Lately Aaron’s job has meant a little more traveling and a few more late nights at the office which means I’m solo-parenting a bit more. Look at this guy! He’s SuperDad! It seems like he has 8 arms so when he is gone I definitely feel it. Now I know I don’t have it nearly as bad as some and I have no clue how you single parents do it. My hats off to you! So while I am by no means an expert, here are a few tips I’ve picked up that really help me when I’m doing this parenting thing by myself:
Ask for Help: Because we don’t have family nearby I’ve had to ask friends for help. At first I felt embarrassed to ask friends or that I was imposing on their time. I should be able to do this by myself after all, right? Well, what I’ve found is that my friends were more than happy to help! I’m lucky to have a few moms in my apartment building that I have grown close with that have come over to watch the girls while I shower or step out for a few minutes for errands. A girlfriend offered to take Edie to school in the morning on her way to work. I’ve even had a friend send over a delicious pizza dinner while Aaron was away and both the girls were sick. It seriously made my day!
Order In/Meal Prep: Speaking of pizza dinner, I try to budget for ordering out the nights Aaron is gone. I get Mexican take-out or a rotisserie chicken with a few sides and those usually get us through a few days with the leftovers. Everyone is happy and I get to keep a little of my sanity. Sometimes if I am really on top of things and feeling ambitious (which isn’t that often) I cook a whole bunch of chicken and roasted veggies and portion those out for a few days. I also add some Annie’s mac & cheese to the menu because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love that mac & cheese.
Go to the Gym: Okay, I know. I hate the gym too. But when you don’t have a regular babysitter, that 2-hour window at the gym daycare can be a lifesaver! Go for a swim, walk on the treadmill, take a yoga class, or just hang out in the locker room and shower by yourself. This has turned my crappy day around more than a few times.
Keep it Simple: Lastly, I try to be easy on myself. I don’t plan a trip all the way uptown to the Natural History Museum or all day outings roaming aimlessly around the city. I stay close to home and keep expectations low. I have to be flexible about what the kids and I need that day. Staying busy with playdates and music class is helpful. But I also know that sometimes getting out to the playground and throwing our “schedule” out the window, even though it’s during nap time or close to dinner, helps us all relax, smile, and have a good time.
What are your tips for solo-parenting?