Our school year is up and running! It’s been a busy few weeks transitioning into new routines and different school environments, but thankfully, my girls are pretty flexible and have adjusted nicely to all the “newness” of the school year.
It’s been on my mind for a while to write a little something about parenting– and in particular “single parenting.” As some of you know, our family spent most of the last school year separated. My husband took a new job about 2 hrs. away from our home and commuted back to us on most weekends. We did this for about 8 months.
Since May we have been under the same roof again, and I can say looking back now, it’s all kind of a blur, lol! At least all the day to day stuff. But as a whole, I definitely see a clearer picture of what that experience was like and how I’ve learned and grown through it.
As I write this, I have several friends in mind that are experiencing some version of parenting solo, and as much as I want to say to them “you’ll be fine!”….I truthfully know the amount of energy it takes and the emotional roller coaster of feelings it puts you through to parent little ones on your own.
Also, I know there is a whole, completely different level of single parenting that I cannot speak to or understand —and that is the group of parents who parent alone with no end in sight. To those parents, all I can say is you are an everyday hero…like literally a hero every single day. You have all the weight (good and bad) on your shoulders, and you parent without a lot (or probably zero) recognition. Even if some days look ugly or aren’t your best, you surpass most others with your level of patience, energy and love.
For me, I’ve learned a lot about the good & bad parts of myself through the “single parenting” stretches. Here’s a quick look:
GOOD-Challenges are a good thing. I am more independent than I realized. I’m strong-physically and emotionally. I can do more than I give myself credit for. I can “manage” most household issues. I’m not afraid to be by myself. I enjoy alone time. I can find joy in a situation, even if it is not going my way. Happiness is a choice—even when life feels hard and tricky. My daughters can see me flourish or fail—and I want to be the most successful mom I can be for them.
BAD-My patience after 5pm with my children is basically non-existent. At some point in the day, I just start ignoring people. When I’m tired, my discipline becomes inconsistent and lazy. When I need a break and it doesn’t happen, that makes me want a nap that much more. Sometime I make dessert to hide my feelings (sad but true, lol!)
If are you in a stretch of parenting on your own, below are some of the things that helped me survive for 8 months:
Good friends & family-the people that called, came over, or did the smallest thing to make the day go smoother (meals, babysitting, playdates, etc!)
Time with Jesus-Usually my solo parenting was a lot more successful when I was in prayer and spent time reading God’s Word. My perspective became eternal instead of temporary and I clung to promises like this one: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are made new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’” Lamentations 3:22-23.
A good book/TV show- Especially at night after the kids went to bed. Through this phase, I rediscovered my love for reading and also caught up on some shows I wouldn’t normally watch.
Caffeine & an adult drink- I had my mandatory coffee to get me through the day and would sometimes have a glass of wine to relax after a crazy night (keeping it real, for ya)!
Every parenting journey is different, and after the many months of having to do it in a solo way, I am thankful for it all. I feel like a better individual, mom and wife because of the hard moments. Its the challenging things that shape you and also help you appreciate life.
If you find yourself in a similar phase or if you’ve been at this whole single parent thing for a while now, I’m rooting for you!