A Tribute to Our Hard-Working Mothers (and my relationship with towelling nappies)

“Hard times create strong men.”(and women!)  G. Michael Hopf

Hard financial times led me to the point of using towelling nappies on my almost 2 year old twin girls.  It was not an easy decision, although it would have been even more difficult had I known just how much hard work they would prove to be!

I have memories of the nappy bucket my mom used for me.  Nappies would be soaking in there and would turn up, clean, fresh, dry and ready to use every day.  I remember the nappy bag where they were stored. It was a red-ish, material, tent-like structure, and I would often rest my head in it, on the nappies, when I needed a time out.  These are happy memories for me.  Comfortable memories.  Memories of home and my loving mother. 

Little did I know…

The first day I decided to use only towelling nappies I was full of hope.  How different could it be to disposables, right?  All the cool moms are using the expensive modern types of towelling nappies and they can’t be that different to the old-fashioned ones… right?


Towelling nappies get wet.  Really wet, as soon as the baby uses them.  That moisture spreads all over the nappy and leaks through whatever waterproof you use.  But hey, no problem.  Just change the baby and keep going.  Well, I went.. and went.. and went and went and went.  By their afternoon nap I had gone through my entire stash of towelling nappies and had to hand-wash them all, in order to save money on electricity.  It was back-breaking and hand-roughening work.  My back was literally out of place that evening and I felt extremely sorry for myself as I imagined having to do it all again the next day.  (I took a few days off before I attempted it again)

But, I realized, the memories I have of my mom and my comfortable nappies and nappy bag are a privilege.  They are the result of her hard work, her back being sore and her hands being rough.  I’m not saying that we need to break ourselves in order to create wonderful, homely memories for our children, but what a privilege it is, to be able to provide for them, even when it’s tough.  (and rough, and calloused)

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  Motherhood is tough, but we are tougher.  Whether it’s hand-washing nappies, or making some other sacrifice for our babies, we are making the best possible memories and experiences for our little ones, and that is truly what counts.

Once I got done feeling sorry for myself, I started feeling so thankful for our hard-working, loving mothers, who showed us how to dedicate ourselves to our babies, and how to do it in such a way that they have no idea how hard it is.   Thank you to our hard-working, sacrificing mothers, for all you did, all you gave and all you were.  You have helped create a new generation of loving mothers, giving their best to their children.

And now, I have to admit, I found some really inexpensive disposable nappies and have been using those rather.  As I wear one as a hat to make my babies laugh, I understand that sacrifices come in different forms, and so do memories.  So here is my happy, homely contribution to their childhood memories, along with soft hands and a healthy back.

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Kelly Naude

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