The Invisible Mother

As moms with tiny tots underfoot (or little ones on the way), it's easy to get lost in the mundane, day-to-day tasks of motherhood. And so at times, we all need a little encouragement, a gentle reminder that the incredible, difficult, rewarding work of loving and raising our children is worth far more than we may ever realize. This was sent to us by a friend and Mom's Dish reader. We don't know where it originated nor can we testify to its authenticity, but the message is nevertheless worth repeating.

The Invisible Mother
Author unknown

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously, not.

No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I bought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Designer Duds


Desiring designer duds for your tiny tot but not loving the designer price tag? Whether you're a chic mama who's a bit strapped for cash or a sassy mommy who simply loves a good deal when she spots it, no matter the depth of your pocketbook, you'll love The Mini Social, an invitation-only online sale featuring covet-worthy infant and children's threads.

Visit the web site to sign up, and you'll instantly be invited to peruse the current and upcoming sample sales. Brands include an array of such labels as Nest Children, Kumquat, babysusu and more, and all up to 60% off. And if the savings weren't incentive enough, a portion of the proceeds benefits women's and children's charities, including United States Fund for UNICEF and Shoe4Africa. It's just one more opportunity to do good for your little one and good for others.

Solving the Diapering Dilemma

The economy and the environment ... these two reasons (and perhaps myriad more) may have you seriously considering cloth diapers. Afterall, they're a green alternative to landfill-clogging disposables, and they won't eat away at your pocket book on a monthly basis. Still, it means a bit more labor when donning your little one's tush, and really, who has time with tots underfoot?

To help shed some light on the issue, we asked one cloth-diaper devotee and Moms Dish reader to share with us her own personal experience. Kathleen Welnack, mother of Jacqueline, 3 months, dishes on her love affair with Bum Genius. Read on and then decide for yourself.

Solving the Diapering Dilemma
by Kathleen Welnack

Deciding between disposables and cloth diapers can be a real challenge, especially when considering cost, efficiency, convenience and waste. After much research and lots of deliberation, I chose the cloth diaper route for the financial savings, waste savings ... and, well, truth be told, I think they're cuter and appreciate their nod to the way things were done before our world of on-demand convenience.

Yet it's a new day for cloth diapers. There are a wide variety of styles (old-fashioned fold/pin, all-in-one, one-size-fits-all), brands, designs, and pricing (from bare bones inexpensive to fashionable high-end models). BumGenius 3.0 diapers are about $18 each, which is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive. They are made by Cotton Babies and are one-size-fits-all, adjustable diapers. Each diaper comes with a newborn insert (thinner and only fits the smallest setting) and a heavier adjustable insert. They come in an assortment of pastel and bright colors.

As for my personal experience: We had leakage from the start, which I initially chalked up to my baby girl's rather tiny backside. However, after a few more leaky attempts over the next several weeks, I finally discovered the error was mine in not taking better care to either a) change them more frequently or b) double up on the absorbent inserts. After learning how to better use the diapers, I have yet to experience a leak or blow-out (knock on wood!).

For overnight (or extended outtings, etc), I use two inserts, and I have no issue with leaks. Plus, unlike some cloth diapers, BumGenious 3.0 diapers actually wick away moisture like disposables, so babies are not uncomfortable, and their bottoms are kept dry (which also prevents diaper rash, something else I have not encountered at all with these diapers).

Laundering them is a breeze: one wash cycle on cold, one on hot and tumble dry on medium. They do recommend certain detergents (free of perfumes, dyes, etc). We use All Free & Clear without issue, however a friend of mine encountered diaper rash and was advised by the company to use their recommended detergent. We wind up doing a load of diapers and cloth wipes about every other or every third day. And they wash up great - with the waterproof outer lining, the outside stays free of unsightly stains.

As for convenience and ease--changing a BumGenius 3.0 diaper is no different than changing a disposable. The Velcro tab design gives you the same ease and efficiency. When outside the home, a wet bag (or even a plastic bag suffices) will store up to three dirty diapers and can be tossed in the wash as well.

My one and only complaint: the additional padding (as compared to a disposable) means that some pants (e.g. denim, khaki styles) are sadly just too tight. Going up a size in pants likely solves that problem, however.

Final verdict: I absolutely love my BumGenius 3.0 diapers! It's great to know we have no real waste (other than my daughter's, of course!) and are saving a bundle.

Still a skeptic? Try one and see for yourself, risk-free. Cotton Babies offers a money-back guarantee on the BumGenius 3.0 diapers (use one within two weeks of purchase and if you're not happy, send them back for a full refund).

Where to Buy
Direct from manufacturer (they also sell seconds at a discount):
For a list of retailers, visit

Note: I purchased an 18-pack set (not available from the manufacturer) through and also received 6 Bigger Weeds (additional inserts for super absorbency) free. Their current special offer is even better! Click here for details.

Additional sites I like:
Cotton Babies

One Step Further ... A DIY, Homemade Wipes Solution

You can purchase cloth wipes from the same makers as cloth diapers, however I made mine myself and love them. I simply bought some flannel fabric in fun prints, cut them down to an 8x8 square, and stitched the edges to keep them from fraying. As for wipe solution, I boil 2 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of baby bath soap (I use Aveeno). I usually make a double batch (lasts several weeks) and fill a small spritzer, keeping the rest in a glass jar. I spray the wipe before cleaning my daughter's backside, and typically only need one wipe per diaper change.

For additional wipe solution recipes, click here.