Part-Time Single Mother

My husband, PER, travels a lot for his work. It seems to come in spurts. He won’t have a trip for months, and then suddenly he’s traveling three weeks out of the month. Sometimes it’s just a day-trip, and then other times it’s a whole week. Luckily he’s almost always home by the weekend. It makes me feel like a part-time single mother. I have to make certain adjustments and lower my expectations when he’s gone.

A friend of mine recently wrote to me to ask for some advice on being such a part-time single mother. Her husband is going through some training for his work that requires him to be away during the week for the next six weeks. That is an awfully long time!

Her situation inspired me to use this outlet to talk about what I’ve learned in the past 14 months about surviving the time on my own. So here it is:

  • Make sure you have support. If you don’t have family close by, line up the babysitters. I sometimes have someone come every day, even if it’s only for an hour. It’s important to be able to get some rest, get a break, and/or get a few things done.
  • Prepare over the weekend. Cook, clean, do laundry, run and empty the dishwasher, etc. We try to get these things done while one of us is able to take care of Aleksander, so I have less to worry about during the week on my own.
  • Prepare to make easy meals. I often have soup, spaghetti, or baked chicken – quick and easy. Or you can cook double ahead of time and eat the leftovers during the week.
  • Take a nap and/or get to bed early. Having the care of a child all day takes extra energy, so you’ll need extra rest.
  • Go easy on yourself! You’re not going to get as much done when you’re on your own. You may have to let some things slide. And that’s okay!! I generally don’t count on getting anything done other than taking care of Aleksander. I usually do end up getting a few things done, but then it feels like a big bonus 🙂
  • Still make time for yourself. Don’t let that tank drain down to empty, or you won’t be able to take care of yourself or your child. Get a pedicure, do some yoga, or even just sit for five minutes with a cup of tea – whatever you do to rejuvenate yourself.
  • When your husband gets home, remember to take some time for just the two of you. Go on a date if you can. If not, spend a little quality time together after your little one goes to bed. It’s so important to stay connected with each other.
  • On that note, remember that your spouse has probably had a rough week, too. It’s hard to imagine, but PER actually puts in more hours when he’s on the road than when he’s home. Add to that the flights or driving, and it’s a pretty strenuous time for him. As much as I’d like to just hand Aleksander over to him when he walks through the door, I know he needs a little time to wind down. You might want to talk about how you want to deal with that transition time, so you’re both clear about your expectations.

So there you have it. My tips to surviving part-time single-motherhood. I can’t imagine being a full-time single mom. To all you single moms out there, hats off to you!!!

Question: Do you have any tips to add?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gretchen
    Jan 19, 2011 @ 13:48:47

    My kids are older and Bryan doesn’t travel but working full time with two kids requires a lot of planning to keep the balls in the air. Some of the things I do:

    Cook on the weekends and make a meal plan for the week. I usually make one or two things and freeze them, then fill in with veggies and stuff

    Everyone has to be up and out the door by 7am so I make Lucas’s lunch the night before and I set up the coffee pot. When Matthew was little, I would make all his bottles too. I pack my stuff (lunch, papers etc) the night before too.

    Echoing you above, get a good nights sleep, but everything is so much harder to deal with if you are exhausted.

    Folks have different view on TV but if I have to get something done, (Laundry, cooking, 5 mins to myself) they watch TV and it works like a charm:)

    And yes, I too have NO idea how single parents do it


  2. KateR
    Jan 19, 2011 @ 16:19:55

    Gretchen, thanks so much for contributing to this post! These are more great ideas. And it’s great to get the perspective of a working mother, too. We all have our challenges! I don’t know how you manage to get out the door by 7!!! Wonder Woman!!


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