Ah, the good old days...seems every generation has an amazing story to tell about how their own personal ingenuity and perseverance helped make life a bit more pleasant, even in times of adversity. We may roll our eyes when our elders play the "I used to walk in a blizzard, up a hill, both ways to school" card, though lately the old days of hardship are probably more defined by memories of using (gasp!) dial-up Internet and rotary phones.
When it came to diapering children, however, crafty moms used their know-how to get through tough times. A friend pointed out this interesting article about a grandmother reminiscing of how she handled a post-WWII diaper shortage by improvising with blankets she cut to fit. The heart of the story involves how this now 80-something woman and others of her generation wish to reach out to younger mothers and encourage the use of cloth, going so far as to make diapers to give to charities that assist low-income families.
A noble gesture, indeed, but if you read the comments section of the post the debate gets rather heated. For one, the article begins with the words "lazy and entitled" to describe mothers who use disposables. Not exactly the way to attract converts - we certainly wouldn't use such labels. As cloth diaper advocates, our goal is to inform and assist parents who want to learn more. The comments in the aforementioned article volley the pros and cons of cloth, particularly for low-income households. Are they equipped to handle the laundering if they have no washer? If mothers are using food stamps to buy disposables, and the donation of cloth diapers frees up that expense for other necessities, will she gain only to lose somewhere else?
The article intimated that some shelters and charities are reluctant to take cloth diaper donations for various reasons, but if you had the opportunity to give somebody in need a package of cloth diapers with guidance on using and washing them, would you help? Cloth diapers shouldn't be viewed as a luxury - after all, before disposables came along, everybody used them! If what is known as the "Greatest Generation" could improvise in times of need, can we as eco-minded people become the next great generation by helping others?