It’s almost bedtime, almost. You start your bedtime routine at 6:30 on the dot and if all goes well, the kids will be asleep by 7:30, or 8:30, usually by 9, but sometimes even as late as 10:00. It just depends.
If your spouse is deployed at the moment, it really doesn’t matter how long bedtime takes, it will still be 100% on you to get those kids to bed. There will be no trading off nights, no asking for help, no relief if you had a burned out day and need to just chill by yourself for a bit.
Solo parenting doesn’t allow that.
Solo parenting means you play both mom and dad, even if you are tired.
Solo parenting means you make all the daily decisions for the kids, and that can get exhausting.
Solo parenting means you can’t wait for the little bit of me
The first time I ever became a solo parent my son was 13 months old. It was quite a shock to the system. And one I never fully got used to. Everything was on me. And at times, I felt like I couldn’t get it done.
So to the burned out solo parent, I get it. This is hard. Really hard.
You have too much to do, you just do
That’s the reality of the situation. You have to prioritize and let some things go. You can’t do it all, and if you try, solo parenting will be that much more difficult for you. You are doing everything you have to do and stepping in for the other parent as well.
Keep this in mind when you feel like you can’t get it all done, you weren’t supposed to get it all done. Some things can wait for the next day, the next week, or even when they get back home.
You have to stay busy
Staying home all day, every day, with children and no spouse coming home at night is going to make this whole deployment thing a bit more complicated.
Find places to go, even if you just walk down to the park. Find people to hang out with, even if it is just for an hour. Find new hobbies, and get your kids involved in them too.
You have to give yourself a break
What you are doing is not easy, and a lot of people might never understand what solo parenting is really like. They might say things that annoy you or piss you off. They just don’t totally understand.
But don’t let them get you down. Figure out what works for you and your kids and do it, even if what you choose to do is different than the norm.
Find that me time
I know, it’s hard to find time for yourself but see what you can do. Things that have helped me along the way were hourly care on post, MOPS, PWOC, trading babysitting with friends, having family come and help, spending time on myself after the kids go to bed, and being able to say no sometimes. Taking care of ourselves is so important too, we can’t forget that in the midst of our solo parenting days.
So to the burned out solo parent, think of one thing you could do right now to help ease some of the stress. Write it down, make a plan to get it done, or ask a friend to help you. There are things you can do to make this part of military life a little bit easier.
How do you make things a little easier for yourself when you are in a season of solo parenting?