. . . but this pisses me off! From The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013, 1:08 AM
Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013, 1:08 AM
Imelda Rodriguez waits “as long as my kids can handle it” before changing the diapers of her youngest children, ages 3 years and 2 months.
For low-income parents like Rodriguez, a 34-year-old married homemaker in Warminster, it’s sometimes easier to get food than diapers, which can cost as much as $100 a month for one child.
And lack of diapers can have far-reaching implications beyond the rashes and urinary-tract infections suffered by children not changed often enough.
Parents living in poverty may reuse wet and soiled disposable diapers, causing uncomfortable children to fuss and cry. That, in turn, can incite child abuse, said Joanne Goldblum, executive director of the National Diaper Bank Network, which supplies diapers to community organizations.
Also, most child-care facilities won’t allow parents to drop off children without an accompanying supply of disposable diapers. That can preclude mothers from working or going to school, compelling families to remain mired in poverty, said Michal Smith, executive director of Cradles to Crayons in Conshohocken, which provides essential items to children in need.
More at the link.
As it happens, your Editor has two younger sisters, and he can remember when our mother had to do something really, really radical like use cloth diapers, wash them, and reuse them after cleaning. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a lot of fun, but disposable diapers weren’t available in the 1950s.
Some say low-income people should try cloth diapers, used in 5 percent to 10 percent of U.S. homes, according to Goldblum.
But such diapers must be cleaned, and many poor people don’t have washing machines. Public laundries frequently prohibit customers from cleaning diapers, experts say.
Really? Then wash them in the sink!
American mothers used to have the rather unpleasant task of rinsing out dirty diapers in the toilet before laundering them; that’s what has to be done with cloth diapers when they have “solid waste” in them. Unpleasant as that might be, it’s sure as Hell a better choice than doing what Mrs Rodriguez said that she did, leaving her kids in dirty diapers for as long as they can handle it.
This is the kind of article which absolutely infuriates me: we have become so conditioned to doing things the easy way that when there isn’t enough money, why we don’t go back to doing what we can do, but we have a mother like Mrs Rodriguez who lets her children sit in their own urine and feces for as long as they can stand it. And the Inquirer writes up a child-abusing mother1 as some sort of poor, doing-her-best woman, when she clearly is not.
I do have some sympathy for the plight of poor women who work, and must provide disposable diapers for children when they are in day care. However, the article stated that an infant may need up to 12 diapers a day, or 84 a week, but not nearly that many are needed for infants in day care, because they aren’t in day care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Using the prices given in the article, $9 for a package of 50, and assuming 5 disposable diapers per day for 8 hours during day care, five days a week, that $9 package of diapers should last for two weeks. If a woman is employed — which one would expect to be the reason she needs day care — at a minimum wage job ($7.25 per hour), she would have to work less than an hour to provide those diapers. That’s a few dollars she wouldn’t have to spend for something else, which is important when you only have a few dollars, but it’s doable.
As for Mrs Rodriguez, the article describes her as a “married homemaker,” which usually means a stay-at-home mom . . . and that means she shouldn’t need disposable diapers at all.
Somehow, some way, parents managed to cope with the fact that there were no such things as disposable diapers for as long as human beings have existed, right up until the last few decades. But now, heaven forfend! some people are too poor to be able to buy disposable diapers, and it’s a crisis, so much so that the Inquirer writes sympathetically about a woman who lets her children wallow in their own urine and feces? Yeah, that pisses me off!
- Some might see that as harsh, but yes, I would absolutely describe a parent who lets his child sit in his own wastes for as long as he can stand it — meaning: until he cries too much to be ignored — as a child abuser. I’m betting that Children and Youth would see it the same way. ↩