#49: Choosing love and trust

cloth nappy family
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Careen’s world is a juggle of mum life and business life, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. Alongside nourishing a world of love and trust for the two little men in her life, Careen advocates for mothers investing time in themselves so they can give their best to those around them in return. She openly shares her parenting and other experiences, including her developing waste reduction values, on social media as a means of opening conversations with many, leaving it up to them to choose to take action or make a positive change.

Like many, Careen admits she wrongly assumed cloth nappies would be too hard when she had her first son, and it wasn’t until the birth of her second son that she made the switch and never looked back. There honestly really haven’t been any major challenges, she says. “It’s been a very rewarding experience.”

Welcome, Careen @careenkiller

Tell us a little about yourself, your family and where you live.

My Name Is Careen. We live in a beautiful little coastal town on the North Coast of NSW. I’m a wife, mumma to 2 boys – Jaxon 3 years and Tyler 1 year, home maker and I run my own business The Strong Mum’s Club from home and absolutely love helping women through their pregnancy and post natal journey as well as achieving their health and fitness goals.

What does family life look like for you right now?

Family life right now is a juggle between mum life and work life. I love both.

What is your greatest passion in life?

Parenting and the work I do with so many amazing women.

What are your plans for Christmas?

Christmas is usually spent chilling with the family. A walk by the beach with our dogs, the family over for lunch and exchanging gifts, followed by some games, Christmas movies and leftovers for dinner. 

What are your hopes and dreams for 2021?

My hopes and dreams for 2021 is that the world can find a little more peace. So much has happened this year and I wish that those that need to can find their light.

What is your definition of self-care and how do you make time for it?

Self-care for me is looking after my physical health and mindset through exercise, nutrition and meditation. I set non negotiables for myself and MAKE the time.

Describe your parenting philosophy and what it means to you.

I’m a hands on, highly conscious and intuitive parent. I use experiences to help and look for opportunities to educate my children whilst encouraging creative freedom within age appropriate boundaries.

We focus on open communication and I choose to parent with love. I want to be present for my children and I be there for them when they need me.

It means the world to me that I’m able to teach my children what I feel I wasn’t taught but so desperately needed.

What do you think is the greatest power that comes from motherhood/ parenthood?

The greatest power that comes from parenthood is the love and trust that these children innately have for you. We are far from perfect, but I make the choice above all to nourish this love and trust.

Parenting is full of contradictions. What are some contradictions you often feel?

If you do something one way, there is bound to be someone who does something completely the opposite. And both are right! YOU CHOOSE what is best for you, for your children and your lifestyle.

What message do you have for parents who have lost their motivation for health and fitness since having children? 

The best investment you can make is giving time to yourself. As a mother of 2, a home maker and a business owner, I know how hard this can be. It’s so hard to give the best of yourself to those around you when you don’t have much to give. Set yourself some small, highly achievable goals, start small, do one thing daily that makes YOU feel good. When we fill our own cup, we can give more to others.

Judgement is widespread during parenthood. What is your advice for people who might catch themselves judging others, or who find themselves being judged?

Judgement is human nature; we are all bound to do it. Just remember, when we make a harsh judgement, it is usually a reflection of us as an individual then anyone or anything else. Take the time to listen to what you’re really telling yourself, choose to take action and make a positive change. On the other end, I’ve received a lot of judgement over my years sharing my parenting and other experiences on social media. I choose to have a conversation with people. There is always an opportunity to learn something different. It doesn’t mean you have to believe it. It just means you’ve opened your mind to possibility and a different way of thinking.

You are open about sharing your experiences with depression. How does it impact who you are or how you parent?

Depression is just a part of who I am; it doesn’t define me, but it has shaped me. It’s allowed me to be more sympathetic and empathetic and has pushed me to be a better person and parent every day.

I grew up in a volatile household as a child which contributed greatly to my depression. There are many things I longed for – stability, love, to be seen and heard, communication, safety. My experience is why I am so passionate about parenting and doing the best I can to ensure my children feel safe and loved.

Can you talk us through what led you to using cloth with your boys? Did you always know you wanted to cloth?

With my first son Jaxon we used disposable (it hurts to think about now). I always thought about using cloth but found there weren’t many accessible ‘how to’ resources available and thought it to be quite confronting because I lacked the knowledge I have now – this is a big part of why I choose to share my cloth nappy experience.  As my values continued to develop, particularly for waste reduction, it was an easy decision to choose cloth for my second son Tyler. Knowing how easy it is, I wished I would have done it with my first.

Do you cloth part or full time? If full time, how did you manage? If part time, has prompted your decision?

We cloth full time. I’ve found having a structure and routine in how we wash makes full time cloth nappies easy. It really isn’t too much more work once you establish a good routine.

What has been your biggest challenge as a cloth family and how have you overcome it?

There honestly really haven’t been any major challenges! It’s been a very rewarding experience.

Best advice you’ve ever been given about cloth.

Take the time to make sure you get the fit right, it can take some practice

You’ve got one minute to convince a pregnant mother to use cloth – go.

Using cloth nappies is seriously easy!!! Once you establish a little washing routine there really isn’t any ‘extra’ work. Cloth nappies are better for your babies bum bum, better for the environment, you’ll save thousands of dollars and it feels incredibly rewarding seeing your cloth nappies hung up to dry knowing you’re making that little difference to the world.

Finish this sentence …

The thing people wrongly assume about cloth is … that it is hard to do.

What is the most uninformed comment you’ve received from someone not supporting reusable nappies?

Comments on potential nappy rash from ‘sitting in a wet nappy.’ Nappy rash has never been an issue for our little one using cloth as the inserts are natural, breathable fibres.

Can you explain what you believe to be the greatest benefit of using cloth nappies?

For us, it’s the environmental impact as well how much money we are saving not buying disposable nappies.

How do you believe you are contributing to bettering the environment by using cloth nappies? 

An average of 6,500 nappies are not going into landfill. I’d say that’s a win!!

What is your favourite use for wetbags?

I use my large wetbag as my nappy bag and store a spare nappy, wipes etc as well as a place to pop the used nappies when out an about. We use them around the home at times to stash the used nappies before making their way down to the laundry.

What are your time management tips for cloth? How do you fit cloth into your life?

Take the time to develop a structure and routine that suits your family and their needs. For us, this means used nappies get rinsed either immediately or at the end of the day and put in a dry pail till wash day. I do a quick 15 mins pre wash of my nappies the night before I would do a full load (wash days being Mon, Wed, Fri and occasionally over the weekend) then pop my full load in with a delay timer so it’s done in the morning and I can put out the washing either before the boys get up or when it’s their nap time.

How do you manage cloth while out and about. Any tips?

Just the same as I would disposable! I carry one or two spare nappies, wipes etc in a wetbag or nappy bag. Then just place the used nappy in the wet bag (no smells at all) rather than throwing it in the trash.

How do you balance cloth and the demands of your business?

Structure and solid routine that works for our family.

How have you overcome the challenge of wriggly babies at change time?

Wriggly babies are inventible, haha. I think putting a nappy on, whether it’s a disposable or cloth, is difficult with a wriggly baby. If I find I’m getting frustrated (which does happen), I just take a deep breath and join in the fun, get it on how I can and fix anything I need to later.

What has been your experience with nappy rash?

Nappy rash hasn’t been an issue. We do ensure we use a quality natural bum bum cream as well as nappy free time.

Do you have any other tips to share?

If using snap-in, make sure the liner isn’t sticking out of the elastic. That’s the only time we’ve really had leaks.

Quick questions

Number of bums in cloth. One.

How long you have been clothing. 1 year.

How many nappies do you own? 15 shells, 24 inserts, 12 boosters.

Full or part time? Full time.

Nappy style? Bare and Boho.

Stuff or snap? Snap.

Pre-stuff or lay as you go? Lay as you go.

Line or tumble dry? Line dry.

Describe your journey with cloth in one word. Rewarding.

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