How I Survive Solo Parenting

If there’s one thing I really, really love about Tim, it’s that he’s an excellent co-parent. He helps me a lot with the girls and is very supportive of me and my role as a stay at home mom. But sometimes he needs to travel for work, and it completely throws me off.

When Tim recently left town for a few days, I was forced to go into ‘survival mode’ (guys, I know this sounds dramatic, but trust me, I really, really am not a person who’s equipped to care for two toddlers by myself for more than 24 hours straight), which meant planning ahead.

5 Parenting Tips To Survive An Especially Chaotic Week!

If you’re faced with a similarly busy week, I have some (survival) suggestions:

+ Hire a babysitter.

Tim and I don’t live near any family, so we aren’t used to getting any help watching the girls. The thought of hiring a babysitter during the day makes me cringe a bit, because I feel like my only job is to be a SAHM, and if I outsource that responsibility I feel pretty lousy about my abilities as a mom. (This could be a whole separate blog post, but I’m just being honest about where I’m at with this!) BUT, when Tim was gone he hired a babysitter for 2 hours on two of the days so I could leave the house and workout and take a shower and start making dinner for the girls. That end-of-naptime –> dinner time is witching hour and it’s MISERABLE without some extra help! Having a babysitter saved me.

+ Meal prep ahead of time.

I didn’t do this, but I should have! (Story of my life.) If I was a little more organized I would have prepped some dinners and lunches for myself over the weekend so that I had one less thing to worry about when Tim was gone.

+ Schedule time with friends.

I let my friends know how stressed I was about ‘momming’ by myself for a few days, and they definitely showed up for me. Playdates were scheduled, dinner get-togethers were offered, plans were made! As a super extrovert, this time with others was extra appreciated. Leaving the house with two toddlers is never easy, but I am the very opposite of a homebody, so the effort was worth it – plus it saved me a ton of time cleaning up every day/night! (Mom hack = the more time I spend outside of the house, the less time I have to spend cleaning up the house!)

+ Set an alarm.

On my normal days, I wake up when the girls get up – no alarm needed! However, when Tim was out of town I set an alarm every single day. I even woke up the girls some mornings, which we normally avoid at all costs. My reasoning was this: it takes me much longer to get the girls ready and out of the house without an extra set of hands, so instead of rushing around like a crazy person, I settled for a little sleep deprivation, which gained me an extra few minutes to convince the girls to put pants on.

+ Lower expectations.

The house might be a little messier, I might be late to events, food might not be home cooked, screen time may be used more liberally… when it’s a really busy week or a solo-parenting day, I lower the expectations and simply survive! Some weeks of motherhood are just harder than others, whether it’s because of illness or long hours at work or travel or especially tough toddler moments/hours, or if it’s just one of those days where nothing seems to be going right! And when I’m having one of those days, it’s a lot easier to lower my expectations than to attempt to reach lofty motherhood goals (like getting dressed before lunch… haha)!

If I was living my best life, I would take this advice every single week, and sometimes I do! (Except for the meal prep part, I’ll always and forever be awful at that.) What I’ve learned is that motherhood truly takes community, and we shouldn’t feel like we need to do it all ourselves. When Tim is gone, I truly rely on others to keep me sane!

… and I’ll say it again, I feel very blessed to have a partner who is so helpful when he’s around (and able to be physically present so often!) that it shakes up my world when he leaves for just a day or two, and especially for any time longer than that! I know some moms are pros at the solo-parenting thing, and I have complete admiration for that!

Does your partner travel for work? Any tips on surviving/thriving?

This entry was posted in motherhood and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to How I Survive Solo Parenting

  1. Susannah says:

    These are such great tips!!! Nate is leaving the boys and me for a week and I’m scared!!!

  2. My solo parenting days are just like you said, survival mode. If we all end the day alive and unscathed, it’s a success. I need to be better about it and I love these tips!

  3. These are awesome tips! It’s great that you’ve found something that works for you when survival mode hits! My bff is a firefighter’s wife (and she works 30hrs a week) so she spends 24 hours alone with her kids every few days and I have NO clue how she does it. I give all the props to solo parents or single parents or military/doctor/first response spouses! Lol

    • Lisa says:

      I don’t know how moms with those types of alternative schedules do it! I’m sure she has lots of strategies. I’m sure if I did it more I’d get into a better rhythm, but I would rather just have Tim home!

  4. Isn’t it amazing how much meal planning ahead of time can help you? Keep kickin’ butt girl!

  5. erinhzauner says:

    oh boy. when you’re used to having your husband around all the time, i definitely think it’s way harder to have them gone for any amount of time. it throws everything off! i’m way impressed with people who do that. when they’re gone more often, you are able to get used to it and it becomes second nature after a while. i mean, i’m still all about survival mode, and lowering those expectations way down, those are some good tips up there!

    • Lisa says:

      I can’t imagine it every becoming second nature for me (because I’m such a wimp about it!) but I do imagine that you find a different rhythm that then gets interrupted when he comes home!

  6. Kaitlyn says:

    So I’ll be honest, even with just me and the dog at home, I’m so used to having Mangesh with me now that I kinda freak out and it feels so weird when one of us is away without the other. Even if he’s just out for the evening and coming home late, I have such a hard time getting myself to bed and going to sleep without him!!

    • Lisa says:

      Oh that’s the worst part of it all for me – I can’t sleep (well) when Tim’s not around! Even if he’s just out late I always stay up waiting for him to come home.

  7. thaaaank you for writing this! it’s helpful to know i’m not alone when ravery travels. solo-parenting is SO HARD for me and i’ve got one kid! makes me very very nervous to add another to the mix. we are talking about hiring a part time nanny or sitter or something because working from home while parenting while the other is away is haaaard. glad you’re making it work!

    • Lisa says:

      Well you solo-parent way more than I do and I don’t know how you do it while keeping your sanity! Honestly, it was really not that hard for me to solo-parent with one kid (the few times I did it) but with our two girls it feels really impossible, mainly because nights are still such a toss up and the girls rarely BOTH sleep through. I am all about hiring help when needed!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *