I made in the past are to reflect on, I really don’t think I could have done it any differently at the time.

As I prepare for my next little love bundle to arrive, I can lovingly look back on my former self and laugh at ALL the ways I was “crazy”, and “neurotic”, and also see how those experiences have prepared me to be a more relaxed, calm, open and loving parent (to myself) the next go around. Already I feel so much calmer in bringing in this new little life.

O yeah, and no cloth diapering this time.