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Lessons from single parenting

Have you been wondering where I’ve been the last month? Well I’ve been here butI’ve been far too busy single parenting or as I like to call it ‘solo parenting’ because I have too much respect for single parents to call myself one of them.

Hubby has been overseas for the last month and I’ve been doing the parenting thing on my own.

And let me tell you I have a new found respect for single parents.

Oh my gosh, it has been hard trying to do everything on your own from running a house, working, staying healthy and fit, studying, blogging and leaving the house looking semi-respectable. And I only did it for a month!

I have no idea how people can do this month after month. I guess in many cases, they make it work because they have to.

But after four weeks I think I managed quite well. So I thought I’d share my tips – here are the lessons from single parenting.

THE TOUGH THINGS

It all started off after bub’s first birthday – I won’t go into details, but to get the run down on the worst first birthday party ever, click here.

I stocked up on everything:

Before hubby went away, I stocked up on emergency foods and heavy non-perishable items: pre-packaged emergency food for bub, canned tomatoes, canned beans, formula, toilet paper. I hate going to the supermarket and I knew I would hate it even more if I had to go and do big item shops. So I stocked up on everything I thought I would need prior to hubby leaving.

Why does solo parenting suck? Because your pantry has to be absolutely chockers.

I had to get a babysitter so I could exercise:

Talk about an expensive run. Don’t get me wrong, I love our babysitter and my little one loves her, but it would be so much better if we had a relative living nearby who could look after bub for an hour while I went for a jog, or even just twenty minutes so I could have a swim. But no… gone are the days I can just go for a run when I felt like it!

Why does solo parenting suck? Because if you don’t have support, trying to be fit is hard.

Runner man feet running on road closeup on shoe. Male fitness at

Mornings:

Most mornings would begin between 5 and 6am. If I’m lucky I’ll wake up first and have a shower. If bub wakes up first and I don’t get my shower in, I will be late for work. Depending on this, bub will either have a quick breaky (toast and banana) or a longer breakfast of porridge, honey and banana. To entertain him and still get ready for work, I transport him to and from the rooms I am in on his little ride-along train, and sit him in front of some books or toys while I showered, put my face on etc.

Why does solo parenting suck? Mornings are that much more rushed and you get that much more annoyed at the little things that go wrong.

Evenings:

I went to bed before 9:30pm every night. In fact, last night I settled into bed and checked my phone – it was 6:30! Bub usually went down to bed between 6-7pm. For 30 minutes I finished tidying up after dinner, stacking the dishwasher, putting toys away, and a general clean. Then I did ten-fifteen minutes or so of Pilates. Only 10 minutes, that’s all I could fit in. Then I either a) typed away at my thesis, b) sorted out some behind the scenes blogging stuff c) read a book or d) fell asleep. Usually it involved a) then d).

This was my usual routine at the beginning of the four weeks. At the moment, however, it looks more like. Bub goes to bed quickly followed by me.

Why does solo parenting suck? You’re so exhausted that by the time you get bub to bed, you want to be in bed yourself.

Food Preparation:

I have had to be so organised! I’m not joking, I was annoyingly organised (you know the people I’m talking about!). Sunday’s, Tuesdays and Thursdays I have to cook for the next two days. As I work Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I knew I wouldn’t want to be cooking something fresh that night, so the day before (the day I had off work) I cooked lunches and dinners for my work days.

Often these meals were slow cooked. I put the slow cooker on and left it. Four-six hours later it was done. Other meals were big bowls of steamed veggies which meant all I had to do when I go home was put on a bit of chicken breast and it was done.

On my days off, if I was organised I would do all my cooking during bubs afternoon sleep. 95% of the food we eat is homemade and healthy, so I needed to be organised. Plus I’ve also been doing the Four Hour Body, which has made me feel fantastic, by the way! Anyway, I usually had to have meals already made up in the fridge two days out.

Why does solo parenting suck? If you don’t want to cook, you have to. You have to feed your little one and you can’t get someone to go get takeaways so you have to cook!

quiche

I was always cooking meals that latest a couple of days

I bought milk every time I went to the shop:

Bub weaned to cow’s milk over the last month and my biggest fear was running out of milk. So every time I went to the shop I bought a couple of litres of milk so I always had at least 1 litre in the fridge and didn’t have to worry.

Why does solo parenting suck? Because you’re always lugging around milk?

I was proactive with everything:

I am often a ‘do-it-later’ kind of person. Not this month! Everything was done now! If I didn’t do it, it didn’t get done. Need to buy a birthday present? Let’s do it now! Need to vacuum? Done!

Why does solo parenting suck? Because sometimes I just wanted to do nothing, but I always had to be doing something because if I didn’t do it…. It didn’t get done!

We left the house every day:

I am a total hermit. I love being home in my own space. But it is so important to both bub and I to get out in the fresh air. So I made effort every day to leave the house, even if it was just spending time in the courtyard out the back, it was still out in the sunshine!

Why does solo parenting suck? Because sometimes I just wanted to stay indoors, but I didn’t have someone else to rely on to take bub outside, it was me and only me.

I had to think creatively:

I hate taking the rubbish out – it is hubby’s job. Plus, I can’t very well leave bub in the apartment while I take the garbage down five flights of stairs into the basement, but I also can’t carry him and the bags at the same time and then lift the skip lid. So I had to be creative. When I left for work in the morning, and had bub in his pram, I took the rubbish out. It only added a couple of minutes to my trip and it meant that I could do everything! Easy!

Secondly, in order for me to have a shower longer than 2 minutes, I brought a box of rarely used toys into the bathroom for bub to play with while I showered. The toys were rarely used so they were almost like brand new to him! It meant I could have a shower for ten minutes, or longer if I wanted.

Why does solo parenting suck? Because I hate taking the rubbish out…. FACT!!!

I had to put up with a creepy internet guy:

No getting hubby to meet the man who came to fix the internet, I had to put up with him myself. First of all he somehow wrangled into conversation a question about my boyfriend/husband (“excuse me… that’s none of your business Mr Creepy Repairman”), he followed me around the room after he’d finished and didn’t get the social cues of “okay you have to go now”, and then he conveniently left something behind and had to come back to get it. Unsurprisingly, even as unsafe as it is, I’ve deadlocked bub and I in the house since!

Why does solo parenting suck? Because there are some people in life that I’d prefer not to deal with.

Although I have had to be quite hypervigilent, proactive and super organised the last month, and had a sick bub some of the time too, I did actually really enjoy it. So here is why I think solo parenting rules.

THE WONDERFUL THINGS

My bed was always made:

Hubby always kicks the sheet out of his side of the bed. Which means when I get out of bed, either at 4am to feed bub or at 6pm to start my day, the bed it trashed. But while he wasn’t here, the bed always looked perfect! I am a fairly peaceful sleeper and all I had to do was pull my side of the doona over and the bed was made!

Why does solo parenting rule? My house always looked so tidy!

I made the most of my ‘me’ time:

The one thing with solo parenting, you never get time to yourself. Well that’s not true, when bub is sleeps – that is the only time you get to yourself. So you really make the most of it. During these times I either fell asleep myself(!), chipped away at some study, painted my nails or read a book. No, I didn’t tidy the house or do any other chores, I made the most of the solitude and did what I wanted.

Why does solo parenting rule? Because you really make the most of every moment.

I made the most of 'me' time

I made the most of ‘me’ time

I only had to clean up after one kid, not two:

Although he will deny it, hubby is messy! So the house was almost always clean – there were no clothes lying on the floor, whiskers in the sink or random cups left in every room.

Why does solo parenting rule? Again, my house always looked so tidy!

I could eat what I wanted:

Hubby being an athlete has to eat certain foods, aka lots of carbs. But while he was away I got to eat whatever I wanted. Including as much chocolate as I felt necessary!

Why does solo parenting rule? I feel so much better when I eat less carbs.

I had my bub all to myself:

By far the best thing about being a solo parent is that you have all the time in the world with your bub. We had much more quality time as there was just the two of us. I didn’t have to share him!

What is the best thing about solo parenting? I had all the kisses and snuggles to myself for a whole month, and that truly is why solo parenting does have its benefits too!

What are your tips for solo parenting? Comment below.

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About Lauren Jackman (160 Articles)
Lauren Jackman is the author of Canberra Mummy. A self-confessed perfectionist, Lauren writes about the truth about pregnancy and parenting for perfectionist mummies. Lauren is a mum, wife, author, runner and a not a bad cook