Paper Airplanes, Raising Boys, & Solo Parenting

 

Paper Airplanes, Raising Boys, and Solo Parenting

 

Today I learned how to make paper airplanes.

Big A has been begging me to make them for several weeks now after he discovered there was such a thing.

When he first asked me to make one, I froze. I had no clue how to make one. I never thought I would ever have to make one. I’d always assumed that these sort of things would be taught by “Dad”. But Dad isn’t here to teach his kids how to make paper airplanes. There’s only me.

I had this same reaction when it came time to help Big A transition to potty training. When I began having children, I always assumed that “Dad” would be the one to teach the boys how to use the potty, and I would teach any girls that we had. But when it came time to help Big A learn how to use the potty, there was only me, Mommy.

Little boys are fun people. But as a solo mom, I’ve struggled with a lot of insecurities. Am I good enough for my boys? Will I be able to show them strong and powerful feminine energy, while also ensuring that they’re surrounded by strong and wonderful masculine energy? This all applies to my daughter, of course, but I think that the way society enforces gender roles has really been making me second guess my ability to raise boys well. The only thing that has really helped in this area is that I have been fortunate to become acquainted with quite a few powerful feminine forces who are raising their boys with the kind of love and guidance I hope my boys see in me.

It wasn’t that difficult to make a paper airplane. A quick visit to YouTube land and a whole three minutes later, and I had the process down. I was pumping out paper airplanes on a factory scale, or so Big A’s incessant begging made it feel. After about an hour of making paper airplanes, Big A decided he had enough to reach peak satisfaction.

After I finally escaped the paper plane factory, I rubbed my achy hands, poured myself a cup of coffee, and smiled as I watched Big A and Little a zoom around the house with their parchment aircrafts. My momentary happiness turned into a twisted sort of feeling of both pride and sadness, an emotion that I’ve recently discovered since becoming a solo parent.

I’m still in that early stage of solo parenting where I can’t feel a sense of pride in what I’ve accomplished without feeling the pangs of regret and loneliness. It’s no where near as strong and painful as it was when I initially began this journey, but it still creeps up.

Does the regret of leaving behind someone who was a part of your family, because it wasn’t working, ever go away? I don’t know. Does the feeling of loneliness when your children do something fabulous and you turn to tell your partner, only to realize they’re not there, ever go away? Probably not. What I do know is that, every morning, I look at myself in the bathroom mirror and whisper, “I’m enough”, and I try to make the day as wonderful as I can for myself and the kids.

 

My Semi-Eco-Friendly Cloth Diaper Wash Routine (Without Homemade Detergent!)

 

My Semi-Eco-Friendly Cloth Diaper Wash Routine (Without Homemade Detergent!)

 

My Cloth Diapering Failures

Once upon a time, I did what many a crunchy mother did. I washed my cloth diapers in homemade detergent. *gasp!!!*

I know, I know. Shame on me.

After years of stinky diapers, and a few ruined ones, I have learned my lesson. I am happy to announce that I am one year homemade detergent sober.

So since many of us crunchy mamas now know that homemade laundry detergent is useless, what’s an earth conscious mama to do with all those dirty diapers?

I have spent quite a bit of time researching and testing different detergents. I have also been following Fluff Love and CD Science’s research. Between the two, I think I’ve found a detergent and wash routine that is Eco-friendly, leaves the diapers stink-free, and doesn’t destroy my washer.

The Eco-friendly laundry detergent award goes to…

I have to admit, I’m a Seventh Generation lover. Their products are way more expensive than most, but I’m willing to make the sacrifice if it means having clean diapers and a better earth. After all, I started cloth diapering BECAUSE I wanted to leave as little of a footprint as possible when it came to my babies. It would be senseless of me to cloth diaper, then turn around and use a detergent that contained harmful pollutants and the like.

I personally use Seventh Generation Ultra Power Plus on my diapers. I’ve tested a few different kinds of Seventh Generation detergents and this one has been the winner time and time again. It requires the least amount of water and detergent to get my fluffy diapers, like my AIOs, completely clean.

My Wash Routine

My wash routine is actually fairly simple. I wash diapers every 2-3 days. Included in my diaper wash are our family cloth (toilet paper substitute). Since Bitty A is eating some solids now, I swish the diapers in the toilet before tossing them into our diaper pail. That’s the only prep that I do.

When I’m ready to wash everything, I toss them in for a pre-rinse. Usually after 2-3 days, the kids and I have accumulated enough diapers and family cloth to make for a full laundry load. I throw everything in and turn my washer knob to “Rinse and Spin”. I add a half a cap of my detergent and run the rinse cycle on cold.

Once the rinse cycle is complete, I turn the temp knob to hot. I then fill the cap up completely to the #6 line and add it in. The wash gets run, no extra rinses.

When the wash is finally complete, I hang dry everything. I have a drying rack that I can use indoors if the weather isn’t permitting.

Currently I have soft water, but in the past when I’ve had harder water, I’ve added a little bit of borax to my wash routine.

How to find what will work for you

All I can suggest is experiment, experiment, experiment! It took me a while to finally find what worked for us. The first best step would be to check out Fluff Love & CD Science. Their page has been so helpful for me in my cloth diapering journey.

If you’re my neighbor and near Fort Smith, check out our local cloth diaper group, Fort Smith Fluffy Bums. The folks that run that page know their stuff! Again, if you’re local, you can also stop by Natural State Parenting Supply and Yoga Studio in Fort Smith. Jana and Sarah, the lovely ladies who run the store, know the ends and outs of cloth diapering.

How about you? What does your washing routine look like?

 

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