Wednesday, October 1, 2014

wheels within wheels

Yesterday I bought Scott a big box of Huggies. It cost $23.99 for 80. They are really, really good. We had been talking about getting disposables for night time because the bigger he gets, the more pee he makes, and the more he soaks the bed. We've tried every combination of cloth diapers and intensely absorbent hemp inserts, but he always prevails. He has been sleeping on a towel so that we don't have to wash the sheets and mattress cover every dang day, but I hate that because it gets all bunched up. Thinking about buying disposable diapers made me very sad, because I know that they just end up in a landfill and will never, ever decompose, not in a million years. So I put it off, and then the other day when we went apple picking, I left him in his diaper for too long, and when we got home, he had a nasty rash. All the cloth diaper configurations rub him in exactly the same place, and there was no way to make him comfortable (except just letting him go sans diaper, which I did for as long as possible.) So my sadness about hurting my baby defeated my sadness about hurting the planet and future people and animals and I bought the Huggies. And now for the next 79 nights I won't wake up in a puddle of urine. That's nice.

Women who take care of the home, especially when children are in it, are constantly dealing with the immanent, material world-- the world of chopping vegetables, doing dishes, folding laundry, making the bed again, cleaning up pee and poop and vomit and snot, giving haircuts and baths, fixing broken stuff, buying all the things that you need to perform these actions, etc, and repeating all these things often. There are so many little decisions to make and actions to take all day long, and in all of them one is trying to make the best use of material resources that she possibly can. For some, that just means doing the cheapest thing. Others add "the quickest thing." Many add "the healthiest thing," and increasingly, people are adding "the thing that least screws over the environment." I try to hit all four of these criteria and it is rather emotionally draining. Having very high ideals about eco-friendliness and health makes it awfully difficult when the money and the time are both so short. Here is a diagram to illustrate what I mean. This is just about food (which is the biggest one because I have to make choices about it like, every hour.)

Not pictured: Lenten food (don't even get me started) or tasty food, because given my preferences, I believe that it's a subset of healthy food.

There are flaws with this diagram-- when you have four or more circles, not everybody can sit next to each other, so there are some scenarios which will not fit on the diagram at all (like something that is healthy and affordable, but not eco-friendly or easy/quick, such as many meals cooked from scratch using grocery store ingredients in lots of plastic.) And obviously I had to reach for something ridiculous to illustrate food that is healthy, but not eco-friendly, easy/quick, or affordable. But it serves to illustrate my thought process with every dang grocery store purchase or recipe selection, and now you can see where most of my anxiety comes from. I think it was easier for moms when all they had to worry about was affordable and easy, because they didn't really question whether the food in the grocery store was healthy or not, and nobody cared about the pelicans. But my god, the future of the human race depends on whether or not I am too selfish to make my own glue from flour and water and Death rattles a little closer to our door with every box of sugary granola that I just keep buying these days.

I went to church today with Scott for the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, which is the patronal feast of the church we've just started visiting. I found it so peaceful and refreshing to cease my calculations and take a break from the game of hopscotch I've been playing between these circles. Peace and joy are floating somewhere above them, and I keep thinking I'll reach them if I can just build my house in that middle section, but more likely I just need to walk away.


  1. We have always used disposable diapers at night. I couldn't stand the leaks. (And btw, if you plan to continue using them, I've found Target brand diapers to be the best value for the money, but since you've moved I'm not sure that will be the case for you).

    Honestly sometimes you can't think too deeply about the practical choices to be made. When you're doing the best you can with what you have, well... that's all anyone can ask.

  2. I am right there with you doing the hopscotch in just about every area! God is our only hope in this crazy messy time and world we're living in. I always have to come back to that. Thank you for articulating my brain for me. :) (btw I have always used disposables at night too...)