How to Prepare For Short Term Single Parenting
Quote of the Week
“In omnia paratus.”
~ Life & Death Bergaid
For the Night is Dark and Full of …
Children Who Call You Non. Stop.
I need water!
Tuck me in!
I can’t find my stuffy!
I need snuggles.
If your children are anything like mine, they like to call for you in the middle of night just to make sure you’re still there. There are nights I get to their room and they can’t remember why they called me or they already drifted off to sleep.
With twins, there are nights when they both call for me off and on. And when Dada is a way this is no different. Sometimes worse because they miss him.
My husband and I struck a deal three years ago, recognizing each other’s strengths. My strength is getting up in the middle of the night and being able to mostly still function during the day (depending on the night). My husband is a morning person. Is able to leap out of bed at 7AM no problem, be with the kids first thing, giving me an hour nap, then jump on meetings for work all morning.
Which is why we struck a balance of I get up in the middle of the night and he takes them in the morning.
It’s brilliant. Total life saver and a key to my survival.
So, what do I do when my husband is out of town and kids are waking up in the night AND I need to get up with them first thing in the morning?
Here are a few tips and tricks to survive when a partner is away.
Call For Backup
We took the nanny route given we both work from home and we have two children the same age. It saved us on cost, given where live, and having to commute to drop them off and pick them up. Traffic in Seattle is best to avoid no matter the cost.
Because we have a nanny we are able to move her hours around to help us when someone is out of town.
Know your strengths and therefore weaknesses.
As I said up top, I am not a morning person, so I had my nanny come an hour earlier than usual and stay to her normal regular time. So I paid an extra hour a day for help.
We don’t have family in town. If we did I absolutely would have called them in for help. Especially around meal times which are sometimes hard as well.
Break the Rules
When you’re a person down you need to give yourself wiggle room and find your breaks. Being with the kids from 4PM - 8PM (depending on when they fall asleep) is, I think, a long time without a break. It is for me.
SAHMs you’re amazing.
I don’t normally aloud TV in the afternoon. Only for an hour in the morning.
In this case, everyday, after they ran around for 1 - 2 hours in the back yard, we watched 20 minutes of TV. Something I got to pick so I could share something special with them while Dada was a way. This way they knew it was only while dada was away. It was only 20 minutes and it was built into their schedules.
Yes, I broke the rules - within reason. Gave me 20 minutes to sit down before making dinner, continuing to play, and running through the bedtime routine.
Pick Your battles
With my husband away I became more tolerant. I negotiated less to keep the peace and my sanity. It’s a lot of work constantly thinking of work arounds for them doing things you wish they wouldn’t or wish they would.
I rolled with a lot more. They wanted to paint. We painted. They wanted to sleep in their PJs at naps. They slept in their PJs at naps. They wanted hotdogs or Chinese for dinner. We had hotdogs one night and Chinese another.
While most of these things sound harmless, they’re usually things I avoid in my effort to raise well rounded, healthy children. Paint is normally a lot of clean up. PJs at naps used to a problem because if it were up to my daughter she’d wear PJs all day. If it were up to my son, he’d only eat hotdogs.
So, with my husband away we did all these things.
Find Your Happy Medium
Single parenting is hard. There’s no backup. No one to step in when things get hard. No partner in crime. My daughter ended up throwing up one of the nights and it was just me to clean her up and then her bed (three times). With my husband home, we divide and conquered. One of us cleans up her. The other the sheets.
Single parenting is hard.
When you know your partner is about to head out of town, find your happy medium within each tip. Get backup where you can - where ever you can. Friends and neighbors with kids are so helpful and understanding. Use your network! No man (or woman) is an island. Only if you make yourself into one. Break the rules - not the the point you’ll have to fully un train them when you get back, just enough that it works in your favor. Pick your battles - this is actually really nice, because it’s a good reminder even when your partner comes back as to ask why you’re fighting this battle to begin with and is it even worth it. Makes you saying no more meaningful too.
However you decide to find your happy medium when your partner is away, you just keep doing you. Momma, you got this.
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