I’m a stay at home solo parent. My husband works as a commercial airline pilot. He loves his job. I love my job as a stay at home parent, too. While my husband is jet setting the world, I stay home with our two beautiful children. Often, I have been referred to as a single parent, when my husband is off traveling the country. I prefer solo parent and here’s why.
I am fortunate to have the luxury of the choice to stay home with my kids while my husband is supporting us miles away. So, no, I am not a single parent. I’m not parenting alone like a single parent may be; only fifty percent of the time. As a solo parent, my time alone is only temporary, until my husband pulls into the driveway. For that, I am grateful. I realize what I do every day, while my husband is away, is only a fraction of what a true single parent does to support their kids. The challenges that I face, solo, are only a fraction of what the challenges may be for a single parent.
However, I will admit, being a solo parent is difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching my babies grow. I love being there for every milestone. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I have been a solo parent for four years and counting with the longest solo parenting time being seventy days consecutively. The most challenging aspect for me, to no surprise, is juggling it all. The kids, the dog, the house and then trying to have some sort of a social life with live people so I don’t forget what it feels like to have an adult conversation in the raw. The “Mommy!”, “What?”, conversations just aren’t enough for this mama. There are days when one kid is up most of the night but the other one is awake at five am ready to start the day and I wonder how I’ll survive. There are other days when the dog vomits in every corner of the house because he can’t take another minute of both kids and just me. Then, the days that are most stressful, are the days when something breaks in the house and I wonder who I should call to fix it, because I sure don’t know how to do that myself with two kids running around. I don’t have time for makeup or to do my hair daily and I wonder what people think when they see me out and it looks like I haven’t showered in days, well, because I haven’t.
Other moms with husbands that work traditional hours or are home every night, often ask me, how do you do it? I have help. Lots of it. My parents are very supportive and live eight minutes away from us. I know because I’ve timed how long it takes for my mom to get to my house for some relief, on tough days. My parents are always willing to lend a hand and for that, I am so grateful. When my parents are at work and can’t help as much, I have a small network of friends that I trust and have called upon to watch the kids when something comes up. I also have a wonderful dedicated babysitter that has been like family to us for over two years. She has helped me through some rough moments.
When the outside help just isn’t enough and the days of solo parenting turn into complete chaos; I go into survival mode. For me, that’s cheerios for breakfast and dinner. TV is on; a lot. Sure, have another sucker, kid. Long drives in the car with both kids strapped into their car seats, taking in the scenic view and a moment to myself.
The most important survival mechanism I have learned while solo parenting is to take time at the end of the day, while the kids are sleeping, to reset. Watching my favorite reality TV show on Bravo with a glass of wine and chocolate. (Some of that time, I sit and reflect just how proud I am of my kids and feel that overwhelming feeling of love for them.) After all, another day of solo parenting awaits tomorrow.