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Solo parenting isn’t for the weak. Single parents, military parents – they’re my heroes. I have no idea how they do it. They really are super moms and super dads!
When you’re solo parenting, everything falls on you. There’s no one there to help with the chores, help with the kids, or even keep you company at night. The days I’m solo parenting are long, stressful, exhausting, anxiety-filled, lonely days. And the nights? They’re pretty miserable. Luckily, my husband doesn’t travel too much. Usually just 2-3 days every other week. I can’t imagine what it would be like if he was gone months at a time.
Since he’s started traveling, I’ve figured out a few tricks and tips that have helped me while he’s gone. So if your husband or wife is about to head out on a business trip, check out these 10 simple tips to survive solo parenting when your spouse is traveling.
1. Make Chick-fil-A Your Second Home
Seriously. Because who needs to be cooking and cleaning when you’re doing ALL the other things while your spouse is gone? Either swing through the drive thru and pick up dinner, or stop by for lunch and let the kids play while you sip some coffee and relax.
2. Use Paper Plates
If you do decide to eat at home, don’t make more of a mess for yourself. Use paper plates. The fewer the dishes, the better when you’re solo parenting!
3. Loosen Up on Screen Time
If there ever was a time to loosen up on screen time rules, it’s when you’re solo parenting.
4. Book a Babysitter for the Evening
Or the morning, or the afternoon – whatever works best for you! I prefer the evening because that way, I don’t have to do bedtime. Bedtime is one of my least favorite times of the day, and having someone else take care of it for me is amazing. I’ll go to Target and stroll around leisurely while the babysitter fights with the kids about pjs, brushing teeth, going potty, and staying in their bed.
5. Eat Dinner on TV Trays
Dinner time can be super frustrating too, when you’re solo parenting. Break out a TV tray like this one or this one, and plug the kids into the matrix, er, let them watch Paw Patrol while you eat your dinner in peace. (And while it’s still hot.)
6. Invite Yourself Over to a Friend’s House for Dinner
The less you have to cook and clean while you’re solo parenting, the better. Pick up the phone and call or text your best mom friends. They’ll be happy to help out. And you can return the favor when they’re solo parenting! We don’t have to do it all. Let’s lean on our tribe when we need to.
7. Cook Easy, Low Mess Dinners
If all else fails, and you have to cook while you’re spouse is gone, choose easy, low mess dinners. One pot meals or crock pot dinners are great. Don’t try a new complicated recipe. No need to wear yourself out!
8. Do Everything the Night Before
Mornings are always tough for me. Getting everyone out the door on time is difficult when there are two parents helping. So on mornings when I have to do it alone, it’s key to make sure everything is set out the night before. Lay out clothes, pack lunches, find the coats and shoes. Being prepared will save you a lot of stress early in the morning.
9. Install an Alarm System
The most difficult thing for me when I’m solo parenting is sleeping alone at night. Just knowing that I’m the only adult in the house gives me a ton of anxiety. If something goes wrong or something happens – it’s all on me to remain calm and deal with the situation. Having an alarm system has helped out a lot. Knowing that if (God forbid) someone breaks in or there’s a fire, the police will be alerted automatically helps to calm some of my fears.
10. Have a Nighttime Routine for Yourself
Even though we’ve got an alarm system, it’s still so hard for me to fall asleep when I’m alone. Usually, I stay up super late the first night so that I’m barley able to keep my eyes open. Then I’m exhausted the rest of the days I’m solo parenting. And a tired mom isn’t the best mom. So having a calming nighttime routine for yourself is important. Get completely ready for bed, take a bath, have a cup of tea, read a book – whatever you need to do to get your body ready for sleep and calm your nerves and anxiety.
So next time you’re parenting all alone for a few days, try out some of these tips. And if all else fails, make sure your house is stocked with lots of coffee and wine!