You know your best friend's little sister? The crazy and fun middle child? The one who you don't mind hanging out with because she is so awesome? That's Simi. I have known her since she was a freshman in high school and have watched her grow up into the amazing woman she is today. What I really admire about Simi is that marriage and motherhood have not changed her. She is still so fun to be with. Simi is the kind of girl that can make me laugh so hard that my cheeks are sore the next day. And these days Simi is living the military life since marrying Edison. Edison is one of the good ones. The first time I met him, he suffered through my interrogation with a smile on his face. I knew that he would love and appreciate everything Simi is. They have a beautiful baby boy who is almost 2. I wanted to get a better idea of how motherhood has impacted Simi so I asked her a few questions.....
Will you have more kids?
Maybe. We are content with having just Ronin for now and maybe longer. But, we also realize we could look back a few years down the road and regret not having them be closer in age. Time will tell… you need mom and dad to live under the same roof to make a baby- so the military might dictate our options for a bit.
What are your feelings on helicopter parents?
I didn’t even know what that was—I had to google it. After doing that, the answer is that these people are c-r-a-z-y! How will your child learn if you don’t let them go through their own experiences?
Are you a Nap Nazi? A stickler for routine and schedules?
Yes. I wish I was more flexible, but am scared to try. The few times I have, it’s never worked out favorably and I’ve ended up drinking more than I wanted to after putting Ronin down for bed!
Most surprising thing about parenthood?
For me, the most surprising thing is that your life changes so dramatically when you give life. When you are pregnant, you think about all the things you won’t be able to do, or won’t have. You wonder how you’ll get by and what you’ll miss. A few months into the “gig,” you realize you don’t miss a thing and that your life is full of love, life, and laughter. Being a parent and having a good partner can complete your life in ways I never thought or expected.
No. He’s better. He can get Ronin to do things I can’t. He is also more of a stickler about things than I am, and I thought it would be the other way around!
Ronin’s name is a little east meets west. In Japanese, Ronin means “samurai.” In celtic, Ronin, means “little seal.” We liked that it had multiple meanings and also had a connection to nature. We also liked how “strong” it sounded. I love nicknames!! We call him baby schmoopy, since Eddie and I call each other schwoops and schmoops (not from Seinfeld)! Ever since Ronin got into watching some shows on Nickelodeon, we started watching it with him and they had these commercials for these toys called wuggle pets. The tune from the commercial is so ridiculously catchy that I’ve started calling Ronin my little Wuggler. Our friends call him Ro or Ro Ro. We are thinking he might be a famous rapper or DJ. Wouldn’t that be cool? Can’t you just hear “My name is Ro, Ro, “R” to the “O,” oh, oh, oh!”
Did you enjoy pregnancy?
I could have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t in grad school, while working full-time, while having a husband who was deployed. Overall, though I can’t complain, compared to some of my friends, I had the pregnancy part pretty easy. No weird cravings or sicknesses.
What’s the best parenting advice you have ever received?
Not to praise your child for everything or too often, and not to prohibit their potential by telling them what you think they should be when they grow up. However, I realize I just contradicted myself. In my previous response, I wished for my son to be a rapper or DJ!
What is your favorite baby gear? Must haves?
Our Marsona sound machine! We can take Ronin anywhere at night and he will sleep once he hears that white noise! Also the newborn boppy baby lounger!
What is your parenting philosophy?
Er… am I supposed to have one. I think I am still working on that.
When you were 16 did you imagine your life would end up where it is now?
No, I had no clue. However, we did go to an Indian fortune-teller who nearly predicted this life for me, and I thought he was full of S(*%!
What is the ideal Mother’s Day gift?
A day at the spa. Later, I am sure it will be a hand crafted item from Ronin.
How do you keep the romance alive in your relationship after kids?
We try to make time for each other. An occasional date night, and we honor that quality time together after Ronin goes to bed. As a military spouse, we try to send each other lots of love notes via email and reminisce on the memories that have shaped us as a couple. We also try to communicate daily so that we are both on the same page.
How did having Ronin change your marriage/ relationship?
It’s a lot of work, so there’s a lot more compromise. Again, being a military family, we have to work extra hard to keep daddy in our daily thoughts and actions while he is gone. We also have to work at re-connecting and talk through roles when he comes back and also when he leaves. It’s also made us appreciate each other more than ever.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?
We love going on walks and to the park with him. We had always gone on walks or Sunday afternoon strolls, as a couple, so roping Ronin into our ritual has been really great.
What was your favorite book from childhood?
I love all the Berenstein Bear’s books. I also love Where The Sidewalk Ends.
How do you deal with discipline in your house?
What’s that? Just kidding. We haven’t done “time out’s” yet with Ronin, but will be trying that soon. For now, we try to stick to our guns and let him wail it out, if he needs to. We also remove him from the store or place where he’s misbehaving and give him some time to calm down.
Do you have a picky eater? How do you handle that?
Why don’t kids like their vegetables?! We have been grating veggies is his sauces. We find that it’s not a battle that we are willing to fight too hard for.
You! (aww shucks!!) Even though you work full-time, you always take time to take your kids to the library, places to explore, and you let them be who there are. I love seeing all the fun things you do with them and all your creativity with holidays and events. I aspire to be crafty with my kids and hope that we create the same kinds of memories and traditions you have with your family!
Where do you go first when you need parenting advice?
I read a lot of parenting blogs and books, just as a gut check to make sure that what I am trying to do or are doing makes sense. Because of my childhood experience, I rely on my own intuition and scientific research for parenting!
You are a military wife/Mom. What do you want people to know about living that life?
My eyes welled up when I read this question. This is tough. I never thought I would be a military wife and even when I knew Eddie was in the military, I was sort of disillusioned to think this was going to be easier than it is. I thought “I am independent. So, he’s gone for 6 months at a time, what’s the big deal? I have enough friends and family to keep me busy!” Then, we had a child. And, that whole idea of being independent crumbles to pieces. Being a single parent is the most unbelievably hard job. I don’t know how people do it. I don’t have it that tough; we still earn a paycheck and live life somewhat normally. But, what is incredibly hard is making sure that daddy will be remembered when he comes back home. And, that he will feel connected to his child, even though they are thousands of miles apart and that they will share a bond, even though daddy missed his 1st birthday, or his first steps, or anything other major milestone. It takes a lot of energy and effort to make the family whole. You find that there are so many things that are hard-wired and how actions and behaviors are a part of our DNA. I am fortunate to have a group of friends and family that are there for us. That has been key to survival. I have friends that set up a calendar to come hang out or take care of Ronin when Eddie was gone. That meant more to me than anything in the world. Even though I only took them up on their offer a few times, it was the thought that kept me going. The military has it’s own family, and it does a decent job of taking care of military families. We also find empathy in strangers who are going through a similar situation. The hardest part of having Eddie gone are the Friday nights and the weekends when I am all alone. It takes a lot to fill that void and those hours. Time trickles by like a slow drip. It’s like feast and famine. When daddy’s home we feast until we are blue in the face- celebrating everything, and when he’s gone, we ration what we have to make sure it all lasts until he comes back. It’s hard for me, but I imagine it to be even harder for him. The sacrifice the service members make are huge, and so those moments of kindness and appreciation from strangers are what keep us going.
Simi, thanks for answering all those questions for me. I also asked a few people close to Simi to tell me a little bit about how they feel about Simi as a Mommy....
"Simi makes being a Mom look easy and from what I hear from all the Mommies out there, this is not always easy. Watching Simi be a mom to Ronin is amazing, even when he doesnt want to get out his jammies or take a bath, she makes it happen with a genuine smile. She always mixes humor with discipline. Over the last year, watching my little nephew grow, she has taught him not to sweat the small things. Truly, this is an admirable quality for someone to believe and certainly a gift when being able to teach that to your child. Everything she does is done with an indescribable love and care, really something special."
I also asked Simi's amazing husband Eddie to jot down a few words....
"What can I say about Simi as a working Mother and a military spouse other than she possesses a strength that very few women have. She deals with adversity on a daily basis that very few women can even comprehend whether it's going through the day as a single parent when I am on deployment or making sacrifices in her career so we can have stability at home. She provides the right balance in all our lives and for that and so much more I love her! "
Simi, you know how much I adore you. And you know how much Lulu adores RoRo. You are like a little sister to me and watching you become the woman you are today has been amazing. You are fabulous, fantastic and all that stuff. Have a Happy Mother's Day and lets get the mini love birds together soon!