Whether it’s a business trip, deployment, or visiting family, there are times when in parenting when what’s typically a two parent household has to adapt to the needs of solo-parenting.
You don’t have to be a military family to know what it’s like to solo-parent and trying to juggle raising kids on your own for both short and long term time frames.
But regardless of why, it’s never easy.
Don’t forget to check out the podcast episode. My guest, Kylie, from Scribbles and Dots and she joins us to discuss parenting alone for both long and short periods of time. She has two kids ages 3 and under and has experienced a range of having to parent during year-long deployments to her husband only having 3 days away. Whether military or not, she gives great universal advice and even has special input for dads who will be keeping the kids for a weekend.
Listen while you read!
How to parent while your spouse is away
It’s not to say single parents have it harder or easier, but it is definitely a strain on the family relationship. The idea is that there is a certain routine, a normalcy, and an order to life that gets thrown for a loop when one parent is gone for 2 days, 3 months, or even a year.
But hopefully with a little assurance and a lot of planning the days will fly by and life will soon return to normal again.
Check out our completely free routine chart and chore chart downloads.
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Surrender the current family schedule
This is absolutely not to say that any and all schedules should be disregarded. But to assume that life will be the same without another contributing adult at home is preposterous!
…even if it’s just a contribution to the messes.
In all seriousness, just having another living, breathing body in the home makes a difference. our home, We discovered that there is still a shift in our day when my husband gets a day off and is even somewhere else in the house. So the inverse is also true.
So when your spouse is away, you will develop a new routine, a new schedule, and a new way of doing things. And it will become second nature especially if they’re gone fairly regularly. The kids will learn to adapt just as you do in that the family switches to the single parent versus double parent schedule and routine.
Read more about juggling parental priorities because balance doesn’t exist.
Learn to forgive yourself & pick your battles
There’s no guilt in buying disposable plates or diapers even if that’s normally “not your thing”.
There’s no condemnation for letting your kids get 3 instead of 1 hour of screen time.
There’s no shame in giving your kid a distraction to accomplish needed tasks.
The reality is that things have to get done and if you’re in it for the long haul big details have to be managed… you know… like paying bills.
Some days will be eaiser than others, but focusing on the blessings and how grateful you are to have made big accomplishments rather than what you did that you didn’t prefer is most important.
Read more about establishing gratefulness in the family.
Listen to and address the needs of your kids
Don’t forget that even the youngest and most non-verbal of kids still communicate with us.
All too often, especially in survival mode, we tend to focus on the urgent and not the important. And our kids may be subtly indicating something really important that they need.
“Pro Tips” from an experienced solo-parent.
If you listen to the podcast episode (embedded near the beginning of the post), Kylie has some wonderful, tips, ideas, and even resources to help when solo-parenting or surviving when your husband/wife is away. The show notes are below. Take a listen!
Extremely Good Parenting Ep. 019 Show Notes
- 6:38 Having a safety net of babysitters and people to call
- 11:38 Finding me time as a stay at home mom when the spouse is away
- 14:28 Learning to not feel guilty if you have to do something (like extra screen time) to accomplish needed tasks
- 15:29 Survival mode means having to forgive yourself
- 16:14 Short term solo-parenting
- 17:08 Hug-a-Hero Dolls of daddy made for military families and other options made by charity
- 18:17 Budsies creates “Selfies” dolls from pictures for families
- 20:08 Chain countdown idea for short term or times with an end-date
- 21:25 Handling time with young kids
- 22:55 When dad is the one parenting without their spouse
- 24:08 One of the most important tips for either mom or dad is to listen to your kids and don’t panic!
- Kylies’ Extremely Good of the Week, the Relax + App
- The parenting fail story of the petroleum jelly disaster!
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Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!