Solo Parenting Three Kids (three months in)
I should probably write this in the morning when I’m feeling refreshed and optimistic for a new day. Instead, you’re getting some real life frustration after a long, hot day of solo parenting three kids under six years old.
Don’t let those smiling adorable faces fool you. They’re actually really awesome kids, but they’re still kids, and I’m still a hormonal woman doing this mom-thing 24/7.
We’ve established that this isn’t our first deployment, or even the longest he’s been away. But with nine months still looming ahead of us, we’re definitely in that will-this-ever-actually-end phase.
Because here’s the thing I’m realizing: we’re not meant to parent alone.
There’s a reason why we married each other. There’s a reason why we’re partners, and best friends. And there’s a reason why we decided to have kids.
Because we wanted to do life together; in fact, we love doing life together! So for only one of us to do this whole parenting thing is just plain silly.
Let me do a little side note here: I’m currently living near our entire family (mom, in-laws, brother, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.)
This is a first for us in more than a decade, and it’s fantastic, amazing, and everything we dreamed it would be….but despite having literally everyone here (minus a cousin or two), they all don’t make up for my husband, and my kids’ dad being away.
I’m so thankful I married someone who is hands on with responsibilities, and an awesome parent with the kids.
He’s never “babysat” for them, and I’ve never had a second thought about if he’d be okay with them when I go out. He’s their dad, and he is literally the absolute best.
And as if he couldn’t get higher up on my pedestal: he freaking rocks as a husband.
He cleans, he loves to cook and grill, and he values date nights and supports me in literally everything I do.
Thankfully we prepared for this deployment, and we also have really good communication, so we’re still on the same page for all the things, but….BUT.
But it’s still not the same as him being here.
Solo Parenting is HARD
There’s nobody to tag team at the end of the day, and share bedtime responsibilities with the kids. Or let me escape upstairs when I just need 10 minutes of silence as soon as he gets home after a really hard day. It’s me who gets to push through it, get them in bed (and sometimes a bath), and then back downstairs to do all the things.
I’m the one-woman show in the mornings when it’s time to get everybody up, dressed, fed, and out the door before the sun is barely awake. And let me tell you: it’s been a shit show lately with every single one of us ending up in tears and yelling all before 7:30 am.
And then I’m the one who cleans up the endless messes time and time and time and time again.
He’s not there to do the dishes after I cook, or give the kids a bath while I straighten up downstairs. He’s not here to appreciate a home cooked meal—one day my kids will, right?
And he’s not here to reinforce discipline family rules.
It’s like I’m the bad cop all day, every day.
Of course I try to sprinkle in some “good cop” moments with celebrating the little things or “just because” things, but I wonder more often than not how much I’m screwing up our kids during this deployment.
We miss him constantly.
“I miss Papa,” is always on the kids’ lips, and they travel with their “Papa Dolls” often, especially when they need a hug from him.
These kids are strong and resilient, but they’re still kids who simply miss their dad, and I’m still a woman who misses her husband.
We have nine more months of this solo parenting gig, and some days it’s daunting. Okay, most days are daunting.
Thankfully we have friends and family who check in on us constantly and are always offering to help. And there is always a sweet moment after the chaos.
In the meantime, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing by focusing on one day at a time, and celebrating as each month passes.
I can relate to all of this. I’m also a mil spouse with 4 kiddos. Thankfully, my husband isn’t deployed currently. I have so many war stories of my own. He has his. I have mine. You’re doing a great job!!