Cloth Diapering

IMG_3792.JPGSo my family cloth diapers.  Though it may appear granola, we actually do it to save money.  While many will argue that cloth diapering saves our environment, in practice it doesn’t according to this Stanford article.  And this is what I have argued with many people about, which is weird since we cloth diaper.  Basically, the water and energy used to produce and wash cloth diapers is basically equal to their disposable counterparts.  So if you really want to save the environment, you should look into compostable diapers (which are way more expensive than disposables).

Anyhoo, we cloth diaper to save money.  How you may ask?  So here’s the breakdown of how we are saving money.

Cloth Diapering
Cloth diapers
– 3 packs of 6 x $11.99 = $35.97
Diaper Covers – 5 x $12.75 = $63.75
Cloth diaper fastener – 1 pack x $11.25
Total = $110.97*

This gives you enough diapers where you do laundry every 2-3 days.

For our newborn, we go through about 50-70 diapers in a week.  Yes, you wouldn’t go through as many diapers if you were using disposables because they are more absorbent so you wouldn’t change the baby as often.  So let’s say if you were using disposables you would be on the low end of usage, so 50.  Pampers Swaddlers are $45.99 for a pack of 216.  This breaks down to $0.21 a diaper, or $10.50 a week.  So by the time our baby is 11 weeks old, we’ve already made our return on the cloth diapers (which should last until the baby is 15 lbs, which our son reached at 6 months old).  This is also the second time we’re using the cloth diapers.  So let’s say we get 12 months usage out of the cloth diapers since we are using them with both kids.  There are 52 weeks in a year.  And say we average about 60 diapers a week, which means we go through 3,120 diapers during that 12 months.  That breaks down to $.04 a diaper!!!  And it will only go down more if we use it with another child.  On top of that, we can recoup some of our costs by reselling the diapers (yes, there’s a market for cloth diapers out there!).  So you see, we are trying to save money here.

These are enough diapers to last 2-3 days between washes.  You can add more or less depending on how often you are willing to do laundry, and that will change how much you spend per diaper.  And honestly, it’s not as difficult as it appears, especially a breastfed baby.  Because breastmilk is water soluble, poops will go away in the wash.  We also don’t put the diapers in the dryer (although a friend of mine does), which adds a bit more work.  But we just let them sit out in the sun to bleach out the poop stains, that do in fact go away at the end of the day.  But it’s just another small load of laundry.  My friend (who is a working parent) puts the diapers on before bed, and then puts them in the dryer before she goes to work so that they are done when she comes home.

But I realize that for many parents out there, it’s not compatible with your lifestyle.  We are all busy and sometimes disposable diapers are the answer (we still use them here and there).  There are fancier diapers that have less moving parts, like all-in-ones that mimic disposables in that you just take the entire diaper and put in the bin for the wash.  So really if you are willing to do laundry to save money, then you should look into cloth diapers.  But don’t feel bad if you need to use disposables (like I said, we still use them here and there).

*I’m not including water and electricity in the total as they end up looking negligible on our monthly bills.

New Year’s Resolutions 2015: A Parent’s Perspective

I know for many parents out there your top priority for the New Year is to maximize as much quality time with your child(ren).  As parents we have an intricate juggling act that consists of work, household chores, parenting, and, when time permits, ME time.  While ME time is the most neglected, parents are always torn about parenting and quality time with their children–no matter how much we give, we never feel like it is enough.  We do what we can and hope it doesn’t set up our kids for a lifetime of adult therapy.

As a stay at home mom, I have to decide whether or not to go to the park or run errands.  There are just some days you aren’t going to leave the house.  And now that I have to corral two, I try not to run errands when the eldest is home so as to maximize my time with him.  I know they say it’s good to take your kid out to the grocery store so they can learn about food, colors, reading, counting, etc.  But when your oldest is in preschool part of the week, you don’t want to spend the time he is with you running errands.  How much fun is that?  Fortunately, living in the Bay Area has given me an opportunity to keep up the juggling act with the help of a few startups and beta services.  Here is a list of apps and services that have made my life a little less stressful so that I can spend time playing.

Instacart

Most major grocery store chains offer delivery, like Safeway.  But often times this takes far in advance planning since most same-day delivery slots are almost always booked–sometimes you realize you need milk now instead of tomorrow between 2pm and 5pm.  Step in Instacart.

Instacart offers grocery delivery in an hour!  That’s right, in an hour for just $5.99 (when your purchase is >$35).  You have a personal shopper out there who goes to popular grocery stores, like Safeway, Whole Foods, and even Costco, to buy the products you need.  You can order using their app (on both iOS and Android) or online using your computer.  You just shop online for what you need, put in your credit card information, and then in an hour your groceries arrive (it usually arrives a lot sooner than what they tell you too).

What’s really great about the service is there’s still humans involved.  What do you mean?  If you ever dealt with Safeway, they will replace any item they don’t have in stock.  Yes, both Safeway and Instacart have a way for the customer to dictate if they want items replaced or not or with what specific item.  But it’s nice getting a phone call from your personal shopper alerting you about an item not in stock and wanting to double check with you if said replacement is sufficient.  It really is like having your own personal shopper.  I personally like that touch.

You are probably thinking, “This sounds great, but you live in San Francisco and it’s probably not in my city.”  Guess wrong!  The service is available in many US cities, including Seattle, Denver, Austin, and DC!!!  Go try it out; your first delivery is free!

Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh is another grocery shopping service that offers same-day or next day delivery.  What’s great about the service is that you’re able to buy goods from niche shops, say a butcher in a certain neighborhood instead of going to the grocery store chain and their lesser quality cuts.  So if you are into that kind of grocery shopping, then Amazon Fresh is your thing.  However, the $299/year membership is a bit steep for many.  It’s also not widely available like Instacart is.

Google Shopping Express

IMG_3876.JPGIf there’s one service I probably can’t live without, it’s Google Shopping Express.  They offer you same-day delivery from actual stores (e.g., not grocery stores).  Hello Target!  I mean I do love shopping at Target, but again life gets in the way of going to this destination.  Your loofa just broke?  Google Shopping Express to the rescue.  Not only do they deliver products from Target, you can get toys from Toys R Us or even sporting goods from REI (at least in the Bay Area).  They do some food delivery from grocery stores like Whole Foods, but it’s the non-perishable kind.  It’s also available in a few major cities, like LA and DC.  You can easily go shopping on your computer or their iOS and Android app (which I tend to do in the middle of night, whilst breastfeeding after I’ve browsed Etsy).

Amazon Mom

Amazon Mom is similar to Amazon’s Subscribe & Save service for Prime members.  It’s $99 per year to be an Amazon Mom, although you don’t need to be a mom (I’ve read people make up baby birthdays).  Items you buy often, like diapers and baby food or pasta, are set on a schedule to be delivered every month or every other month.  If you have 5 or more items being delivered that month you save 20% on all the items.  It’s great to not think about these things you buy often.  Amazon will also e-mail you to remind you that you’ll be getting a shipment soon in case you want to make changes to your order (say, ordering the next size up diapers).  If you order from Amazon often, you should totally do Amazon Mom.  Diapers are definitely a lot cheaper through Amazon versus regular priced diapers at Target.

Christmas Presents

Christmas is just 4 days away, so this post may be late for almost everyone.  But here’s a tip for parents out there regarding Christmas presents.

If you are anything like our family, your kid probably has A LOT of toys.  We certainly don’t have room in our house for said toys.  And even if we did, you know that most toys collect dust because there are other toys they are obsessed with.  Plus you don’t want to deal with the clean up, especially toys with lots of parts (but that’s another post).  The problem with Christmas presents (and presents in general) is that people will buy your kid so many toys you/they don’t know what to do with.  You may get a book or two (which we love), but you still get toys!!!  And then you have to deal with the hoopla around the hottest Christmas toy.  No thank you.

This is Oliver’s third Christmas, and his second where we (think) he knows what’s going on.  Instead of letting our families go crazy on the toys, we suggest that they buy us memberships to museums and the zoo.  Why?  These are places we frequent, especially on rainy days.  For example, the zoo costs us $14 a person each visit.  A family membership is $115 for the year.  If I go with my kids, I only have to go 8 times before we recoup of the cost of the membership (4 times if my husband goes too).  If you know you are going to go that many times in a year, you should definitely get a membership.  Why not have family gift it to your family?  My son loves the zoo and we go once a month.  He gets to run around, learn about animals, and we don’t have toys cluttering up our house.  Same thing goes for museums and aquariums.  These provide great rainy day back ups so you aren’t cooped up inside your house.  For example, the California Academy of Science cost $30 each visit or you can get a membership for $99.  No brainer really.  Have someone gift the membership to your family.  It’s more valuable and educational than a piece of plastic.

In the Weeds

Last week was my first official full week on my own with the kids.  Monday wasn’t so bad because I had my mom’s of 2 group, and my husband worked from home to watch Oliver while me and Sammy were away.  Tuesday evening is when I suddenly found myself in the weeds.

Tuesday evening was my first time picking up Oliver from preschool on my own with newborn in tow.  The baby was relatively calm, although she would have been happier at home instead of in her carseat.  We arrived at the preschool, and Oliver’s classmates and one of the teachers cooed over her while I signed the check-out book.  The other teacher then pulled me aside to tell me that Oliver had pink eye.  GREAT!  Not only does he have a highly contagious disease, he’s not allowed to participate in his winter fiesta tomorrow.  We make it home and the rest of the night was spent cleaning Oliver’s eye, disinfecting the home, and keeping him away from the baby (it was a lot harder than it sounds because he loves helping out with the baby).

Wednesday the three of us were stuck at home and it was raining.  Most of my time was trying to stop Oliver from touching the baby and disinfecting the house.  His eye wasn’t gunky anymore, but it was still pink.  During that time there were points where I wanted to cry (naturally).

Thursday Oliver’s pink eye was gone, but then Sammy’s eye was pink.  GREAT!  Called the pedi, and they told us that it was more likely a clogged tear duct.  They said to come in if we wipe gunk out of her eye more than 3 times an hour or if it doesn’t clear up in three days.  Again it was raining, so we were stuck in the house.  But to top it all off, I was now sick–congested, coughing, and a runny nose.  SUPER GREAT!

Friday I lost my voice on top of feeling incredibly terrible.  I had a baby who was probably suffering from a clogged tear duct and a Wonder Week.  Oliver still had his cold.  Did I mention I didn’t feel well?

The weekend I began to feel better, although not 100%.  I’m still not 100% now.  But boy was I in the weeds last week.  In between the tears you just need to recite the mantra, “This too shall pass.”