Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ten Lessons From Single Parenthood

Shannon got back from his trip to the States late on Monday night. Wow, was it good to see him! This was the longest we've been apart in our nearly five years of marriage, and never with two kids in tow! I don't think Lane let him out of her sight at all yesterday.

We three girls made the most of it and had a good time, but you know, un-fun things just happen. Like sicknesses. Two new molars. A 3-month growth spurt (and the corresponding lack of sleep). Snow, rain, and 30-degree temperatures. Late bedtimes and early wake times.

But good things happen, too. Things like learning new words. Eating all of lunch and dinner. Making cookie dough and getting to lick the beater. Meeting new friends. Diaper blowouts. Slumber parties with old friends. Packages from grandparents. 10-week olds sleeping 8 hours stretches at a time. 3-hour long naps. New videos and correspondingly, new signs to help us communicate.

So, it was a long two weeks. But it was also fun. I learned a few things and thought I'd share them with you, should it ever look like you'll be single parenting for a few days:

1) Showers are overrated. Sleep is not.
2) The bathtub is a great way to occupy your toddler and to keep them in one spot. Simply fill with bubbles, warm water, and toddler. Enjoy an hour of [relative] freedom.
3) In case you decide that you actually need an overrated shower, a laptop with a show in the bathroom is a lifesaver. Place laptop on counter, toddler on toilet. Close the door, press play, and take a shower with little worries.
4) Go to the park as often as possible. Not only will it refresh your spirits (hello, fresh air!) and entertain your toddler, but it will also wear said toddler out, causing them to sleep longer.
5) Make a menu and stock up on all non-perishables for that menu before your spouse leaves. Stick to the menu while he's gone. This ensures that you a) eat real food, and b) don't go crazy trying to figure out what to cook.
6) Don't put things into the washing machine and leave them there to wash at a later date. Stuff like this happens:

I accidentally left my new red sweater in the washing machine before it had been washed...and tossed our cloth diapers in. So now they're all pink. Sigh. At least we have girls, right?...

7) Accept every offer of help! If someone wants to have you over for dinner, go! Yes, it might take a bit of effort to get there, but it will be well worth it to have someone else help you entertain and/or hold your kids for a couple hours, plus you get adult conversation. Everyone wins.
8) Speaking of going places, it is essential that everything you need to carry with you fit into your purse. (This really only applies to those of us who don't have a car.) If need be, buy a bigger purse (like I did two weeks ago). Get one that is big enough to hold the essentials: wallet, phone, tissues, hand sanitizer, eye drops (for contact wearers), 2-3 diapers, wipes, one change of clothes for baby, one pair of pants for mostly-potty-trained toddler. Make sure it has a shoulder strap! Then when you're going places on buses you'll only have one arm/hand dedicated to carrying stuff and the other can be dedicated to the toddler.
9) Don't freak out. Try to enjoy your kids. Keep expectations of yourself low. Feed everyone. Make sure they're fairly clean and happy, and be happy with yourself if these things happen!
10) Appreciate your spouse. Because you never realize just exactly how much they do for you until they're gone!


  1. Thanks for the tips they will come in handy when my husband leaves us for two weeks! I didn't even notice the cloth diapers had changed colors, I just assumed they were pink.

  2. Was "diaper blowout" supposed to be in the good things happen paragraph ;) Time for that non over rated sleep you mentioned!

    1. Uhh, yeah...guess I do need some sleep! Although diaper blowouts are a good thing when you've been expecting them and they finally happen AT HOME. Then they don't happen while you're out and about! =)

  3. I haven't read any blogs in a long time--how long was he gone? Every time Mike leaves I appreciate him and single parents more. Even with the kids as big as mine!
    Some college students from my home town are going to Istanbul next week. :) Made me think of you-

  4. I was going to mention the diaper blowout on the good list too! And I like the pink diapers!


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