Tag: mommy

Diapers, diapers, diapers!

Now that’s a charming title, right?

Diapers are a reality of living with babies. Well, I suppose unless you’re a proponent of Elimination Communication. (It’s a thing. Go look it up.) I’m pretty sure I couldn’t make that system work for me or our baby’s caregivers, so we’re sticking with diapers. For all of our kids, we’ve done a hybrid of cloth and disposable diapers. I get a lot of questions about why and how and what and what does this mean, so here’s my cloth diaper brain dump!

Cloth Diaper Brain Dump

Cloth diapers save us money in the monthly expenses of diapers, particularly since we live in a warm and sunny climate that doesn’t require additional dryer time. More on that later. Cloth also saves some landfill fodder, which is always good! Our use of cloth has slightly diminished with each child, partly due to time constraints. The biggest constraint, though, is who’s taking care of the baby. No, this isn’t a Daddy vs. Mommy thing … this is just the reality of Will’s business picking up and our younger kids being in preschool/Parents’ Day Out earlier than the older two were. I still love cloth diapers and plan to use them as much as possible with our new baby, too.

Jude @ Tiny
Newish Jude in a newborn Fuzzi Bunz

There are a LOT of different types of cloth diapers. I primarily use pocket diapers with snaps. They’re my favorites because you can wash them and dry them within a day, usually. All in one diapers are like pockets but don’t come apart, which means they take longer to dry. Some people get icked out by removing the insert from pocket diapers, but I see so much gross stuff as a mom anyway that this really isn’t that different! Some people use internal liners to make waste removal into the toilet (once they start eating solids) easier … I just felt like that was more $$ and trash in the landfill. (Even if it’s biodegradable.) I like snaps over velcro (also called aplix on diaper sites) because velcro wears out and kids can undo velcro! They also make diaper sprayers that connect to your toilet’s water line so you can spray solid waste directly into the toilet. THAT is tempting.

I used Fuzzi Bunz perfect size with Seth and Nora. Over the 4.5 years since I bought them (and used for 3 years!), the elastic wore out and needed to be replaced. I didn’t have time or patience to do that, so I switched to a few Rumparooz (which I love!) and BumGenius 4.0. There’s a a local boutique that I use for a lot of the more crunch-mama type things (non-lanolin nipple ointment, healing sprays and ointments for after birth, nursing bras, baby wraps/carriers, diapers) called Nurtured Family. It’s “local” to us … it’s northwest Houston, so still a good 45 – 60 minutes away from me. They are awesome. (Side note: They’ll also do nursing bra fittings for you, free classes on cloth diapering and baby wearing, and they’re great about swapping stuff out.) I got my Fuzzi Bunz there but to be very honest, I got my BG 4.0 at Buy Buy Baby, one at a time, with my periodic 20% off coupon. Then Nurtured Family had a big sale on the bulk order of diapers – Buy 5, get 1 free – and that was how I finished out my stash.

I think we have about 14-15 diapers, and that’ll usually get us through a day and a half while we do laundry. That’s during the early baby stages of lots of peeing and pooping, of course. Once they start on solid food and their systems shift to pooping less frequently (again, the Glamour of Parenting), you don’t have nearly as many. You could let them sit for a while in the wet pail while you build up a bigger load of laundry, but the stink always drives us to wash earlier than I’d like. That’s also because by the older age my kids are at preschool the majority of the time.

Jude napping in BumGenius
Jude napping in BumGenius

I’ve sent my kids to preschool in cloth diapers, and our caregivers were very accommodating. Even the best of intentions can sometimes lead to mistakes – parental or caregiver – like using diaper creams with the cloth diapers. Most creams will harm the absorbency of the diaper, so most of the time I default to disposable for during the day at preschool. I also tend to use disposable diapers once baby is sleeping longer at night, too. My kids all seem to be heavy wetters at night, and even double inserts can’t contain them sometimes.

The biggest “hardships” about cloth diapers are that most of the time you use a special detergent that won’t cause build-up. It lasts forever, though, because you’re only using it on diapers! I use the Rockin Green detergent. Never ever use fabric softener with your diapers! If you use liquid fabric softener on your other loads of laundry, you may want to think about switching to dryer sheets (or white vinegar) or doing a few loads without before you do your diapers. We found that the liquid fabric softener tended to leave a residue in the washer that would build up on our diapers. **Note: I’ve seen some sites start to recommend various Free & Clear detergents. Always check your diaper manufacturer’s recommendations. Those do NOT work well for my water hardness and diaper type.

We only line-dry our diapers (to save electricity and avoid softener build-up in the dryer), which is easy here in Houston. We put them on a sturdy drying rack or clothesline outside. They dry fairly quickly, and we have the advantage of the sun bleaching out the unattractive stains. 🙂 (It’s magic … try it on other stained clothing. Get it wet, dry it in the sun, and a lot of the stains will disappear.)

Prepping Fuzzi Bunz for Baby
Prepping Fuzzi Bunz for Baby

Another challenge of cloth diapers is the bulk of carrying them around. It’s not really that bad, though. I’ve also found that the Skip Hop Duo diaper bag has been great at carrying cloth diapers and all my other baby stuff around. It’s like a Mary Poppins bag, but it’s not enormously bulky! You also need some sort of bag to put wet diapers in. I’ve attached one of those dog poop baggie dispensers to put any sort of soiled diaper or clothing in. We also keep a gallon-sized ziploc in the diaper bag for soiled diapers.

So … there’s my brain dump! 🙂 Here’s a good link for learning some of the terminology. There’s a whole wide world of obsession out there …

Did you or will you cloth diaper? Which disposables are your favorites? I’m a Pampers Swaddlers fan, myself.

Things I’ve Learned (So Far) As a Mom

Things I’ve learned as a Mom:

  • There are never, ever enough AAA or AA batteries in the house.
  • There will be too many of the WRONG kind of batteries in the house when your child clamors for the other kind.
  • Always keep a Philips screwdriver in the kitchen drawer.
  • Nature’s Miracle is handy for pet messes and for a light spray-down of a potty-training kid’s mattress.
  • Check your own pockets for tissues and chapstick before doing the laundry.
  • Diaper rash ointment can be handy for Mom’s running problems as well as baby’s bottom
  • Every work of art is precious
  • But take a picture of it and get rid of it or it will BREED LIKE RABBITS
  • Only get rid of it when the kids aren’t looking
  • Or teach the kids the value of recycling early in their lives
  • Also: “This is how we make room for MORE art!”
  • Keep an extra storage tote handy for dropping in seasonal decor that didn’t quite make the Easter clean-up of Christmas decorations (what, is it just me?)
  • Sometimes a ten-minute timer makes cleaning into a game or a race, especially if there’s a prize at the end
  • That works on kids too
  • Throw the laundry detergent cup into the load after you add the soap. No more sticky residue!
  • Also: keep the extra ones when you buy new detergent.
  • Also: remember to get it out of the washer before you transfer the load to the dryer. Ha!
  • Finally … three hours of kid-free cleaning while at home and sick still accomplishes the same as two weeks worth of cleaning while the kids are around.

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I’m trying a Summer Blog Project to get myself to write more regularly. The project is – wait for it – blogging during the summer. I know! You can follow along by liking the Treacle.Net Facebook page!

 

My Homemaker BĂŞte Noire

Oh man, you guys. I need some help.

Since we’re among friends, I will freely admit that I have lots of shortcomings in the homemaker area. As in, I really don’t excel at it. I hate cleaning, I organize people and schedules better than clothes and dishes and laundry, and I can’t decorate a home to save my life. I see Pinterest boards of beautiful homes and rooms (here’s my dream board) and wonder how people come up with these ideas.

I want this to be my living room:

Pinned from Four Generations, One Roof

In reality, I have this – the laundry couch and the “what, you want to actually SIT here?” couch:

The Laundry Couch
The Laundry Couch
Wait, you want to SIT here?
Wait, you want to SIT here?

I’d love for the kids’ playroom to be this:

clean playroom that is not at my house
Pinned from Houzz.com

But right now we have this:

When children run amok
When children run amok
At least the window blows out some of the messy detail
At least the window blows out some of the messy detail

I’ve tried and failed at various organizational methods, so now I’m going to try again. Because like I said, no change means you stay in the situation you’re already in.

Fact: Five people live in this house. There will always be laundry.
Fiction: Laundry has to immediately be put away, wrinkle-free, and on color-coordinated hangers.
Deal with it, Erin: put the laundry away so people have a place to sit.

Fact: Children are messy and not naturally inclined to organize their toys.
Fiction: Children cannot be taught to clean up their messes.
Deal with it, Erin: Someone has to teach them and build cleaning up into their daily schedules. And they’re learning by watching, so you better clean up along with them.

Fact: Most of my days are spent away from home.
Fiction: I get a pass on cleaning when I am home, because I’m tired.
Deal with it, Erin: It’s not fair to hope someone else will magically take care of all the messes. It’s also not fair to get all crazy and upset every few weeks because you’ve let the messes spawn.

Ugh.

I have some other ideas of things I could do with organization systems, but right now it’s boiling down to this:

  1. Get rid of some crap and junk in the playroom. Okay, around the house in general. Look into toy rotation, too.
  2. Spend at least 10 minutes a day cleaning up, with a little more on the weekend.
  3. Get one storage tote for each child (maybe even the grown-ups) and label it “Next.” Next season, next size, whatever makes sense for the person. Then put all the other ones away.

How do you tame the household chaos you can’t stand?

Not as easy as they say.

One statement I’ve heard a lot about running:

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“It’s the easiest sport ever! You just put on some running shoes and go outside!”

Totally correct! Except when it’s not. I think it’s a gross over-simplification that breaks down pretty quickly for many people. For me, that could have been correct when I was under 30, single, or newly married.

These days – with three children (toddler up to now first-grader), an awesome husband, and a full-time job away from home – it’s more like this:

20140606-103204-37924347.jpgIs it worth it? Absolutely. Is it easy? No way, and I’m not even talking about the running part of running.

I love reading running blogs, but need to go beyond my usual reads. They’re great women, but they’re mostly child-free and younger than me. I am serious when I say that I love reading their posts and have learned a lot from them. I need to find some peers to round out my reading, you know? I start putting unrealistic expectations on myself otherwise.

I had a conversation online with some other mom friends who are working fitness into their lives in various ways. It is HARD. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom who stays and works at home or if you’re a mom who’s working outside the home. Filling at least three roles (individual, partner, and mother) takes a lot of time and energy. Adding a fourth role – RUNNER – brings in a whole new dimension of strategy.

I run in the early morning or in a gym at the end of the work day. For the early morning, I run outside in our neighborhood. I have had to think through the things that would make me feel safer … reflective gear, light-colored clothing, lower music volume, CONSTANT VIGILANCE (thank you, Professor Moody), sticking to well-lit sidewalks, and timing my run so that I’m running more toward sunrise than not. I totally bailed on running when DST started because it was just too dark. Also never pictured in my post-run photos: the pepper spray I try to remember to carry every time. Not just for humans, but for any dogs whose owners aren’t being smart about them. I’m also thinking about buying a reflective vest type thing to wear when I run early morning. Early mornings work for me because kids are asleep, my husband can shower and start to get ready, and it’s the coolest part of the day here. I hate getting up, but that’s the trade-off I have to make.

I think that’s the big conversation you have to have with your partner and yourself: trade-offs. If we both agree this is something important to do for my mental and physical health, we both have to agree to make space for it somehow and address associated concerns. If the concern is being left alone at a certain time with the kids, what are the alternative plans that don’t result in that and what steps do we take to mitigate additional concerns? If the concern is safety of running location or time, what are the adjustments to be made to meet those concerns? Which primary concern “wins” for both of you so that you agree to make the adjustments for the secondary concern?

Adding in the Runner role requires change. It is NOT the easiest sport ever for me. It requires flexibility from everyone. There is no absolutely perfect solution that requires no change, because no change keeps you in the situation you’re already in. Something always has to give – time, routine, or money for a gym with childcare so mommy can exercise and not lose her head.

The pay-off has been totally worth it. My daughter plays “runner” now, in the middle of being a princess-astronaut-doctor-mom. She went to go have her run “in space” after putting her babies in bed. My oldest son wants to start running with me every week. My toddler already loves the jogging stroller. I don’t want to smack strangers as often as I used to. It’s awesome … it’s just not easy.