How Baby Wearing Saved me During Deployment

Being a new mom is hard! Being a new mom and a solo parent all at once is double hard! There is no one else around to hold the baby when doing household chores, or someone to do those chores for you! Enter baby wearing! Without it this deployment time period would have been so much more difficult!

Before I was pregnant I spent years and years babysitting. And during those years I discovered the beauty of baby wearing! It made chasing other kids so much easier! Have a toddler want to get out of the house but have a little one to watch too? Pop that baby in the carrier and chase the toddler around wearing him out!

So when I found out I was pregnant I was so excite to get to wear my own baby! But until she was here I just didn’t understand how big a part of my life it was going to be! As ya’ll know my hubby has been in Korea for most of baby’s first year, and although I live with my parents I know its not their job and responsibility to watch my baby all the time or to clean up after me. But being the only parent around the house day in and day out, my little girl has become quite clingy and only wants to be with mom a good part of the day.

Don’t get my wrong I love the cuddles, but it makes it very difficult to get anything done if every time I leave the room she screams! Which let me tell you, definitely happens! That meant every time I needed to pee, make food, do dishes, hang laundry, get laundry off the line, I was greeted by sad cries of my little girl!

Enter my baby carrier! I started with just two different carriers- a Baby K’tan and  Baby Tula Free-to-Grow structured carrier.

But soon after actually using them when she was just a couple months old, my collection quickly grew because I realized just how valuable this baby item was to my sanity!

Why baby wearing saved my sanity this deployment

Anyone who has spent any amount of time (whether a weekend or a year) Solo Parenting know that if there are kids in the house it can become difficult to get chores done, dinner made, or even just give your arms a break for a hot minute! When your solo parenting stent is a bit shorter it can be more justifiable to let housework wait, and eat take out for a couple days. But when you’re solo-parenting for a whole year, these things are just unavoidable.

I got chores done!

I tried everything to keep her contained to do chores. I tried doing them during naps and she would wake up, I tried putting her in the highchair with a toy- she screamed; I put her in the exersaucer where she could see me- and she screamed. One day I gave up, popped her in the carrier and realized I was able to do so much all without her screaming! It was a game-changer!

Not only could I clean my floors, hang laundry, and take the dog out; but, when she’s on my back I can even do dishes & prep and to some degree cook dinner! And more than that! She was so so happy to be hanging with mom

I get out of the house

When you’re the only parent while running errands it can get tricky! Especially when baby was itty bitty and couldn’t sit up in the cart babywearing was the only way to effectively grocery shop because otherwise the carseat took up the whole cart and I couldn’t push the stroller and a cart by myself.

Even more than errands- going to the beach, or other fun outings were made so much simpler than having to lug the stroller, which inevitably she would want out of and carried around leaving me to hold her one handed and push the stroller one handed.

Also it made travel solo internationally so simple!

It helped me heal

Due to some circumstances with her birth I was experiencing a lot of pain in my hand and wrist. Leaving me feeling like my wrist was weak and might snap while picking her up. Obviously, this is problematic when you’re the only parent around. With a newborn this can be hard because they want to be carried and cuddled. I didn’t want to deny her any cuddles, but some days is really was painful. BUT with the baby carrier she be cuddled up close to me without using my hand!

 

Baby wearing is my deployment hack when home solo parenting with a baby and even a toddler! I would love to hear your deployment parenting hacks? How do you get stuff done? Share your wisdom before I have to do this again!

 

 

Being a new mom is hard! Being a new mom and a solo parent all at once is double hard! There is no one else around to hold the baby when doing household chores, or someone to do those chores for you! Enter baby wearing! Without it this deployment time period would have been so much more difficult!

Daddy’s First Father’s Day

We spend so much time talking about Mama's first Mother's Day but there is something so essential that changes a man when he becomes a father. And as a mama there is nothing sweeter to see. Here are some ways you can celebrate dad for his first Father's Day!

We make a lot of fuss over Mother’s Day! Lots of lists of what Mother’s really want for Mother’s Day- gifts, a day away, a day of no responsibility, a mani/pedi, and on and on. But there is definitely a lot less love spread around the blogging world come Father’s Day. Well I am here to help all of the new, first time mom’s find incredible ways to help first time dads celebrate Father’s day!

This is our first year being celebrated as a mom and dad! Growing up for me we always did small little things- often hand made gifts and cards for Mother’s and Father’s day. It wasn’t a big holiday but we always enjoyed them together as a family. To me that is always the most important part, is being together. Celebrating that we are an even bigger family before.

This year unfortunately, due to the Army we are celebrating apart! But I don’t want my husband to miss out on being celebrated for being the awesome dad he is just because baby and I are away from him right now.

So whether you are together or apart this Father’s Day, here are some ways to help celebrate the father in your life!

 

If you are together, you have far more options for fun celebrations, so we are going to start there!

  • Does dad have a favorite hobby?
    • Chances are your hubby has been imagining enjoying all his favorite past times, and teaching them ton his little ones since he became a dad. Whether its fishing, hunting, sports, cars, or anything else there are probably ways he can share them with his little one even on his very first Father’s Day! Ok well maybe not hunting, but you can probably take the baby fishing at the lake or a fishing pond. Take the baby to a sporting event if its in season. The point is get out and do something with dad and baby, even if isn’t your favorite thing. It is his day! So do whatever it is with a smile on your face!
  • A 100% Daddy Spoiling Day
    • Ok so maybe dad’s favorite hobby’s aren’t baby friendly. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be spoiled on his day. Make his favorite meals, go his favorite places, watch his favorite shows and movies. Do whatever it is he wants! When it comes to Mother’s day this is often a popular route for showing mom appreciation but somehow it doesn’t always get translated to dad!

But, Maybe you are like us and dad is deployed or away for Father’s Day. Here are some ways you can celebrate him from afar!

  • Go all out on a care package!
    • Here are some great ideas for your first Father’s Day Care Package: a craft made by baby for dad. Framed picture of him and baby if you have any, or just framed picture of baby if you don’t. Send Dad his favorite treats- does he love a certain type of goodies that he can’t easily get where he is at? That is a great way to make him feel special. Do you have the ability to video call? Let him and baby spend some face time together via the computer! The older the baby the more fun it will be for her, but Dad will love it regardless! And finally send something with hand or foot prints in it. Being able to see a tangible item of baby’s growth will help make him feel like he isn’t missing as much!

Regardless of how you are spending Father’s Day help him feel special and celebrate him in his own way!

 

What is your families favorite way to celebrate Father’s Day?

We spend so much time talking about Mama's first Mother's Day but there is something so essential that changes a man when he becomes a father. And as a mama there is nothing sweeter to see. Here are some ways you can celebrate dad for his first Father's Day!

DIY ECO-CLEANING RECIPES WHEN YOU HAVE A BABY

People rarely care what kind of product they use to clean at home, most of them barely pay attention to all the harmful chemicals in the structure of their cleaners, but once you have a child you will try to start paying more attention to what kind of cleaning recipes you apply at home to keep baby safe.

People rarely care what kind of product they use to clean at home, most of
them barely pay attention to all the harmful chemicals in the structure of
their cleaners, but once you have a child you will try to start paying more
attention to what kind of cleaning recipes you apply at home to keep baby safe.

If you look at those back stickers on the cleaning products you will
probably notice a lot of warnings saying to keep away from children and the
harmful side effects they can cause if they come in close contact with
them.

As always we will count on our faithful natural cleaners- they represent no
danger to children and some are arguably considered even more effective
than the chemicals-based ones, those cleaners are the “usual suspects”-
lemon, white vinegar, baking soda and if you need something even more
stronger- hydrogen peroxide. Using these natural ingredients we can make
ourselves a lot of different types of DIY cleaners with strong cleaning
powers.

Using Baby Safe Homemade Cleaners

The use of home-made cleaners all from natural products are the best
resolution for your cleaning chores. The baby’s skin and brain are
especially vulnerable to chemicals and we strongly recommend you avoid
using them with your child around the house. Those DIY natural cleaners
will also improve the air quality in your home and decreases the amount of
air pollutants caused by the regular, store-bought cleaners. Avoid those at
any cost, because babies have faster respiration, which means they will
inhale faster and more of the pollutants.

Baby Safe Dish Washing

To perform a proper cleaning on your cookware and avoid the harmful
chemicals, you will need sea salt mixed with lemon juice or baking soda and
water mixed into a paste. It is better and safe to use those given that you
spent a lot of time in the kitchen with your baby in arms or in the
stroller. It will also ease your mind on the licking action that takes
place on whatever item’s close to your baby.

Baby Safe Laundry

When doing laundry and especially when using a fabric softener we suggest
you make your own, as the regular one contains lots of chemicals that can
endanger the well-being of our child- you will need one part vinegar[2] and
two parts water to achieve the desired result.

To clean the mirrors and the glass at home using natural cleaners you will
need to combine all the following ingredients in one spray bottle – ¼ cup
rubbing alcohol, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, ¼ cup white vinegar, 2 cups
water and if you want to you can also add a few drops of essential oil.
This mixture is highly effective window/glass cleaner and can’t have no
harmful effect to your baby(even if he tries to lick the cleaned surface).

Can’t forget to mention the recipe for removing stains, because let’s
face it- they are everywhere when baby’s on board. Here hydrogen peroxide
plays a main role, because of it’s incredible stain removing powers. You
should also try the mixture of washing soda and white vinegar- simply
sprinkle some soda on the stain and spray it with a mixture of white
vinegar and water with ratio 1:1.

And for the toughest stains we suggest a more complicated mixture, but
still as organic: 2/3 dish detergent, 2/3 cup of ammonia, 6 tablespoons
baking soda and 2 cups of warm water. Assemble all of these into a spray
bottle then spray action follows, wait for a few minutes and end with
regular laundering.

Those DIY natural cleaning solutions are not good just for your baby, but
also for you- one can never be too careful with what he uses to clean
around the house!

This Post was Brought to you by Zowie. Zowie Ashton is from London and her hobby is to write articles and
guides related to parenting and cleaning.  She runs a small company and loves to travel with her awesome family.

 

 

People rarely care what kind of product they use to clean at home, most of them barely pay attention to all the harmful chemicals in the structure of their cleaners, but once you have a child you will try to start paying more attention to what kind of cleaning recipes you apply at home to keep baby safe.

What it’s like When Your Baby Refuses the Bottle

Ah do you here that? Someone else is feeding the baby at 4am, you get to close your eyes a little longer! Except not because your baby refuses to eat from anything else except your boob. It can be exhausting and lonely even though you know it is good for your baby and you feel bad admitting otherwise, but its ok to.

Do you want to know how much money I have spent on bottles? Well don’t worry I am not going to add it all up, because I am pretty sure I do not want to know the total costs. Especially since it has been all for not. After all the money I have spent on countless brands of bottles, my baby still arches her back, screaming hysterically, and flailing arms and legs, turning beet red when given bottle. Clearly, not ideal!

While I absolutely love that I am able to successfully breastfeed my daughter, it would be nice to get a bit of extra sleep just one night while someone gives her the 4am bottle. I love her snuggles during that time, but if I could just run to the store and leave her with dad or grandma and grandpa without fearing her getting hungry and no way to nourish her.

It definitely makes things interesting and challenging. And exhausting. It can be lonely. Especially if you aren’t comfortable breastfeeding in front of others so you retreat to the bedroom at home, the car if you’re out, or if you’re lucky enough that the place your at has a nursing mom’s room. If only your baby would just take a bottle you could let someone else bond with the baby in that special way. You could shower without the baby having to be asleep. You could run a quick errand, get a massage, a manicure, or a much needed Starbucks!

But we are told we are the lucky ones. We can breastfeed. Our babies latch great, we make plenty of milk, we may even have a supply in the freezer hoping that one day baby will wake up and forget she hates her bottle. But sometimes, it does not feel so lucky that there is no break for us.

Now I know I am lucky, our breastfeeding relationship is great. At almost 5 months old we are going strong, with clearly no signs of stopping. Almost half way to our goal. I also know that I am lucky in that because I am blessed enough to stay home with her, there is no pressure to take a bottle other than convenience for me.

When we are told we are the lucky ones, it can feel stifling like we can’t wish for things to be different.

Ah do you here that? Someone else is feeding the baby at 4am, you get to close your eyes a little longer! Except not because your baby refuses to eat from anything else except your boob. It can be exhausting and lonely even though you know it is good for your baby and you feel bad admitting otherwise, but its ok to.

A Letter to my Military Child

April is The Month of the Military Child. Military children are the only members of the family that did not choose this life. They are resilient and adaptable. They go where they are told and move more in their short childhood than many do in their entire life!

April is The Month of the Military Child. Military children are the only members of the family that did not choose this life. They are born into it. They are resilient and adaptable. They go where they are told and move more in their short childhood than many do in their entire life! They make life both harder and easier for us as they give us a distraction during deployments and TDYs, but also require us to go through stints of solo-parenting which is never easy.

So even though my little one is still much much to young to know what is going on around here, that she will have had more than one home before she even turns one. That before she starts kindergarten we will most likely have lived in 3 or more states. That due to the “needs of the Army” we spent the much better half of her first year living with Granna and Papa away from Daddy. A  military child goes through so much more than will ever be none. But I want her to know I see her. So this is for her, so she can look back when she’s older and knows that I admire the strength she will grow up to have; that I believe in the resiliency she will develop.

To You My Military Child,

My little one, look how big and brave you are. As I sit here writing this you lay only feet away sleeping in a tiny dorm where we visit daddy in South Korea. I know you will never remember these days, one because you are tiny; and two because you spent the majority of the trip asleep in your carrier as we went from place to place adventuring. You won’t remember that when you were born it was your grandmother who sat with me because your daddy was far away. But you will hear these stories many many times as you grow up. And one day you will experience them and you will remember this path the military has led our family down. Because we don’t plan for it to end soon. But we don’t get to plan much. We are like the leaf in the river drifting to where the send us; never anchored down.

It can be a hard life, but a rewarding one. One filled with adventure and awe as we will travel places many never will- before you were six months old we made it to your first foreign country. Hopefully not your last. It will teach you resilience, perseverance, kindness, and so much more. I know this because I know what it is like to not have a childhood home. I know what it is like to move more times than you can count and can remember.

It will teach you to value memories made rather than objects as moving with many things gets tedious and inefficient. But your memories will last a lifetime. Cherish them and you will never forget where you came from and who you are. It will teach you that people are people no matter where they come from or what they look like. You will make friends of all races, genders, and anything else. It is the people who will pull you through the hard times and celebrate the good. Never underestimate the power of friendship, even when you struggle with a friend. An argument or disagreement doesn’t have to be the end. Everyone has different experiences it is what we learn and take away from them that shapes us.

It will be hard, goodbyes are hard, but thankfully with the technology we have it makes it so much easier to stay in touch. We may grow apart from people sometimes and that is ok, but be there when someone needs you and they will be there for you. You will have friends from all over the world, how many kids get to say that! It may not always feel that way, but remember it can be a blessing.

We won’t always be close to family. Sometimes, most of the time, your grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins will be far away. It will be hard, and you will miss them. But they will never stop loving you. They will always be in your corner no matter how far. They are always just a phone call away. Sometimes it will be daddy who is away. He will miss concerts, recitals, games, and school plays. He will miss Birthdays and Holidays. But know he does it because he loves you, not because he loves his job more. He makes that sacrifice to provide for us, to give you the best life possible. I know it can be hard to understand, but he will hate missing it, even more than you do. Know that he will always do everything in his power to be there physically for you. And when he can’t know that he is always there for you anyway.

But no matter what this life holds for us, know that we love you. That we see you, and that we are grateful for the sacrifices you will make every single day to help your daddy fulfill his dream. We will always be there for you and nothing about that will ever change.

Love,

your mom and dad.

 

 

April is The Month of the Military Child. Military children are the only members of the family that did not choose this life. They are resilient and adaptable. They go where they are told and move more in their short childhood than many do in their entire life!

Must Haves For Baby Sleep

Baby sleep sounds like an oxymoron, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes all you need to help your baby sleep is a bit of preparation and a few basic essentials you too can help your baby get some good sleep.

Baby Sleep… It sounds like a bit of an oxymoron to some. Even though all newborns seem to do is sleep, you some how managed to only ever be exhausted. That is because babies sleep only a couple hours at a time, which means you only have a couple hours of a time to sleep. And if you are anything like me, you don’t fall asleep quite as fast as your newborn. Or if your baby is like mine their favorite place to sleep is on top of you and so you never manage to get in a good nap along with them.

Now I am not going to pretend to be any sort of baby sleep expert. While my baby sleeps pretty good most nights at 4 months, we definitely don’t have nap times down pat. She naps in the car, she naps on me and will fall asleep briefly when I lay her in bed if I nurse her. But at nights she wakes once to eat between 4 and 5, and then again at 6 or 7 then sleeps till about 9am.

But we struggle greatly with nap times. I have a couple theories about why that is. With such a tiny house it is hard to get our room quiet enough, it is bright and sunny in the room which also makes it warm and it is nearly impossible to cool it down and get it dark.

But it also leads me to conclusion that what I am doing at night that fixes those things really are working.

So here are my top items to help my baby sleep:

1. Sound Machine

We keep a sound machine running in the bedroom. I like to use the ocean sounds. To me it is the most soothing white noise so I can still sleep while it blows out all the background noise of sirens, cars, and shouts throughout the neighborhoods.

This one has six different sounds you can choose from so you can choose the one that is right for you and your baby! Babies are so used to constant sound that silence can actually make it harder for them to sleep. Before babies are born they never experience silence as the inside of our bodies are quite noisy with all the blood rushing through the veins and arteries. That is why shushing helps. So yo prevent you from having to spend your evening making sushing sounds to help baby sleep, invest in one of these to help!

2. Sleep Sacks and Swaddles

Babies are not supposed to sleep with lose blankets to help reduce the risk of SIDS, but you also want to help keep them warm throughout the night. Also my baby is very active so having a sleep sack helps keeps her legs from flailing and keeping her awake. When she was itty bitty we used the zipper sleep pods, then because she was a very long baby she lengthed out of them pretty quickly so we moved to the velcro sleep swaddles. Then when she needed her arms out we moved to sleep sacks. It keeps her warm and I think it helps weigh downs her legs so she doesn’t lay in her bed and continue to play with her feet when she should be napping.

3. Pacifiers-

Ok, so I know not all babies take a pacifier, some never will. And that is ok. But if your baby does it can help so much. My baby loves her pacifier and often time when she is nursing at night she falls asleep when she unlatches she will often start rooting around. Not because she is still hungry but because she loves to suck- it is kinda what babies do. When I offer her the pacifier she takes it and drifts right off to sleep.

4. Full Belly

Babies sleep so much better when their bellies are full. However your schedule works whether you nurse the baby to sleep or feed her, get her ready for bed and then lay her down, just make sure that the last feeding of the night is a full feeding and baby has a full tummy. This will help baby sleep longer at night because they won’t be hungry as quickly.

5. Darkness-

This is probably the number one reason why my baby sleeps so great at night and hardly at all during the day. No matter what I do, I cannot make her bedroom dark in the day and keep it cool enough for her to sleep. If I close the windows the room will be super hot, and then she won’t be comfortable, but light streams into the room with them open.

And Snuggles.

When all else fails I know it can make the days long, and the nights even longer. But they are only that little for that day. When they wake up they will be bigger than you remember from the day before. And one day they won’t need or want your cuddles to fall asleep. So if you can just snuggle them. Baby’s crave physical contact. It makes them feel safe and secure and will in turn sleep better. And then as if the baby is a stick of dynamite, move them into their own bed as carefully as humanly possible! And with a little bit of luck hopefully you will get some sleep too!

 

Baby sleep sounds like an oxymoron, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes all you need to help your baby sleep is a bit of preparation and a few basic essentials you too can help your baby get some good sleep.

Last Year We had 2 Pink Lines, Today We have You

A year ago on St. Patrick’s Day you made my dreams come true! Just a couple days before I couldn’t imagine that in a year I would be a mom, but here I am. And Loving every single bit of it.

A year ago I woke up with nothing more than a feeling that I should take a pregnancy test. No missed period (or so I thought), no nausea, no symptoms. Just an overwhelming feeling that I should. And since I had plenty didn’t seem any harm in what I assumed would be wasting them. And then I saw it the faintest of faintest second line. I didn’t quite believe my eyes so I tried to take a second one but I only got a single line on that one. So I stopped and picked up one of those digital pregnancy tests on my way home that day. Saving it for the next morning to try again. Sure enough there it was. A positive test, two of them!! I went to my doctor for a confirmation test and that was positive too!

I couldn’t wait for my husband to get home from work so I could share this with him. A text just wasn’t going to do it! So I set about trying to find the best way to tell him. Do I blurt it out, try to be clever, get cute? I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep it from him so I went simple.

It was St. Patrick’s Day a quick trip to TJ Maxx and I found clover socks and a cute picture printed from Etsy and that was that.

I couldn’t imagine how just a year has changed my life. In my life I have gone through some crazy things in a year, but nothing has been as life changing as this. Just a couple short years ago I went from girlfriend, fiance to wife. That was a big change I know that sounds crazy to say because obviously motherhood is one of the biggest life changes that ever. But you just can’t fathom it until its happening even though this is something I have wanted for so long.

So here it is, a letter to you my baby on the one year anniversary I knew you were mine.

Dear Little One,

This is your momma and I love you more than you will ever know. I love you through every late night and early morning. I love you when all you want is me even when you deny me a break because of your refusal to take a bottle (even if I did work so hard to pump all that milk for you that will forever sit in my freezer now). And I would cuddle you forever if you would let me.

You are already showing me all your independence. You love playing and being active. You are so busy and you can’t even go anywhere yet. But I know that won’t last long. Our days are numbered for your stationary time. Then I will be exhausted while chasing you down for the rest of my life. But I will watch with joy as you find all the new things about this world we live in.

I look at you and see perfection. I had nine long months to prepare for you.To imagine what you would be like, look like, act life, sound like. And everything is more and better than I could ever imagine. Your first full laugh was the best thing I have ever heard. When you snuggle into my chest while nursing are such special moments that I will always treasure. Even your independence when you wiggle to free yourself from my arms because you area already so independent.

You just keep being your awesome little self and I will keep loving every sleepful and even sleepless moment with you. Because a year ago I had two pink lines (well more like 8, because I just couldn’t believe you were coming to me) but today my heart is more full than I could have ever imagined because I have you.

So St. Patrick’s Day may be considered a lucky day for the Irish.  But I could never have dreamed I would get so lucky!

Love,

Your Mom

3 Things To Consider Before Having A Baby

Many people believe they need to have their lives in perfect order before having a baby. In reality, many of the circumstances people worry about bringing a child into seem to have a way of working out and both the parent and the child are better for having overcome the challenge.

This week we have another Guest Post from Erica Johnson over at. She is sharing her Top 3 things you should consider before having a baby

 

Many people believe they need to have their lives in perfect order before they will be ready to have a child. In reality, many of the circumstances people worry about bringing a child into seem to have a way of working out and both the parent and the child are better for having overcome the challenge. However, there are some legitimate areas of life that are important to consider before you start trying for a baby. Here are a few areas that are worth some time and attention.

Here are Three Things you Should Consider Before Having a Baby

Finances

While you certainly don’t have to be rich to be a great parent, being aware of your current financial situation is wise. A new baby brings along several extra costs: In 2015, the estimated cost of raising a child for 18 years was $233,610. Having money in savings and learning how to maintain a balanced budget can help provide a cushion against unexpected expenses

A baby has only a few true physical needs: food, shelter, diapers, a safe sleeping area, a car seat and clothing. Taking a look at your current financial state to determine if you will be able to provide these necessities can allow you to make any changes to your budgeting and saving habits now.

Time

One of the most important things any baby needs is lots of love, snuggles and attention. In other words, your baby needs your time.

Children are notorious for not following an adult’s preferred schedule, and being aware of some of the changes a baby will bring to your life is worth some consideration. Are there commitments in your life now that you may need to put on hold or stop completely? Are there some personal boundaries that may need to be put in place to carve out one-on-one time with your child?

Proactive changes are usually easier to make than reactive ones. Considering the commitments, relationships and goals already present in your life can help provide some framework when thinking about how adding a baby will fit into your life.

Your Health

Thinking about the current state of your health is an important consideration. Pregnancy, delivery and caring for a newborn will require a great deal of energy from a mother’s body. Learning about and implementing good nutrition, exercise and daily vitamin routines can help get your body ready for a healthy pregnancy.

If you are concerned that you may have unhealthy habits or need to lose/gain weight, an appointment with your healthcare provider can help you develop a plan to get you and your future baby to optimal health.

Becoming a parent to a totally dependent newborn can change you at some of your deepest levels. Taking the time to consider your current situation can be very helpful in showing you where any changes may need to be made. Parenting is one of the greatest joys of life and investing the time to consider how you can provide the best environment to bring a child into is worth the effort.

Many people believe they need to have their lives in perfect order before having a baby. In reality, many of the circumstances people worry about bringing a child into seem to have a way of working out and both the parent and the child are better for having overcome the challenge.

 

Want to Find more by Erica?

Check out her blog here

And, Follow her on Social Media!

                     

Do You Think Your Child has Anxiety?

Children show signs of anxiety in different ways than we do as adults. So do you know what the signs of anxiety in children are? And what to do about it.

Military life can bring all sorts of challenges, and our children are definitely not excluded from experiencing the anxiety. But often times anxiety presents itself so differently in children than it does in adults and so often we miss it or misdiagnose it.

When I was completing my education as a marriage and family counselor I did my practicum and internship experience working in a family counseling program that served a school district. We worked with individual students in the schools through classroom visits, group work, and family sessions. Often I would work with children who were presenting behavioral issues- misbehaving in class, uncontrollable behavior, not completing work, disruptive and distracting to other children. Teachers wanted them tested for ADHD. When I watched these children in class I would find the same behavioral issues in the classroom. I would talk to their parents and find that often there was behavioral issue at home as well. But then I would talk to the children, get a history of their lives from their parents and you would find out that there were many events in the child’s life that are anxiety provoking.

Things like:

  • parents divorcing
  • new sibling
  • deployed parenting (I worked in a district around a military base)
  • new student
  • living with family other than parents
  • abuse in their past

Of course things like this would cause anxiety in anyone, especially in a little child that doesn’t understand them fully. And because they don’t fully understand the emotions of what they are going through anxiety often exhibits itself in children through behavioral issues and physical symptoms.

Physical symptoms of anxiety include:

  • stomach issues- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • lack of sleep or excessive sleep
  • head aches

Behavioral symptoms of anxiety include:

  • disruptive in the classroom and at home
  • becomes disobedient and defiant
  • irritabilitiy

So now that we have identified the signs of anxiety in children, what do you do now?

If your children are exhibiting some of these symptoms in regards to a new life change (like the ones listed above- or even more) then before you jump to conclusions about a behavioral diagnosis like ADHD or ODD it might be worth looking into anxiety as a possible explanation. Especially if these symptoms seem to appear after a life change rather than having been present prior to a large life change. ADHD is over diagnosed in children because anxiety mimics these symptoms and putting your child on ADHD medication will not solve anxiety issues.

Finding a therapist or counselor who is trained to work with children can help you by assessing for anxiety. A school counselor can be a great start for this as they are trained in assessment and diagnostics just like any other counselor. They are also often plugged into resources in the community and can help find a good fit for your family.

The military also has resources to help children who are experiencing anxiety due to life moves. There are MFLCs in DOD schools and are a wonderful resource.

Counseling with Children:

While talk therapy with children may be difficult there are several creative therapeutic approaches that work well for children.

Play Therapy

This is a wonderful option for young children. Finding a counselor trained in play therapy can be a wonderful avenue. This is a non-traditional therapeutic method that works for young children because the therapist works with the child to help reveal potential causes of anxiety or other stressers through the child’s play. For young kids play can reveal subconscious thoughts and emotions that otherwise would not be able to verablize

Art Therapy & Music Therapy

Art and music therapy can also be great for young children as counselors use these techniques to help unveil different patterns. I worked with a kindergartner and often used art therapy techniques. At the beginning his drawings were often very violent in nature. He had a a childhood of being in and out of foster care, back with his mom and finally adopted by his older sister. Over the course of several months of working with him and his sister and a few other caretakers we were able to help resolve some of the behavioral issues that were being presented at home and in the classroom by using his drawings of violent tendencies to work through what he has gone through. At the end his drawings were more family oriented. Now art therapy alone did not do this but it gave us a direction to take us in while we worked in family therapy.

Family Therapy

And finally family therapy. I think this is necessary no matter what method the child is working in. Children are a product of their environments- like the stressers military life bring. If parents are anxious then it can leech over into the kids and so we have work as a family it also provides methods to help the parents work with their children at home.

 

So if you think your child may be dealing with anxiety, here are the tried and true symptoms and potential causes of anxiety and different avenues to pursue.

If you are interested in coping strategies for children here are some great ideas!

Children show signs of anxiety in different ways than we do as adults. So do you know what the signs of anxiety in children are? And what to do about it.

Solo Parenting: How to Cope When you Feel Alone

As a military spouse you may spend a lot of time parenting by yourself. This may not what you have envisioned when you got married and started having kids! When you get overwhelmed here are some ways to keep a level head.

One of the first things I heard after I married my husband was that I might was well get used to being alone, after all I’d spend the majority of our marriage being a single parent. While yes in our two years of marriage we have spent the same if not more time apart then living together, I am not nor will I ever be a single mother, no matter how much SOLO parenting I do.

On many non-military blogs I have seen many articles criticizing married moms who have spouses that are away a lot calling themselves a single mom. I have seen posts in military groups, criticizing spouses for describing themselves as single moms. But I get it. It is hard knowing that daddy or mommy is not coming home at 5:30 to give you a bit of a reprieve. No one else to change diapers, rock the baby to sleep, help fix dinner, or just allow you to escape for a quick shower! So I think we need a term to describe it, and then we need to use it!

Solo-Parenting.

Whether you are solo parenting due to a deployment, TDY, field time, or any other number of reasons for however long it can be exhausting.

So how do you cope with Solo Parenting?

There are some specific strategies that can be used to help those solo-parenting when you start to get overwhelmed.

~ Prior to your Spouse leaving, talk about any potential big decisions that will need to be made.

If you talk about any decisions that need to be made before your spouse leaves, then you won’t be stressed about making any big decisions alone or trying to get in touch with your spouse who made be unreachable. This is one of the differences between solo parenting and single parenting is that you have another person to be a sounding board for potentially difficult decisions. While not all situations can be predicted, there are some that just come in the course of time. Like age limits for things such as vaccinations, how to raise your children, or even less important things like- ear piercings. I know how stressful it can be to try and have to make important decisions alone. My husband would not be present at her birth, so before he left we talked about how he wanted her to be treated. Do we want her fully vaccinated? How did he feel about formula use? What were his opinions on events happening in an emergency?

As for after she was born: how do you want our sleeping arrangements be? He may not be here now but eventually we will all be a family living in one house again and so while it may not affect him in the moment, it will in the future if she is in our bed and he comes home and she struggles to adjust to a crib. How does he want to be involved in her doctors appointments? If your kids are older discussing things like schooling is important. How do you want family to be involved?

Involving your partner will make you feel less alone and more like you are in the partnership you probably envisioned for your parenting.

~ Know when you are at the end of your rope.

Knowing when you are so exhausted, or so stressed is important because we all need to know when to step back and ask for help! Asking for help can be so hard. We want to give the impression that we can do it all, because we don’t want to feel inferior to all those who appear to have it all together. I will tell you a secret that everyone knows but nobody believes. Not a single one of us can do it all 100% of the time! Everyone needs help and rest! If you take care of yourself before you reach the end of your rope, then you can keep going longer! When your spouse is home you may be able to get that break before you realize you are in desperate need of one. But when you are the sole parent in the house and nobody is coming home to relieve you it can sneak up on you. So take note of your mental, emotional, and physical state when that happens so you can begin to notice it the next time. And then when you’re there reach out! And remember it takes a village.

~ Take care of yourself with lots and lots of self-care.

Self-care is so important that I have written about it so many times:

If you practice self care regularly it will take you much much longer to reach the end of your rope. This means asking for help so you can get a break to practice good self-care. It is even more important when you are the sole caregiver for your little ones with out any in home reinforcements.

 

 

As a military spouse you may spend a lot of time parenting by yourself. This may not what you have envisioned when you got married and started having kids! When you get overwhelmed here are some ways to keep a level head.