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I am a faithful Fitbit wearer. On a typical day, I clock anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 steps. The last time my husband was out of town on business, however, I clocked in 20,000 to 25,000 each day. There is no doubt that parenting solo takes a lot more effort. This effort is not only physical, but also mental. You need to be on all day every day.
Whether your spouse is out of town, working late often, or working on some big project (hello home addition at our house right now!), tips are helpful. I asked you on Facebook what you do.
Have Friends Over
This one is from me. When my husband is out of town, my kids get really sad and miss him a lot. I like to have friends over as much as possible during that time. It can be more work having friends over, but the kids get so excited about the friends that it takes their mind off their dad being gone.
If you didn’t want to do the friends, you could accomplish the same idea by doing something fun. This might be the perfect time for a movie night.
Keep Things Consistent
Ashley said: Fortunately we don’t have my husband out of the house for long periods of time often. When I am single-parenting, we stick to our normal routine and try to send pictures and/or Skype with Daddy. Sometimes we try to get out of the house and do something unique. For instance, we made haircut night into a fun fast-food dinner night. I really try to encourage and give extra snuggles. Maybe read for an extra five minutes before bed. If bad behavior creeps up, I try to be as consistent as possible. Sometimes I just have to survive. Due to deaths in my family, my son and I have spent a couple weeks a state away from my husband. That can be tricky as I’m missing Daddy a lot, as is J. We try to communicate as often as possible, and stick to the sleep schedule to a T. Again, we try to do something fun, but we almost refuse to sacrifice routine.
Keep Your Chin Up
Christina said: My husband is significantly disabled, so I can really relate to single moms in that I pretty much have to physically do all of the parenting during the early (baby) years. I just have to keep reminding myself that I will have good and bad days. I have to keep on trying to work on routines and work towards the goal of a good schedule. I try to rest whenever I can/when I need it, which is honestly hard to do with a non-napping 4-year-old. I take any help I can get from outside our home (mostly only my dad and mom). I use my crockpot frequently for meals and take it easy on myself. Housework can wait a day or so later. When I get up for nighttime feedings, I usually watch something or surf the internet on my Nook (less brightness than a computer so it’s easier on my son during feedings). And I just tell myself over and over again how many days old he is and that he WILL eventually sleep through the night, get on a schedule, etc. Like I said, you will have good days and bad days. Celebrate the good ones and when you have a bad day, remind yourself that things will probably get better the next day.
Take Time to Rest
Amanda said: Routine stays the same. It muddy stay the same. If I cook we eat it 3 times, but usually we eat really simple. Because we eat simple (or lots of leftovers) we usually get out of the house after naps when I would usually be cooking- library, park, target. Any excuse to get out. I also rest more during naptime vs doing my usual chores. Having 3 under 4 makes me tired, and I need extra rest if I’m not getting reinforcements. Mine actually spend longer in the bath bc they are happy and I can chill while they play in a contained area.
Jennifer said: biggest hack…When I cook, I cook 4 to 5 times normal and freeze the rest with a food saver. So I only end up cooking a few times a month. The schedule changes by day of the week to give my LO more nap time on days I’m home with him cause he doesn’t sleep as well at daycare. He’s in bed by 7 every night which gives me precious time to myself. We’re also more flexible with nap time on the days we get to talk to my spouse.
Sarah P. said: We skip baths more often… Haha. I try to make sure we get in a play date and something special and fun to do. I also keep cooking super simple. And I try to be graceful with myself! Oh! And of it’s a long enough trip, and I can swing it, I get a sitter for a few hours.
Sarah B. said: My husband is about to go on night shift. He works night 7 days out of every 28. It is like he is gone because he obviously has to sleep during the day. We don’t have TV so it when he is on night shift I let the kids watch a 30 minute video in the evening or do a special craft. Not as many baths, like Sarah Morris Perez said…and they get to go to Bible Study with me on Wednesday night – it’s a women’s class. Simple pleasures! I just remind myself that it is only 7 nights AND remember that there are many in his industry who are without work and I’m thankful he has a job to go to.
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