Take it one step at a time. Don’t pressure yourself. You can do it. Your dedication and intention are key. These are just some of the wise words Mariz shares in her interview today. A mother of two living in the Philippines, Mariz urges all mothers to be gentle with themselves, for a happy mother makes for happy kids. Her pragmatic approach to cloth nappies – “One cloth is one disposable out from landfill and that’s something to be proud of always” – is one worth admiring in this world where the need to be first or best often reigns.
Welcome, Mariz @imnanaypaprika
Tell us a little about yourself, your family and where you live?
My name is Maria Kristina Bustillos, known more as Mariz. I am a Christian, a wife to Ferdie, and a mother of two – Charity and Hope. We got married in 2017, we had our first born by 2019 and then our second was born this April 2020. We have had a simple lifestyle ever since we got married until now. We are living in the Philippines, the southeast part of Asia. I have been here since I was born.
Can you share your favourite part about living where you do?
My favorite part would be the weather; it is just dry and wet season. You worry for two seasons only.
If you had to live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
I would still pick my country but to a different region. A place where we can plant our own food and have a safe distance but easy access to the ocean.
How does your family celebrate Christmas?
Christmas in the Philippines usually starts by September. When “ber” month starts, Christmas starts. We decorate our house by then. On the 24th we would go to my parent’s place and prepare our Noche Buena, my parents would initiate a game and we’d be excited about the money prizes! Hahaha. The kids (me and my brothers, now with my husband) would prepare a special number for them too, as we receive our Christmas gifts from them. By midnight, we’d exchange greetings and exchange gifts too if we have one for the others; after midnight, we would all go to my grandma on my mom’s side and greet them too, most of the families were there too. My mom would repeat the games for them as well and we’d sing through karaoke until we are all tired. On the morning of the 25th usually, we would be awakened by our inaanak (godchildren) to ask for their Christmas gifts. I remember when we were kids, we would doll up and go to our godparents, door to door. It was expected for the inaanak to come to your place as well.
What are your hopes and dreams for 2021?
First off, I am looking forward to a positive change coming out from this pandemic, leaning and trusting more on our Lord Jesus Christ as we move forward and being intentional in our relationship with Him and in obeying His word.
Secondly, I look forward to an increase of people learning how important LNT (Leave No Trace) is and educating themselves with the importance of the 5Rs (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle) in purchasing goods, accepting freebies, when being offered one-time use of plastic packaging, when they throw stuff from home, or when then see certain things at home that can be reused or repurposed before buying a new one. That being mindful with our environment doesn’t have to be expensive.
I have kids that are growing and will learn from us – what we did during the pandemic, how we helped as an individual, how we realised that change is scary and inevitable but if we practice more, it becomes easy and usual. That you can pick yourself up in the middle when it gets overwhelming and start again. I hope that people won’t be too hard on themselves, but parents should teach their kids to toughen up by allowing them to experience failure and explaining to them that they can always have a fresh start and learn what went wrong from the past, see to it that they learn from it and try not to repeat it.
Lastly, I look forward to going out with my kids and playing at the park with the other kids and not being afraid of getting sick along the way again.
Can you describe what brings you the most happiness in life and why?
For me as a Christian, I am most happy whenever I am able to serve the Lord in any way possible. Be of use for the Lord with my family. The Lord has given us this life and we are given the gift of salvation. It is my happiness to bring back all the glory for that abounding grace He bestowed.
If you could fix one thing in the world what would it be?
I’d be more vocal about protecting our environment and supporting local products.
What is your best tip for making the world a better place?
Start the change in yourself and be intentional in caring for others too. Have a humble and thankful heart despite some fallbacks. Last, be gentle with yourself. It is okay to take a pause and take one step at a time.
What has been the best part of motherhood for you so far?
Being in the moment – watching my kids grow and try things here and there is such a blessing for me. I get to see their firsts.
What have you found to be the hardest part of motherhood?
Being there always is the hardest. It is hard to be consistent and every day is always a trial and error moment.
Best advice you’ve ever been given about motherhood.
A happy mother equates to happy kids. My sanity is more important than anything I wanted and strived to do.
What would you say is your parenting philosophy?
My kids can do anything within the boundaries we set. If we say no it is no, it means you might die or be hospitalised if we allow it to happen. If we said yes, then that means we are confident that you can do it and we are just watching from afar ready to be there if it would hurt you a little.
Always ask for consent and they can say no if they don’t want physical touch.
How do you handle the most stressful parts of motherhood?
I usually ask for time off from my husband, he would stay with the kids while I have my breather every now and then. Either I would sew something up or I’d go out instead of him. Plus, prayer is the best way to shake off stress; it is the best me-time I could get every day.
What does an average day look like for you?
We wake up, change CDs, we eat, take a bath time, read books, sing songs, think of a nice playtime depending on their milestones, eat again, work with our business, let the babies sleep in the afternoon, we’ll watch or if we have deliveries this is the best time to do it, play again when they wake up, eat dinner, wash up, and then sleep. There are tons of changing CDs in between!
What activities do your family like to do together?
Reading books and swimming are our favourite bonding time.
What is something you would like your children to remember about you?
That I do my best to spend time with them even it gets busy with the business.
What is your greatest hope for your children?
My greatest hope is that when they grow older, they get to know the love of our Lord and be able to learn to love the Lord through serving Him as well. And that they follow our best qualities, learn from our mistakes, and put the Lord first in their hearts.
Can you talk us through what led you to using cloth with your children?
My husband and I were practicing lesser waste when we got married and I came to a point where I asked myself, “Is there a reusable diaper that looks like our disposable diapers?” because at that time all I knew was I wanted to use the old style of using flats when we got to have a baby because it definitely cost us less and less waste too! That was when I started learning about cloth diapering.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started out?
I should have bought more hybrid fitteds; it turns out the woven part would easily get destroyed if used almost everyday.
Looking back at your cloth journey so far, of what are you most proud?
Not buying more even after a year. I learned that the reason I used cloth was to lessen our diaper costs and so it is best to purchase best qualities and then DIY what I can DIY along the way. It feels great to have a set of cloth that I made.
Best advice you’ve ever been given about cloth.
Take one step at a time, pause for moments when you really can’t do it. One cloth is one disposable out from the landfill and that’s something to be proud of always. Don’t pressure yourself in letting the world know that you have been on cloth exclusively since day one of use.
What has been your biggest challenge as a cloth family and how have you overcome it?
The small rotation of diapers that we had to wash every other day and make sure that the sun is out. The only way to overcome it is to make sure we put the CDs in the washer every two days or else we will be using our emergency stash of disposables and I wouldn’t want that.
What or who has been most influential to your cloth journey?
Those working moms who have been on cloth since day 1 – they make me strive to push more. If they can do it, I definitely can as well.
What is your favourite memory relating to cloth nappies?
My eldest first poop in her cloth will always be my favorite! We were always scared to start because I thought if she pooped it’ll leak on the sides but it didn’t and so that was our go signal as well.
Have others supported your decision to do cloth? If so, how? If not, why not?
My husband supported me since the day I introduced cloth to him, and since we are breastfeeding too, whenever he’s at home he will change the diapers and wash them too. My parents were a little skeptical because they thought it would gross me out and just stop midway, but later on, they also found the beauty in it and saw how dedicated I was to cloth our babies.
What is the most encouraging comment you have received from someone supporting your cloth journey, and how did it make you feel?
“You can do it” and those simple words made me feel that I really can do it and I did!
Can you tell us how you came to decide which nappy style best suited your family?
I bought a dozen pockets, a few cover types, and a few hybrid-fitteds. I added a few to the stash here and there but I never really changed our style. I had to stick to it mainly because I don’t want to just sell it away and try another one. I needed to lessen the cost and so I never bought more to try out. We added a few cover type cloth when our second baby was coming.
Can you explain what you believe to be the greatest benefit of using cloth nappies?
Using cloth benefits our environment. It is used for a long time and so you save tons of diapers from the landfill that might stay for hundreds of years without decomposing.
Besides cloth, in what other ways do you support a better planet?
I am a menstrual cup user now; I make sure to use what I already have and DIY as much as I can. For our business we are using recycled paper bags and plastics for our deliveries; my husband uses a bike to deliver and when he needs to go to different places.
What do you think needs to happen to make cloth mainstream?
Ads would be a perfect way to introduce cloth diapers in the market. I hope influencers will use cloth and be vocal about it too!
If you could do anything to encourage more families to use cloth nappies, what would it be?
I’d love to sew some cloth nappies for them if I have the time really.
What do you consider to be the key to success with cloth?
Your dedication and intention to change is the key to be successful in cloth.
What advice do you have for parents considering the move to cloth?
Just do it – it’s like stepping on a ladder to reach the next floor. For you to reach your goals, you need to take that one step up, and just push yourself. Find a community of cloth parents where you can seek help and also share your journey.
What is your favourite tip you like to share with families new to cloth?
You can definitely take a pause from cloth if you feel overwhelmed by it and then go back to it.
You’ve got one minute to convince new parents to use cloth – go.
The benefits of cloth outweigh all the excuses you can think off in using cloth.
What are your time management tips for cloth? How do you fit cloth into your life?
Put everything in the pail then, when you take a shower, you prewash your cloth too. When it’s night time and they are all asleep, prewash your cloth too. You will get the hang of it and your own routine as you go.
One of the first questions non-cloth users often ask is ‘What do you do with the poo.’ How would you respond to this question? Explain your processes for dealing with poo.
I dump the poop in the toilet just like what you do with disposables and then prewash the cloth. I remove the remaining poo in a tub of water, dump the water and fill a new one, remove it with the water in the tub and then dump again before I wash with soap. Then rinse thoroughly.
What does your cloth nappy change station look like?
We change in the floor bed. We have a small space so we use what would be convenient for us. For poop, we go directly to the shower area.
How do you manage cloth while out and about? Any tips?
A wetbag is a must! If it’s just pee, I put the cloth straight to the bag. If there’s poo, I try to remove as much as I can. I usually go to the change room for people with a disability because usually that’s where we can wiggle ourselves to change the baby. We always bring an emergency disposable in case.
What is the one common myth about cloth nappies you’d like to debunk?
The one about bow-leggedness. There are so many people who would tell me about it and I try to educate them as much as possible. Send links too so they know I wasn’t just being biased.
Do you have any other words of advice or tips to share?
I would like to reiterate that it is okay to pause when it gets overwhelming. Read a lot about cloth, that is the only way you can educate people around you without sounding mean. When you know what you are doing and advocating, then you can actually spread the information like wildfire too.
Number of bums in cloth: 2.
Number of nappies: 30 nappies and loads of extra flats!
Full or part time: Full.
Nappy style: Pockets and cover types.
Stuff or snap: Both.
Pre-stuff or lay as you go: Pre-stuff.
Line or tumble dry: Tumble dry.
Favourite cloth related product: Cloth wipes and our water sprayer.
Your journey cloth in one word: Amazing (it always amazes me that someone invented a cloth!).