Are you influential offline?

We met our neighbors tonight (the lame part is that it took us 1.5 years to meet them) who have three young children.  There aren’t many families with young children and we’re always on the go so we don’t get many opportunities to meet new families.  With the cooler evenings we find ourselves out front more often and they decided to walk down and introduce themselves.

Kids playing

I knew they had 2 little ones and one of them was close to Lil’ B in age.  Turns out they are about 3 months apart so this could be her first ‘real’ friend outside of school.  I don’t belong to any playgroups or anything with her because life is always so busy.  Most of my friends have older kids so she really doesn’t get a chance outside of school to play with other toddlers.

What I didn’t realize is that in the length of time they’ve lived 2 doors down they have had a third child who is now 5 months old.  When they came walking down the road I couldn’t help but notice the disposable diaper on her babies bum.  I refrained from starting a conversation about diapers at that time.  If you know me at all that is VERY hard for me to refrain from.

We all chatted for about an hour while the kids played in the front yard.  They all got along very well and it was nice to see them having fun.  Then it happened…

…she asked me what I did!  *Ding Ding Ding!  It is now safe to talk about diapers!!  Woo Hoo!!  (Yes, that’s really how I think – sad?)

I explained what I did and she told me that she works at a day care in the 1 yr old room.  One of the new students starting next week is in cloth diapers and she told me that they are trying to figure out how to incorporate their existing policies to include cloth.  Seriously, I light up with excitement but I’m trying to resist the full blown – OMG You Must Do Cloth – ambush attack. So I take things slowly and tell her that it’s really easy and give her a few easy ideas.  Then I let the boys keep talking as I excuse myself for a minute.

This is the perfect opportunity to share with her a copy of Changing Diapers, A Hip Mom’s Guide to Modern Cloth Diapers. (affiliate) I give her a copy of the book and a brand new AppleCheeks (size 1) that I have from the ABC Expo.  I simply told her to take a look at the book and see if it’s something she’s interested in.  I let her know that I would be happy to talk with her more at any time.  She was skeptical but curious – and the dad was excited once my hubs started talking about saving money!

I have no idea what will come of our conversation but I do know that 1) another family has been introduced to cloth diapering in a non-judgmental and non-threatening way, and 2) a day care worker now has a reference book that may help them accept cloth diapers in a more positive and confident manner.  There was no pressure to buy anything, no judging her for using disposables, just me sharing some of my knowledge with her.

I can’t wait until we talk again so I can see what her thoughts were.

Fast forward almost 2 weeks (I actually wrote the first section a short while ago and was waiting for the right time to publish). Since our encounter 2 weeks ago V and I have chatted a few times.  The first time was about a week ago when I got a knock at the door.  The first words out of her mouth…“Where can I find cloth diapers locally?  I just can’t stand buying another package of disposables.” See, she explained that she took the book home and immediately read it cover to cover – more than once and it just sounded too easy.  The only problem is she couldn’t find cloth diapers anywhere in our town.  Before she left that day she took with her a variety of Lil’ B’s diapers to try out on her little one.  I think there were about 6 diapers, a wet bag, detergent samples, and a pack of disposable liners in her starter stash.  She was really curious about Econobum so I sent her with a variety of prefolds, flats, and pockets.

We’ve had several conversations since then and each one I can tell she’s excited about her journey into cloth.  And it all began as a casual conversation while our kids played outside.

Today I added another layer to my local influence on the cloth diapering community. Our pediatrician has always been supportive of our decision to use cloth.  Lil’ B was off school today and I decided that after 3 weeks of dealing with a nasty rash on the back of her leg (started as a bug bite that she couldn’t stop scratching) I would finally rely on modern medicine to help me cure the rash.  As I packed up my purse I grabbed a copy of Changing Diapers and a business card as a gift for our doctor.  Turns out that the rash is in fact infected from all her scratching and we should be healed by Monday (fingers crossed).  Before I left I handed her a copy of the book and explained that a friend of mine wrote it and I thought it would be a good resource for her and the office.  She was excited as she flipped through the pages and said she’d be happy to share it with her staff once she’s done reading it.  Not sure what may come from my gift but I know that one more pediatrician in our area has a valuable resource that may just help one more family make the decision to use cloth diapers.

I have one more plan for the local community that I’m not going to reveal just yet.  I want to make sure things actually work out before I start sharing ways to help parents in need.  The plan is really in the early stages and I’ve only shared it with one person who thought it was a great idea.

My question to you is…

…are you influential offline? It’s easy to write about something you are passionate about and share it online hoping that people will read it.  It’s completely different to think locally and start making changes where you live – in real life.

For a limited time when you buy 2 Changing Diapers books you get 1 book free PLUS free shipping and a “Hip Mom” tattoo.  Use coupon code BOGOBOOK at checkout.  (Coupon may expire at any time.)  You never know how many lives you may touch, inspire, or help when you offer a copy of this book to others.

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5 Responses to Are you influential offline?

  1. OMG. I am laughing so hard right now, because you are so ME! That is EXACTLY what goes through my head–DING DING DING! IT IS NOW SAFE TO TALK ABOUT DIAPERS! Except for me it’s even more the case with being diaper free (i.e., elimination communication). I seriously used to eye baby’s bums at the playground to see what kind of diaper they were wearing. Whenever I saw I cloth bubble bum, I would talk to the mom about how cool cloth is and then start chatting about EC. And I would try to dress my baby in a way that people would see her cloth diaper (or lack thereof) in hopes they would ask…

    LOL! It’s tough to be a fanatic, isn’t it? :)

    Ah, I can only imagine the thrill you had when your neighbor showed up on your doorstep asking where to get cloth diapers locally. If one of my neighbors did that, I would get so excited I’d probably scare them right off again.
    Organic Baby Atlanta recently registry for a green momMy Profile

  2. Rachel says:

    I’m the same way, sometimes I’m just subtle about it and try to just change my baby in a public area of a party or something so that friends will ask me about the diapers. Other times I wish I could speak up, but haven’t.
    I am however scheduled to teach a cloth diapering class locally at a new shop that has decided to carry the diapers. I’m having trouble getting interest tho :(
    Rachel recently posted..Green Moms Weekly- Topic 6My Profile

  3. Rachel says:

    Oh and I have officially converted my co-worker to cloth!! She’s due in January!
    Rachel recently posted..Green Moms Weekly- Topic 6My Profile

  4. Loved this :) I feel the same way! I try not to slam people with information about cloth diapers, but I do try to represent well, and look for openings to discuss it. I’ve had several questions (mostly, “Is it a lot of work? Does it save much money?), and converted a few friends.

    I also did an emergency diapering class for some lower income moms. Most of them were not at all interested in full time cloth diapering, but I gave them some information on what they could do if they were down to food or diapers one week.

    I’m also looking at organizing some informational talks, maybe hosted at the library or another community location, and posting information at my doctor’s office, the library, and various other places.

    So many people just don’t know about modern cloth diapering and how easy it can be :)

  5. Pingback: Saying Goodbye to Cloth Diapers — Cloth Diapers, Green Living and Going Green with Kids - The Eco Chic

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