All moms deserve to be treated with respect.
February 17, 2010 7:25 pm
All moms deserve to be treated with respect. I’ll say it again, maybe a little louder this time. All moms deserve to be treated with respect.
We all know that there are really bad moms out there. I’m not writing about those moms.
I’m writing about the moms we are all friends with – the ones who really, truly, want to do a good job taking care of their baby. I’m writing about you. You deserve to know that you are a good mom.
Over the last seven years, I’ve found myself in an interesting position with the parents who shop in my store (Cotton Babies). We opened our store seven years ago as fresh parents with very, dare I say, arrogant opinions about parenting. I’d actually said, and I’m blushing as I type this:
“My child will never be allowed to behave like that child.”
“My child will never be that dirty”.
“What kind of a mom allows _______?”
“My child will never know what a pacifier is.”
“My child will never get a bottle. What kind of mom doesn’t breastfeed?”
“Look at the ugly disposable diaper on that baby.”
We are seven years into parenting now and, we couldn’t have been more wrong. My child has behaved like “that child”. My child has been “that dirty”. I have been the mom that allowed _____. I begged my babies to take pacifiers. My oldest and my youngest both had bottles at some point during their first year because of issues with breastfeeding, particularly during their first weeks of life. And, gasp, yes, I’ve occasionally had to use disposable diapers on my babies.
The first day that I realized that I had hurt someone with my words was when a close friend of mine broke down in tears after trying for weeks to breastfeed her baby and finally having to give up because her baby was loosing weight and getting dehydrated. She simply didn’t produce enough milk to breastfeed exclusively. I was heartbroken. She was my friend. I knew her. I knew how important breastfeeding was to her. She was doing everything “right”. She wasn’t a failure as a mom. But the lactivist mentality that I’d adopted was making her feel like a bad mom.
Then one day, a customer was in my store with a fussy, young baby and, assuming that every mom who shops for cloth diapers would also share my passion for breastfeeding, I asked her if she would like a place to sit and nurse her baby. She broke down in tears. She couldn’t nurse her baby and my offer of a place to sit and “nurse” her baby was more than she could take right then. By this point, I’d tempered my views somewhat… but her response was formative in how I now train my staff. We now ask moms if they would like a place to sit and FEED their baby.
I learned similar lessons around diapering, food, childcare, working out of the home, home schooling…. you name it, I’ve had my opinions gently (almost always kindly) thrown back in my face by a friend I’d unintentionally hurt with my judgmental attitude. I’m so glad that we get second chances with our friends and that God has given me an opportunity to learn these lessons with people who loved me enough to give me a chance to grow up a little bit.
Today, those hard-learned lessons are applied to the way we approach product development, customer service or any other issue with our business.
We look first to build bridges with people, not walls over differences.
Allow me to explain….
When we created bumGenius, we wanted to create a diaper that family members who might be resistant to the idea of cloth diapering (like dads or grandparents) would actually use. bumGenius has hook & loop closures – a simple thing, but a familiar thing to a parent who already knows how to use a disposable diaper. bumGenius has stretchy tabs. Again, a simple, familiar feature. bumGenius is one-size, has a great warranty, fantastic customer service and makes economical sense. Sold. bumGenius has become a literal juggernaut in the cloth diapering industry. We have a tough time keeping track of just exactly where it is mentioned online now simply because there are SO MANY online mentions of the brand every single day.
When we created the Flip Diapering System, we wanted to create a flexible diapering system that was a little less expensive than bumGenius while providing options to a parent willing to tolerate a two-piece system. Stay dry, organic & disposable inserts became part of that system to properly address the needs of the different types of families we work with. Some really want the stay-dry fabric. Others strongly prefer organics. And really, most (not all) people use disposable diapers at some point with their baby. The disposable inserts take care of those times in life when you really just need a throwaway option.
When we created the Econobum System, the goal was to take care of families who really can’t afford diapers period. Buying bumGenius would be nice – but it really just isn’t going to happen because, frankly, they just need to be able to feed their family. I remember all too well the days of having to choose between diapers and groceries. It’s a hard place to be and it just didn’t seem fair that there wasn’t a good, solid, one-size option for that family. Econobum is for you, momma.
Our goal as a company is to make it easy for more people to use cloth diapers. With bumGenius, Flip and Econobum, we’ve given more parents options, increasing the accessibility to cloth diapers by recognizing families in different places in life. Some people can cloth diaper 100% of the time, but not everyone. Some people can afford organic diapers, but not everyone. Some people can afford cloth diapers, but…. not everyone. People are different. Different people need options.
A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by Mothering Magazine for an article that will publish soon about cloth diapers. The interviewer was curious about why we did a disposable insert for our products. She also wanted suggestions about how to best word her article to avoid offending parents who cannot use cloth diapers for one reason or another. She was also interested in knowing why we have so many users in our diapering systems who are new to cloth diapers (and switching over from disposables).
My answer to her…. and to you…. is that we believe in building bridges, not walls. We believe that every family, every parent, every baby is different. We believe that you (and all your lovely differences) deserve to be treated with respect. Therefore, our products assume nothing about you…. and in the process of providing more families with what they need, we have made the cloth diapering world a bigger, better place for more, different people. I like it that way. I hope you do too.
Happy almost earth day.
Cotton Babies, Owner
Creator of Flip, bumGenius and Econobum
P.S. Hey dads, most of my readers are women, but I know that there are lots of dads out there too… feel free to swap out “dad” for “mom” wherever appropriate. We love you too.