The Difficulties of Solo Parenting

I have heard it said that Military wives or any wife whose husband has to go away for work should not call themselves a single mom. I agree with this. We are not single moms. We do however go through periods of time as a solo parent. It could be weeks or it could be months or even a year or longer.

Being a solo parent means you are responsible for everything in the house having to do with the kids from day-to-day to the big decisions. This might depend on where your husband might be at the moment and how often he can talk to you.


It means being mom AND dad for a period of time. It means not as many breaks.

It means doing it all for a temporary amount of time.

People tell us that they don’t know how we do it. How we get through the solo parenting times. How we can fill the role of mom and dad.

It’s not something that I would ever consider easy. It is the hardest part of deployments for me personally. It drains you, it puts you into survival mode. It makes you handle parenting a little differently than you might otherwise handle it.

There is the day-to-day. If you have a baby, everything from the feeding a to the diapers is all you. No one to hold them when you need a 5 min break, no one to change that diaper when you have had enough for the day. It’s hard!

With toddlers and preschoolers you are always moving. You are the one planning their days and figuring out bedtime. You make all the meals and tear your hair out trying to figure out what to feed them sometimes. It’s hard!

When you have school aged kids you are the one doing all the school stuff. You are the one taking them to scouts, soccer and church programs. You are the one telling them it will be okay and that daddy will be home soon. It’s hard!

Parenting is hard for everyone, Military families or civilian ones. 

It’s tough to take care of little kids day in and day out. Adding in solo parenting just makes it even more stressful. Not having that other set of parenting hands can take it toll.

I really think having a good support group and being able to change your perspective a little can really go a long way during these periods of time. Knowing you always have another mom or friend to call and hang with when you need it can be like medicine to the soul.

Realizing that your solo parenting days are limited is also a way to help you get through it. Don’t get me wrong, some days are harder than others. Some days no matter what you tell yourself you are going to feel pretty bad about the situation. However, some days, that simple reminder that there is an end date to the madness can help you at least get through until bedtime.

I always used to tell myself that this just time that separated us from life without my husband and life where I had my husband home.

Just days on a calendar I needed to get through.

If you are in the mist of solo parenting, know that you are not alone. Know that it won’t last forever and know that you can get through it too. It’s a frustrating part of Military life but one you can endure with support from those around you and the knowledge that there is an end date in your future.

How do you handle periods of solo parenting?



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13 thoughts on “The Difficulties of Solo Parenting”

  1. Solo parenting is a great way to put it. I don’t like the term single parenting – even if it’s for a temporary period of time. When my husband is away, I usually spend time with other military wives and make sure my toddler gets plenty of playdates!

  2. I used to call what I do during deployment single parenting until I really listened to what a friend, who is an actual single parent, has to deal with every day. I am the responsible parent alone a lot, but I do have his support both financially and emotionally all the time and physically when he can be here. Great read!

    (PS Thanks for linking up today for #MILFAM Monday!)

    • Yes we do. We might not be able to talk to them everyday or about everything but we are being supported by them financially and emotionally. That is so different from being 100% on your own.

    • As a single mom reading this (from the title on Twitter I didn’t realize it was about military life) I just have to say, yes! My SIL had to go through the pregnancy, birth, and first 4mo of life of their first child without my brother because of deployment, YET it is 100% different than what I have to do on a daily basis. Though there is no guarantee that the military parent will return, there is that hope. There is that presence. There is that role of the family still being filled even if it is being filled invisibly. It’s not just about financial support or presence. It’s about the fact that you are a complete family even when he isn’t there.

  3. This is part of the reason I don’t want kids. I don’t want to deal with being pregnant alone, giving birth alone, with all the usual stuff plus kid stuff alone. I just don’t want to do it, for myself and for any future kids. I give parents a lot of credit, it’s not easy that’s for sure, I can’t imagine doing it with kids.

  4. I go straight into ninja mom mode, ha ha. As soon as my husband deploys, I just change my mindset. I have different expectations for the day and it helps me get through it. It is definitely hard though and it really does start to wear on me after a while. I find asking for help and getting a baby sitter every now and then gives me the break I need. I have a hard time doing that for myself, but I’m a better mom in the long run when I make time for myself while my husband is away. The hardest part for me really is transitioning back once my husband returns home. I put up an emotional way to survive the deployment, but I have a difficult time taking it back down once he returns home. Great post! Sharing now!

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