Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Flying Solo

In the past couple of weeks I had a glimpse into the world of single parenting. Trev's work gave us some very short notice and off he went overseas, with the plan that he would be there for a least a month.

So it was just me and the girls.


I was a bit nervous, not so much about the parenting side of things, but just being without him. We are a pretty solid team.

After a couple of weeks, Trev's work asked him to come back, so he arrived on Sunday morning after an awful red eye flight. We were very excited to have him back.

I know two weeks is a pretty short time, but it coincided with my parents in law being on holidays in Queensland, my sister being on holidays in Europe, and my parents live in Queensland anyway, so my usual support networks were not available.

 I can't walk yet but I have some mad climbing skillz.

Here are a few observations of my couple of weeks going it alone.

- Friends are the best. I'm looking at you Rebecca Brown, Ella McConnell, Jodi Wiley, Rebecca May, Dave Ware, Cynthia Nolan-Myers, Cassandra Hodges and Amy Smyth. You kept me company and helped me out in different ways and I appreciate you all.

- Freezer meals are a winner. When I found out Trev was going away, I had a big cook up and froze small portions of soup, bolognese and curry. After an exhausting day, the knowledge that a cooked meal was ready to go was quite a relief.


- Weekends are crap. When you are on your own with the kids, every day just blends into one.

- Try to keep tidy. Otherwise it becomes so overwhelming it makes you really stressed. (for me anyway)

- If your kid doesn't want to eat, don't force it. No point having a long drawn out argument over it. Just make it clear that if they don't eat it, there is NOTHING else.


- If the thought of dragging the kids to the supermarket is too much, order from an online grocery service. I used Aussie Farmers Direct and got a box of fruit and veggies delivered - it was great quality and excellent value. I'll do it again for sure. (this is NOT sponsored by Aussie Farmers Direct - just happy to give them a shout out because I was really happy with the service, product and value)

- Make an effort to go out and do stuff. Sometimes I felt like it was just easier to stay home, but then I found it made me lazier and was a bit of a vicious cycle. So even though getting the kids organised and in the car takes time, it is worth it.

 Trev might be jetting off again any day, but that's OK. I know I can manage. The experience really made me appreciate how tough single parents do it, as well as military families and people whose spouses spend time away for jobs like working on oil rigs, in mines, or overseas. Hats off to you! You do an amazing job.


In the meantime I will chase my little climber around. She stood up unaided for the first time today! Walking is imminent.
 
Are you a single parent? Does your partner work away? What are your strategies? I'd love to hear your stories.

14 comments:

  1. My biggest problem when my husband goes away is I can't sleep! So I end up internetting or crafting or reading until ridiculous hours of the night, and am stonkered by the time he gets home!

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    1. Can sympathise with this! Hubby went to London yest to watch Olympics and took the kids to visit relatives whilst there, leaving me home alone - up sewing till 3am then up at 7.30am (typical as normally can't wake up on a morning till real late!)

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    2. Yes, me too! Normally I hit the hay around 10.30-11pm but while he was away I'd stay up or read until at least 12am. So tiring!

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    3. Same here BUT I found the solution....I let our oldest (4,5 year old) sleep in our bed and strangely that helps to have just someone breathing next to me ;-) I ruins all our efforts to have her sleep in her own bed buuut let's worry about that another day!

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  2. My Hubby goes away from time to time - usually for about three at a time. My biggest problem is childcare out of school hours. I work full time and covering the period from when I leave home to the start of school and at the end of a school day is difficult. Thankfully my kids are now a bit older and are all at the same school for the first time in 3 years. they'll be able to get the bus. And I can trust them to be at home for a little while before I get in. - But it is so much easier when parents are around to help too.

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    1. Claire, I'm lucky that my kids are still little - we don't really have a schedule to worry about. I can imagine that once they are at school and you are working it is so hard to coordinate!

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  3. I REALLY can't imagine how single parents do it! I was raised by the best single mom on the planet and I'm just so amazed at how gracefully and lovingly she parented us... in total awe. :)

    PS: I shared some linky love to one of your posts on my blog today!

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  4. Every parent needs to master this, mums and dads. At any time, and completely without warning, a loved one can be snatched from Life. There you are. Grieving. With young children who need your strength and support. The extended family will also be grieving and completely unable to help. Your friends will be sorry but embarrassed and will stay away in droves. At these times you will be enormously glad that you have the strength, skills, and wisdom to love, feed, clothe, educate and tend to the every need of your children. It is much worse with twins or triplets. It is hard if they are your stepchildren. It is incredibly worse of one of the children caused the death of the partner. People live with these scenarios every day and you walk past them in the street and would never know.

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    1. Louise you are absolutely right. That aspect of single parenting definitely crossed my mind while I was writing this post. Thanks so much for adding this comment and I hope that you are not writing from personal experience. If you are, I hope that things are getting easier everyday. xx

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  5. I've been the single parent & the solo parent (ex was in the Navy) for almost a 10 yr period. Now that I'm lucky to have Tony around, I find it hard to let go of some of that independence! I'm so used to doing it on my own that I find it hard to ask for help... lol.

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  6. I have to agree about getting out of the house - it was the only thing that kept me sane when Mr Handyman used to work away from home. Otherwise it was just one very long period of time as a solo parent.

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  7. Hi Ros, I meant to comment on this when you first wrote it, but forgot to... anyway I just wanted to say these are awesome tips... Andrew is away every week for 2 nights, working in a different city. We've been doing this 1.5 years. We get in a pretty good routine and I usually cook a big meal that lasts at least 2 nights, and do some similar things as in your tips. I find that I probably make more when he's not here and also gain a bit of confidence knowing that I can do it on my own. It is lovely to have him home though - and the kids get super excited. I have to stop myself from dumping heaps of stuff (nappies etc) on him when he first gets home... just because I'm tired, doesn't mean he's not and he's just travelled for a few hours to get home.

    By the way - you should check my blog I have a giveaway that might be right up your alley! :) Jenny x

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  8. Your little ones are so cute! Dave went away for a weekend when Mia was 4 months old and I ended up staying at my Mum's, I just couldn't face the whole weekend by myself. I didn't know how people do it without someone to help, I'm totally in awe of single mums and all the other family types you've listed. I wouldn't survive without Dave!

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