19 Solo Parenting Hacks to Use the Next Time Your Spouse Deploys
Solo parenting is the pits. Being the only adult in charge can be challenging. Luckily, there are ways to make solo parenting a little bit easier. Here are some solo parenting hacks to use the next time your spouse deploys, or even just goes away for any amount of time.
1. Meal prep
Planning out your meals is always a good idea. Then, when dinnertime comes around, you won’t be struggling with what to make. This will also save you money each week too.
2. Use your village
If you have your people, use them when you need to. Find friends you can depend on and be there for them too. Working together with others will help you during this period of your life.
3. Get ready the night before
If you have a busy morning, get ready the night before. This means packing lunches, laying out clothes, and anything you would normally have to do in the morning. That way, once you get up, you know what you need to do to get out of the house on time.
4. Follow a schedule
Even if you don’t normally stick to a strict schedule, having some kind of daily routine can be a good idea. It helps keep things movings and will help your kids know what is going on.
5. Stay consistent in your discipline
This is the hardest things to do. When you have to fill the roles of both mom and dad, burnout can happen quickly. Try hard to be consistent in your discipline as much as you can.
6. Use online grocery shopping
Order online. Go pick up. Save yourself the task of taking all your kids into the grocery store once a week.
7. Trade babysitting with a friend
If you don’t have the extra money to hire a babysitter, or just don’t feel comfortable with doing so, trade babysitting with a friend. This can help both of you out, and you can get things done without having to take your kids with you everywhere.
8. Put kids to bed early
Put your kids to bed early. This will give you more time for yourself and makes the evening hours go by a lot faster. You can do dinner, get them ready for bed, and then have at least an hour or two to clean up or relax.
9. Use paper products sometimes
Sometimes it is okay to take a break from all the dishes and use paper plates. This doesn’t mean you will do this forever, just to get a bit of a break. If the dishes are driving you nuts, use this tip to scale back on what you have to do.
10. Sleep where people need to sleep
If your kids sleep better with you, and you don’t mind, let them sleep there. Fighting sleep during a deployment is the worst. The truth is, when your spouse gets back, you can work on better sleeping arrangements if need be. You and your kids need your rest.
11. Make easy foods
You don’t have to make a big meal every day. Find easy meals to make for you and your kids. Sandwiches and cereal nights can help on busier days. Figure out what meals your kids love and rotate through those instead of always trying to come up with something new.
12. Do something fun every day
Plan to do something fun every day. You could just go to the park, the library, or a visit to Chick-Fil-A for their indoor playground. Getting out and doing something everyday will break up the boredom and make the days go by a lot faster.
13. Invite family to come visit and offer a lending hand
If you are close with your family, invite them to stay with you. They can offer a helping hand. They can also see where you live and explore your current city.
14. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Deployments mean a lot of stress. Try not to sweat the small stuff. Especially when it comes to the kids.
15. Plan for me time
Make sure to plan for “me” time. See if you your kids can go to CYS, stay with a friend, or even a family member. Take bubble baths, read books, and don’t forget about yourself.
16. Don’t beat yourself up
Don’t beat yourself up for what you can’t seem to do this deployment. If you start to feel guilty about what you can’t do, you will become overwhelmed with everything. Figure out what is most important and try not to stress about the rest.
17. Take lots of photos
Your spouse will want to see what you are doing when you are gone. Take lots of photos. Then share with your deployed spouse. They will be glad that you did.
18. Give your kids chores
If your kids are old enough, give them chores. Even having your kids help a bit with the dishes and the laundry can take stress off of you. Figure out a good plan for chores for your kids.
19. Make lots of plans with friends
Plan playdates as often as you can. Your kids can play and you can chat with other adults. If you are still looking for friends, get out there and start meeting people. Join a MOPS group or a YMCA playgroup. There should be something going on in your community that you can take your kids to where you can meet other people.
Remember too; solo parenting is a temporary season of your life. While you will have to do it again at some point with a spouse in the military, you won’t always have to do it alone.
What solo parenting hacks have helped you over the years?