Thursday, August 25, 2016

Solo Parent Sucks.

I try hard to keep a positive mindset, about all things in life. I know that God has blessed me beyond measure. I have two beautiful, perfect children who consume my heart and soul. I adore them more than words can express.

Just over a month ago, the kids and I made the transition to civilian life. Upon the news that my husband would be medically discharged from the army in the coming months, he decided that it was the best move for our family for the kids and I to move back to the mitten state to get settled, find a house, and find stable sources of income to support us during this process of adjusting to a non-military lifestyle.

During this time, we've been able to stay with my parents. I'm incredibly grateful to have a support system as strong as I do to make this transition a little easier. Knowing we'll have a roof over our heads while we find a house of our own is so very comforting.

All that being said, solo parenting sucks.

I'm exhausted. All the time. The kids haven't grasped the boundaries set for them in my parents' home, so there's no such thing as productivity while they're awake. One of them is constantly getting into something they're not supposed to. The baby swimming in the dog water. The preschooler digging through the fridge. The baby pulling vents out of the floor. The preschooler going outside without telling me. The baby throwing things into the toilet. the preschooler playing in the bathroom. It's endless.

At our own home, we have good places for baby gates so I can contain them in safe places while I work. Here, that's not an option. I bought a book two weeks ago, and have read 35 pages. And feel accomplished I've read that much. I'm taking a semester off school because I know it will be practically impossible to keep up with it, while looking for a house, launching two businesses, adjusting to having a child in school, and learning to solo parent for an unknown amount of time.

Maybe I'm being a Debbie Downer tonight, but I'm just over it. When I tell our oldest "no," she screams for daddy, or grandma, or papa, or anyone who she think will coddle her and go against what I say. If I tell her no, and someone else comes home shortly after, she'll ask them and get what she wants anyway. My parenting styles are constantly under scrutiny, between still nursing our one year old (the WHO recommendation is to nurse until at least two years of age), "extended" rear facing (even though the law is now to rear face until two in MI), time outs, discipline, taking away screen time... I feel like everything I do is under a microscope and it's exhausting.

I didn't feel like this when we were in our own home, and maybe that's only because no one was there constantly, watching my every move. But now I can't help but feel like I'm doing everything wrong. I'm most definitely in survival mode now, and it's only been a month. I'm terrified for what the next year and a half (or more) holds for my sanity and self worth. Single moms, I tip my hat to you. I don't know how you do it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Favorite Cloth Diaper Things

We've been cloth diapering Baby James for eight months now, exclusively except during our move (that was a long week and a half!). We've got a great system down and I'd love to share my favorites things with you (with links to Amazon! Yay!).

Our Favorite Diapers:

Rumparooz One Size Pocket Diapers: There are a few reasons we love them. They are double gusseted so leaks are rare. I also love the insert system. They fit great and have a bunch of cute colors and prints too. We used these from newborn on up.

BumGenius One Size Pocket Diapers: We used these with Miss A too, and I really liked them. They fit very similarly to the Rumparooz, but don't have the double gussets. We still rarely have leaks though.

BabyKicks Premium Pocket Diapers: I only have two of these, but I love them. They're very trim fitting. They also fit from newborn on up.

We also have a selection of BumGenius Freetimes and Thirsties All-in-Ones that we really like too. The all-in-one style is super convenient for laundry and travel, but I do appreciate the ability to change up inserts when needed.

Our Favorite Inserts:

Rumparooz Bamboo 6r Soakers are my absolute favorite. These are the only ones we've found that aren't crazy bulky, that get us through the night without leaks. They come with two inserts, the large, and the "newborn"/doubler. We use both for overnight and it works great. 

Our Favorite Diaper Rash Creams:

Coconut Oil: I love this stuff for every day use. It's cloth diaper safe, and good for everything. Diaper rashes, skin moisturizer, cracked/dry nipples from nursing, stretch mark itching, and a million other things. Spectrum is my favorite brand. 

Earth Mama Angle Baby Bottom Balm: This was the first "cloth safe cream" we actually tried. It works amazing. This past week, Baby J had a terrible teething caused diaper rash, and this stuff has knocked it out so fast. It's also on the lower end of the cost scale too. 

Motherlove Diaper Rash and Thrush Relief: This is another amazing cream too. Super versatile and pretty inexpensive. I love it! 

Our Favorite Accessories:

Grovia Cloth Wipes: I've tried a handful of different cloth wipes, but these are my favorite. They're a good size, but not bulky. And they're pretty cheap compared to others I've tried too. 

Lusa Wipe Juice: I love this stuff. It smells amazing, and leave lil man's butt super soft. I bought the 4oz bottle when Baby J was just a few weeks old, and just placed an order for another bottle this past week. It lasts forever. We actually use it in my peri-bottle, just a little in each bottle. 

Planet Wise Pail Liners: With Miss A, I used a different pail liner, and it was constantly falling in the pail. These stay in place super well, and come in a ton of colors. We got a brown one and an orange one to match our hunting themed nursery. 

Bumkins Diaper Sprayer: The diaper sprayer is a new thing for us. But it is a life saver. One thing we definitely needed with this is the Spray Pal. It saves a LOT of mess. I highly recommend both once baby starts solids. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment and I'll let you know what we use! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Moving, Again.

Now that I've had almost 24 hours to process this, I can say with a lot of mixed emotions that we are moving, again. Yesterday, Hubs got a call requesting his leave packet for our PCS. To his knowledge we weren't going anywhere, since we have barely been at Fort Benning for a year. But sure enough, the Simmons family is heading to Fort Riley, KS in late January 2016.

This definitely came as a huge surprise, since we were under the impression that he would be finishing out the last two years of his contract here at Benning. Yet, this is the life. We will have been here for a total of 14 months when we leave.

I am feeling excited, sad, nervous, frustrated, and a slew of other emotions. He will be getting out of Tradoc, and moving back to a normal unit, which means more tank time. This makes my husband's heart happy. We'll be roughly the same distance from Michigan as we are now, which makes me happy. We'll get snow there, we are excited to travel, and we will get to experience a part of the nation that we've never seen before. But, we'll be leaving Benning.

I never thought I'd become this attached to a place that I was only at for a year, a place that we didn't really care to go to in the first place, a place that really hasn't been that great. But when I look at all we will be leaving, I am definitely feeling sad. We'll be leaving the house we brought James home to. We'll be leaving some great neighbors and an amazing church family. We'll be leaving our friends and Adalin's (who haven't already left for a PCS or ETS). We'll be leaving some great local shops that I love going to. We'll be leaving the hospital that James was born in. We'll be leaving our amazingly huge yard in the boonies, and adapting to on-post living. We'll be leaving the "Chattapoochie" river, and all Adalin's jokes about it. There is so much I have enjoyed about this place, I can honestly say that I'll be sad to leave, especially this soon.

I'm frustrated that I'll be moving my business once more, after finally feeling settled here like I wanted. It has only been the last couple months that I've felt like I had built an awareness and decent clientele. It had been a rough year getting started in this area, and now I am faced with doing it again. While it certainly stinks... this is the life.

I'm doing my best to focus on the positive, and work through all the steps to make this PCS go smoothly. We will be letting the Army move us this time, unlike last time when we moved ourselves with the help of family. Since we have a 15+ hour drive to Riley, we will be breaking up the drive and do some sight seeing. We're going to stop in Memphis and probably somewhere in Missouri. I'm excited to cross a few more states off my list that I never thought I'd go to, like Arkansas. Moving on post, after having such an enormous yard, is going to be a big adjustment- especially for the dogs. But we will take it in stride, and look forward to good times in the future.