Solo parenting: the act of raising kids, alone, for an extended amount of time. Not to be confused with single parenting. Solo parenting is typically the stay-at-home parent with a spouse who works weird/long hours. Second or third shift families. Military families. Oil rig families. Medical field families. Any situation where there are two active parents, but one of them is away for work for an extended amount of time and the parenting burden falls more heavily to the other parent.
I solo parent about 50-60 hours a week these days. During my husband's busy season, I solo parent 60-70 hours a week. There are days (thankfully not as often as they used to be) where Mike will leave for work before the boys wake up and get home after they've gone to sleep. I know it's hard on him, and them. It's hard on all of us. By the end of weeks like that, I'm over everything: parenting, talking, being touched by literally anyone. Hell, sometimes, after a week like that I just want to run away and be completely alone for a few hours. I'm lucky enough to have married a man who picks up on these things and will actively send me away after I've have a hard week.
I've been dreading this week for months
On Thursday night, Mike will be leaving for a conference and won't be back until Wednesday night. That's six straight days of solo parenting. No breaks. No co-parent help. No "time off". My only free time will come after they've gone to bed every night.
Thankfully, my parents have a condo near the beach, so we will be staying with them and playing in the ocean (weather permitting) for a couple of days to help break up the 100% solo time. For the record, we are definitely going to the beach, but it might be cold so we may not have a lot of beach pictures. Either way, the boys will get to have some decent distractions from the lack of dad by playing with my mom and dad.
The thing I'm dreading the most is bedtime. Not the boys' bedtime; that sucks regardless. I'm talking about when I go to bed and the house is creepy, dark and quiet. Typically, when I go to bed, Mike stays up for awhile and watches TV or plays video games. When I go to bed, there are still lights and sounds on downstairs. I'm going to end up leaving the TV and living room lights on when I go to sleep, even though no one will be watching it, simply because the sound is comforting.
This is usually the point in the blog where I offer advice or insight into the situation, to help alleviate the stress of whatever topic I decided to tackle. Unfortunately, I have no advice this time. I haven't successfully tackled this particular hurtle yet, so I am completely lacking in insight. Instead, I'm asking you guys, do you have any advice for a week of solo parenting?
Also, if you feel so inclined and want to help send me out for a day to write and decompress after Mike gets home from his training, click here.
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