Monday 1st July 2013

I had an interesting conversation with a good friend the other day about nappies; from this point further, I will refer to the following conversation as "nappygate". There are a few reasons that I need to work and getting away from conversations about feeding, nappies and general stay-at-home mum chit chat (in this case, via e-mail), is one of them. If I did, the red mist would veil across my eyes and I would say something that probably wouldn't go down well with a skinny latte and Belgium Bun.

My friend was saying that "nappygate" began by a fellow Alpha mum, who usually stands firmly in the Pampers camp, stating in a group e-mail that she had discovered how wonderful Aldi nappies were. I'm not sure what she was expecting; maybe because they are cheaper she assumed they would be a piece of tissue paper bound by cellotape?

Anyway, my friend replied back to the group that she agreed and said that she had been using them with her son since he was born. Subsequently, the Alpha Mum made a curt reply asking why she had failed to share this information with the group before? My response would have been "Because I'm normal and very busy and unless it comes up in conversation, I don't feel the need to 'spread the word' about nappies; especially via E-mail!" However, my friend is far more diplomatic than me and replied in a way that pacified the situation.

The "nappygate" conversation took an unexpected turn when one of the mum's, a stay-at-home Alpha mum, piped up about the conservationist implications of disposable nappies. Instead, she told the group that she used the re-usable nappies that you can now buy. You know the ones, they are like the terries that you used to wear as a baby with a fabric re-usable nappy over them. Unlike terries, you don't have to have them drying everywhere for example, over the boiler and there is no fear of mutilating your baby with a safety pin.

Suddenly, my friend became like Switzerland in the online conversation with both disposable and reusable camps throwing verbal, sudocream-lined missiles across the virtual space of the internet.

The whole online debacle got me thinking about priorities and whether choosing disposable or re-usable should be one of them. Initially, when I was pregnant with Bethan, I was completely committed to using the re-usable kind because it was ethically the right thing to; or so it had been sold to me.

However, when Bethan was born, what type of nappies she would be wearing was low on my list of priorities as I sat by her incubator and watched her fight for her life. In fact, I'm not sure in the haze of it all, how Bethan actually got her nappies. The only thing of interest to me was being able to see how much the nappy weighed and whether it had any poo in it and what colour the poo was. Green good: brown bad.

Maybe what I am trying to say is that although the "nappygate" issue maybe environmentally important, it's all relative. A great deal of new parents don't get the choice as to which type of nappy you can use. Whether it's due to circumstances or the fact you live in the middle of a war-zone, sometimes spending your time fighting over your choice in nappies isn't worth it. Use your time more effectively by really appreciating the baby that is in it.

As my friend and I finished the conversation she said something very pertinent; stay-at-home mums are not full-time mums. We are all full-time mums whether we choose to work or not. This enlightening conversation with my good friend made me realise that there are a lot of Alpha Mums of the different variety; we are the alpha mums who don't spend as much time as we should trying to out-do each other or make others feel crap about their parenting skills. No. We are the alpha mums who do our best everyday and hope to God that we get it right and gracefully and modestly learn from a situation when we get it wrong. So there! ;-p