Before kids, diaper changes scared me the most about parenthood. (We can all pause and laugh at a younger me!) I had a weak stomach and dry-heaved when changing litter…how was I going to deal with lots of diapers?
Over 5.5 years in, I can not only change diapers without a flair for drama, but I actually enjoy it.
I have four young girls and always feel like my attention is divided and I’m multitasking.
A dirty diaper means that my energy is fully focused on that one child, if only for a few minutes.
I’m able to be the type of parent I’d like to be all the time—phone down, fully present, and ignoring the long list of other responsibilities awaiting. I can make eye contact and talk through the process, asking her questions and mimicking her sounds. I can kiss that baby’s belly and cheeks or play peek-a-boo. I can make her more comfortable.
There’s even joy in changing my two-year-old’s diaper. I can give a choice about changing it now or later and then be gentle but firm (again, the type of parent I aspire to be all the time). I can meet her eyes and remind her how much I love her. I can engage her in the process and have her bring me a diaper. It is one of the only times I can fully take her precious toddler self in while she remains (almost) still.
I may not know how to best handle my five-year-old talking back, my two-year-old’s frustration at the babies “taking her crib,” or the twins’ short naps, but diaper changes? Diaper changes, I’ve got.
It’s a welcome reprieve from the unknowns of parenthood and the decision fatigue of what to eat or what next to play.
Diapers still get a bad rap in commercials and even with baby shower games, but expectant mamas, don’t listen to popular culture. There will be plenty of serious parenting challenges ahead of you—this is not one of them.
It will be nice one day when I can put diapers behind us, save money, and not wash my hands all the time, but just as much as I dreaded this part of parenting, I know I will look back on it with fondness.