Tag Archives: inspiration

Out of TP? Try this

UrbanHippieMama, circa 2009

Once upon a time, I was UrbanHippieMama – a Mommy Blogger.

I wrote about my daily life with three small children, as a crunchy-attachment-parent – we are a special and tired breed. Blogging helped me feel connected to other full-grown humans, while that season of life required 110% of my energy and attention…kind of like a shelter in place order may.

When my dear, toiletpaperless, friend called the other night to ask about my experience using “family cloth,” I realized my crunchy roots may be helpful to a more mainstream audience right now. If you don’t know what “family cloth” means, read on. If you already do, feel free to stop at any time – that is, unless you have run out of toilet paper and have resorted to paper towels or leaves collected from a nearby wildlife area (yes, people are in fact doing this). What you are about to read may actually be the saner, more sanitary choice – and it’s definitely a hell-of-a-lot more gentle on your behind.

So without further ado, I bring you UrbanHippieMama, with all of the details you never thought you’d want to know about “family cloth.”


February 20th, 2008

As most of you know, we exclusively use cloth diapers on our boys, and what is known as “family cloth” for the rest of the members of our family. Some of you might recoil at the thought of cloth diapering… I can’t imagine what you did when you clicked on that link for family cloth, and realized that we wipe our bums with a piece of fabric (our favorites are terry, sherpa, and flannel).

To dispel one commonly held false belief: No, we do not all share the same cloth. We don’t even reuse a cloth. We get a fresh cloth EVERY time we wipe! There…I’m glad I got that out of the way.

Back to the recoilers: I know that different people have different tolerances for different substances that seem gross or dirty or just plain smelly. I get that. But, to tell you the honest truth, the only thing that I think anyone would really cringe about is the actually dunk, swish, and wring-out of the poopy diaper in the toilet…that is really the only time I come in contact with the poo. And, if I really didn’t want to, I wouldn’t have to–there are plenty of nifty gadgets out there that will do the poop-removal for you. I just have never minded enough to go spend money on one of those things. But, even if you did, the investment you make in cloth diapers and gadgets for them would still FAAAAAAAAAR outweigh what one would spend on disposables. (2020 note: this may or may not be a factual statement when you run the numbers – depending on many factors – but I do appreciate the gusto). And that doesn’t even take into consideration what those plastic diapers are doing to our earth. Ick.

Anyway, I didn’t come here to convince you to actually try any of our methods (although that would be a nice bonus)… I promised a description of our system. So, here is what it looks like:

Cloth Wipes

Next to each toilet there is a small trash basket with a flip-top lid that is filled halfway with water and a few good squirts of Bac-Out. After you use a cloth wipe, you open the lid, toss it in the water to soak, and close the lid. About once or twice a week I take off the lid, pour off as much water as I can into the toilet, and I dump the wipes straight into the washing machine with the dirty diapers.

**A side note about the functionality of the wipes for #2: they rock. Rich even admitted to me last week that he hates to use TP now, just because the cloth wipes are so much more comfortable and you get so much cleaner. It is probably a step towards how I heard a woman who grew up in a European country with a bidet explain her first experience after moving to the US and her astonishment and disgustedness when she had to use toilet paper, feeling as if she was just “smearing it all around.” Ewwww.

Back to the wash: so, all of the diapers and wipes are in the washing machine. I put in a little less than the recommended amount of Charlie’s soap (we also have used Country Save and SUN Free & Clear…(although the latter wasn’t made for HE washers so we stopped using it), set the machine on it’s sanitary cycle (which is pretty cool as far as ease of mental stress about whether the diapers are really getting “clean” or not, but is actually totally unnecessary and really probably wears our diapers out much faster) with the extra skin care rinse (to get out alllllll of the detergent–the most important thing about washing cloth diapers), and let her rip. Sometimes I will add a pre-wash with non-chlorine bleach, or an extra rinse with white vinegar, but this is our standard routine.

After they are done doing their thing, I (currently) toss them all up into the dryer with NO dryer sheet or fabric softener or anything (this leaves a residue that makes fabric not absorbant–the opposite of what we want our diapers and wipes to be!) and set them on the hottest setting. After we move I will hang them on the clothes lines out back, instead, and then maybe give them a little fluff in the dryer afterwards.

It was very easy for us to incorporate family cloth, since we were already washing diapers anyway–but I have contemplated whether or not it will continue after the boys are out of diapers, and I do believe it will. (2020 Note: It did not. But it may make a guest appearance now!) The wipe laundry would constitute about a load a week, and since our washing machine knows what size the load is, it should use the appropriate amount of water (which is not a whole lot). It is definitely worth it to us for the comfort, savings, and reduction in paper product usage.


If you give some version of cloth TP a try, I’d love to know how it goes and what you learn! Take good care, my friend. Be well. 

For Us: A Love Note for Struggling Parents

I wrote this for myself, to lovingly and boldly address the part of me that sometimes believes I’m not doing a good enough job as a mother. May it feed the soothing voice in you and help to turn down the volume on your own worries.

xo, Breana

Right now is a particularly challenging time in your parenting journey, and that’s ok. Your kids are growing a lot – transitioning through adolescence into adulthood. This is new for all of you, you are all learning how to meet this new time in your lives, to grow and expand into it. Sometimes you’re at a loss — you feel scared and helpless and like you’re messing it all up — and that’s ok. It’s better than ok, it’s perfect. This is your brain, working to create new connections. Growing and evolving, pressed to its edge and actively working out new creative solutions. This is your heart, opening and expanding, becoming bigger and even more able to hold all that Life presents you.

Even while things are scary and hard, may there be parts of your parenting that you feel good about and love. May you love how lighthearted you can be with your kids, and how much fun you are able to have together. May you like how much you enjoy them and care about them deeply as people. May you appreciate your practice of seeing them as they truly are. May you acknowledge the example you set for your kids of consistently moving toward what feels better, listening to your heart and following where it leads. May you find something new everyday to love about yourself as a parent.

May you know that even while you’re scared or hurting, it’s your birthright to cultivate a space of peace inside, to know you’re doing your absolute best in every moment, and to trust that you can set down the reigns of your vigilance so that you may rest and care for yourself. You get to be human along this journey of parenting, and you get to allow your kids to be human, too. You are all fumbling forward together, learning, growing, messing up, and being people on this earth together.

Sometimes it feels so overwhelming and big, but for now, in this moment, you can do this. You can handle the unknown, the fumbling through, the worry that calls you back to presence. You can love your children fiercely, and enjoy your life and take care of yourself — even when you’re not guaranteed that they are safe or happy.

May you be willing to meet all of this. May you be willing to feel the pain of stretching and growing. May you be willing to walk yourself through right now. May you be willing to remember to let go of what you can’t control. May you be willing to catch yourself doing it wrong and course-correct. May you be willing to get better at letting things be what they are. May you be willing to learn through daily practice to take nothing personally. May you be willing to show up in love for and with them, over and over, knowing there are no guarantees. May you be willing to fall in love with the process of parenting — this journey of a lifetime. May you be willing to let them fall, let them feel the weight of their actions and to be there to love them as they deal with the consequences.

These moments can feel gut-wrenching, and you know other parents on planet earth sometimes experience circumstances with their kids that push them to their very edge. It’s ok for you to have this experience too. You’re just one more human being to know this particular painful circumstance, and you’re in good company. May you be willing to feel your oneness with all kinds of people all over the planet having this experience on different levels. You can feel compassion for them. May you flip that and extend it to yourself.

May you consider how you’re feeling now to be a part of your guidance system. Worry and guilt do not serve, and yet they call us to look at the pain — to not ignore it…to take action to relieve it. May you know that this experience serves you, that it is perfectly orchestrated for your evolution and you can trust it. May you see all of the ways that Life has carried you through so far, and know it just keeps getting better and better, the more you open and trust.

And so, may you just be in this moment — feel breath fill you with life, and smile with the joy and gratitude for getting to know these amazing beings so intimately. With appreciation for the ways Life constructs the perfect lessons to draw you toward the next right step on your unique path. And with trust that you can endure, survive, thrive-through, open-to, learn-to-love any experience Life brings.


*This piece was born out of a homework assignment given by the brilliant Jaya The Trust Coach, taken from her Expansion! class. If you’re in a time of life where you feel pressed to your edge, her wisdom and guidance can help you return to the truth of yourself and this loving universe.

Andrea Gehrz: Interpreter with Bright Focus

Andrea Gehrz
ASL Interpreter, Master Astrologer, & Owner of the Moira PressAndy Gehrz, interpreter, astrologer, author

971.404.5068 or agehrz@gmail.com

Describe the work or activity that you are passionate about:

I am passionate about teaching the ancient science of light, otherwise known as astrology.  More specifically, I am very interested in resurrecting ancient Greek astrological texts in order to teach what I learn to modern day students of astrology.

Andrea Gehrz, chart reading, client, personal growth

Andrea, with a client

How do you feel when you are engaged in it?

When I am in the process of translating ancient Greek texts, I feel a great sense of excitement at what I find in the text itself.  I also experience a feeling of accomplishment at being able to apply the unique skills I have learned through sign language interpreting to these ancient and profound works.  To be honest, it feels magical.  Always.

ancient greek, translated by Andrea Gehrz

Ancient Greek

How has this work affected or changed your life?

This work has affected my life deeply.  Not only has it expanded my knowledge base in general, it also has opened my eyes to what is possible in one short lifetime. On a daily level, this work has given me a sense of purpose. No matter what I do, I always know that there are ancient Greek texts waiting to be translated, and students waiting to learn high level astrology.

book translation, Andy Gehrz

An Introduction to the Tetrabiblios of Ptolemy, Translated by Andrea Gehrz

How does it inform your interpreting?

In terms of interpreting, this process has attuned me to the importance of choosing texts wisely.  In my current ASL interpreting practice, I now attempt to focus my work on texts that excite me. I am much more likely to prioritize jobs that contribute to my core values in some way.

Why do you do this work? What’s your motivation for doing it?

I do this work because I thrive in challenging situations. The work itself is continually interesting, and contributes to a more fascinating world. Working on ancient texts touches me in a way that the modern world cannot.  While today’s pace is quick and ever-changing, these ancient texts offer consistency and focus.

What advice do you have for someone just beginning to align their work with their heart?

Open your heart to the wisdom of your highest self, your oversoul.  Consult often and with gusto.

Andy Gehrz

This is the second post in a series on interpreters who are putting their hearts back at the center of their work. To read other stories and get inspired toward the life of your dreams, click here. If you’d like to be featured or know someone who’s doing something great please email me!