It’s 8pm, and I’m exhausted. When you go through the nighttime routine day after day, night after night alone, it begins to feel as though it’s groundhog’s day.
By the time we finish the last book and the multiple “I love you” I tip toe to our living room fully intending to pull out my computer to work or even watch a show but with my body aching, tired eyes, and mushy brain – it usually doesn’t happen.
Every year in February I embark on 40 plus days of solo parenting. My husband leaves for spring training in Arizona with the San Francisco Giants. Suddenly it’s just myself and my two kids. I’m not going to sugar coat it – it’s hard. But I wouldn’t have it any other way because we are both in careers that we have dreamed of having and we have always supported each other and our dreams. Some might not know this but Eric and I are high school sweethearts and since the beginning we’ve had goals in our careers – we’ve been able to support each other through each stage – through the highs and the lows.
With the being said, when it comes to this time of year I’m constantly ask “how do you do it?” or “I don’t know how you do it?” sometimes I don’t even know what to say except “I have to do it, it’s just become the new normal.” What I’ve realized each year is that I could totally dwell on how hard it is but I’ve had a mindset for most of my life that why should I dwell on the bad parts of things, there are so many more amazing moments that make up for it. I could choose to be miserable. I could choose to feel bad for myself. I could choose to be angry. But I choose to enjoy these moments with my kids and thrive in it all.
HE HARDEST PARTS:
There is no one to back me up, no one to answer the constant questions, no one to pass the torch to when I’m getting slightly impatient but can’t show frustration because what will that show my kids.
I miss my husband but to watch my kids miss their dad it’s even harder. I’m both mom and dad while he’s away and I can’t fill the void when Eric is gone. I try to be the basketball player he wants me to be or the jokester or the one that makes him belly laugh to no end but it’s just not the same as when dad does it.
I also need to support Eric as well, because while it’s hard on me, it’s also excruciatingly hard on him. Reassuring him that we are good and counting down the days to home coming home is important.
WHAT MAKES IT EASIER:
Leaning on friends and family. I’m horrible at asking for help. Luckily, I have family and friends who help me each week. My mom in particular plays a huge role in the days Eric is gone.
Find moments for myself. This is something I made a priority a little more this year. Having a few moments to myself that aren’t revolving around work makes me a better mom.
Meal planning. Y’all this is key. If I don’t do a Sunday grocery shop, then my week is totally messed up. Also, I basically cook the same meals every week. There isn’t time to try something new – it’s all about what works, what’s easy and what we love.
Keeping routines. This is key for my kids. They know that they have activities on certain days and it somehow gets them through the week better. My kids thrive on routines and knowing what the week has in store for them. With that being said, I try to do something fun and exciting once a week that they can really look forward to. Even if it’s as simple as a coffee date before school – it seems extra special.
Go to bed with a tidy house. No matter how exhausted I am after the kids go to bed I make sure to send at least 10-15 mins cleaning up the house. Waking up in the morning to a tidy house sets the tone for my entire day.
This year in particular I’ve felt like all of us (myself and the kids) were much more adjusted to him being away. With only one more week to go I feel as though I’m nearing the end of the marathon 46 days.
I want to say, by no means am I comparing myself to all of the amazing single parents out there. It’s drastically different to be a solo parent for a period of time than a single parent. Each come with their own set of challenges. I cherish that even while I’m a solo parent, I can still call or text Eric to vent about a tantrum, silly thing our kids say, and to tell him about how tired I am. For all the single parents and parents that do solo parenting while their spouse travels – you aren’t alone. Reach out, talk about what’s hard, lean on the people you trust in your tribe because you need that support no matter how strong you are!
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