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.