Life as a married single parent
Two years since we started this lifestyle and the questions are still asked…
How do you manage parenting two girls all by yourself?
Don’t you miss your husband?
Don’t they miss their father?
Of course we miss daddy and of course days can get really difficult single parenting but thankfully we have ways to survive through.
I thought that would be nice to share my tips with you today and maybe there are women like me out there that need a little bit of help.
Embrace your life
Try and be as positive as you can. Look for the benefits in the situation and make the most of it. Become a positive affirmation junkie! If you have a positive attitude than your kids will copy you. And if they are happy life is a lot easier.
Routine & stability is the key
Creating a stable environment for little people is a high priority. To this it helps a lot that we have my parents next door and lots and lots of friends around. If kids know what to expect helps them to know how to behave and respond. My eldest knows that from Monday to Friday she goes to school, that on Saturday she has ballet and Sunday is the day to relax…sometimes staying with grandparents or seeing friends. And this is just a glimpse of our routine. We have a time to get up and have breakfast, school run, lunch, nap-time,afternoon activities and studying, dinner time, bath time, bedtime etc. All this is the framework to our days and everything else in between is flexible. Daddy can come and go but all the aspects of our lives stay the same.
Stability & Routine = Reduced anxiety & fear for little kids
When daddy goes off to catch his plane I make a point NOT to make a fuss, especially for the kids. I actually learned this from my eldest. She hates goodbyes and down plays and acts like the day her daddy goes back to work is a day like every other day. I know it is very hard for her especially and I always try to stop myself from crying. For us the separation can be long from 2 to 3-4 months so it is hard to down play-it …but we try and it gets easier..especially because my girls chat to their father a lot via FaceTime.
I am not the most organised person and you will know it straight away if you step into my home. I always fall behind time with cleaning, washing up, putting the clothes away etc. but when it come to the rest…I can be really good. I always have a well stock fridge and freezer(thanks to my dad)and plus my baking cupboard is always filled. If I get too wrapped up in everyday and playing with the girls I always find something to give them to it and if they fancy a bit of baking (kids always do) I have everything at hand.
Keep daddy in the loop
My girls love the camera! And I always take lots and lots of pictures with the girls so I can put them here on the blog where daddy can see them as well. However I do use my phone too for fast, easy, instant keep in the loop with what is happening at home. And let me tell you daddy loves it and the girls are smiling even more when they know it is a message for daddy.
Although daddy doesn’t send us any videos he does chat with us via FaceTime almost every night. My eldest and my husband even play with each other via FaceTime or they read stories.
My youngest grabs the iPad sometimes very early morning and she calls daddy all by herself! And she is only two!
Technology is great as it helps us to stay in touch no matter where we are!
When daddy is home with us…he is all ours! Well…first the girls! Every single moment we spend together as a family of four is well appreciated. They have his undivided attention and he has theirs. When he is home he is just here. He doesn’t have to run to work or do anything else. The quote…”distance makes the heart grow fonder” is something that resonates with us. When daddy is home mummy is usually baking more cakes, we visit places, go on holidays and altogether have lots of fun!
As I said above I am thankful to have my parents just next door so when I need to go away from my girls to a dentist appointment etc. there is someone to look after them. And of course we do have quite a lot of friends around too and extended family. After living so many years without nobody else to count on besides my husband it is reassuring to know there is always someone to call if the need arises.
Take some time away from the 24/7 parenting
Although is the most wonderful thing in the whole world being a parent 24/7 can be exhausting. If you have to do it all by yourself most of the time than it’s millions time harder. So if you can put your support network to work and go shopping by yourself, to have your nails done or even out for a drink with your best friend. Sometimes even an hour away from parenting can make a very BIG difference to the way you look at things.
Talk talk and talk again
Talk about everything and anything with your husband. And encourage him to tell you about his day to day life when away. It helps a lot to be able to talk to each other with no boundaries no matter where you are. Although you are far from each other and can fulfil the physical part of the relationship it doesn’t mean that you can’t have the rest.
Don’t argue about trivial things. It is hard for both of you. I know…believe me I know it is hard not to get angry and ratty every now and then…but arguing will not help. Talk calm about everything..take a DEEP BREATH and COUNT TO 10. It might not always work but it does.
Adult time = Mommy & Daddy time
Make sure that while your husband is at home you get some Mommy and Daddy time only. My girls are both in bed by 9 – 10 pm the latest so we always have our evenings for us and we can even scoot away for a night out if we want. My girls favourite babysitter is just next door remember?
We don’t do it as often as we should though…but it is still nice to cuddle and watch a movie together.
LOVE YOUR OWN COMPANY
If you are like me you always put your own needs and wishes on the last place. Always looking after the other and never after yourself …well now is time to change that! Use the nap-times to rest too or to do what makes you happy. Read a book, have a soak in the bath tub anything your hearts wishes.
Do the same about the time after your kids go to sleep. When daddy is not home my youngest is in bed by 8 and eldest by 9! Sometimes I am too knackered to do anything at all so I just sit and watch a movie and leave the washing up for the morning, Sometimes I speak to my husband via FaceTime but most of the time I do what I enjoy the most blogging and learning more about photography.
When my husband is at home we function as a unit we split duties just by looking at each other.
But that doesn’t mean that I can’t just make the most of the time alone – growing as a person, BETTER myself as a human being.
I hope that if you are in the same situation as me my tips above will help to make your life easier.
Polka Dot Family
Some really great advice. I do love that no matter the miles between you both that you are still able to talk so often.
Mummy of Two
Great advice. My husband worked away for a year when my son was just 2 and although it was hard to start with we soon got used to the routine and weekends were so special spending time together as a family.
Cherished By Me
Thank goodness for facetime, so lovely that you can all talk to him everyday. Great that your family are so close and supportive too.
some fantastic tips Otilia, how fab that you have such a great support network too 🙂 ..
What a wonderfully positive post in what must be a very difficult situation at times. Great that you get to speak so regularly!
Kids and technology these days amaze me! Facetime is brilliant and it’s lovely that you and the girls can talk to him everyday 🙂
Really important tips I often feel like a single parent as my husband is out of the house for 15 hours a day. Its tough. And I think part of the battle is actually recognising this. And then taking the steps you mention.
Lovely tips Otilia – and so nice of you to share thing things you have learnt to work to help others x
Boo Roo and Tigger Too
A good support network I can imagine is a must have, having friends or family there to help you with the little ones and also provide adult conversation.
Sylvia @ Happiness is homemade
Great advice Otilla! Seems like you managed to keep it all going while your husband is away and it’s great to see that even though it’s very tough you can still find positives in it 🙂
This is a great post – some good tips in here. Like you, my own mother was a married single parent. I know she found it very hard – I think she could have benefited from some of your wisdoms (and having the grandparents next door!)
The mummy madnes
Aww well done you, I con only imagine how hard it is. Great advice where would we be without FaceTime!
This is brilliant advice – especially about downplaying the time he is away – my partner occassionally goes away for work and I will use that for times when he does go away.
Some very good advice on this post sure gets people thinking.
Emma | The Mini Mes and Me
Having time child free as both an individual and couple is so important. It’s great to let your hair down and enjoy yourself x
Great post Otilia, loads of very good advice, and to be honest I think a lot of it could be applied to any couple where one of you works and the other is the main carer for children! It must be tough for you, but I’m glad to hear you have some good support networks x
Excellent advice lovely, you’re lucky to have a good support network 🙂 xxx
great tips, good that you have lots of support. I can’t imagine not having my husband around daily
Jen aka Muminthemadhouse
I think that married single parenting is more common that we think. Lots of military wives do it all the time. It is not my choice, but you have some fab tips
Some really great advice there, all things considered it sounds as though you have a great support network.
I can relate to this. My husband worked away for 5 years and we only saw him for a few days a month. It is hard but your tips are very good. I actually found it harder for him to slip into our routine when he was at home, we had to work hard to prevent him becoming surpless to requirments
Carolynne @ Mummy Endeavours
It must be hard at times but it’s great you are positive! I would actually like some time to myself, I don’t mind my own company and no one to fight for the TV remote with 😉 And fab you speak often and have your Mum next door x
I feel like a single parent sometimes due to hubby’s long hours and shift work. I hated it when he worked about for two months but we did get a routine eventually
My dada worked away alot when I was a child and it just becomes your normal. Im sure your girls are the same. x
For me it is very hard to imagine life like this… from time to time Mark stays in London for a whole week at the time and I really struggle to cope on my own…
Kelly @ MoneyMakingMommy
This is my life exactly. My husband makes it home one, maybe two weekends a month and we’re going on year two of this. My kids are older – but it’s still very hard. At first, I felt somewhat abandon — and just exhausted. He felt guilt about being away all the time like he was a “deadbeat dad”.
Things have gotten better, communication is key. But it’s still very difficult, even after 20+ years of marriage.
When my friends and I get together and they complain about their husbands — I tell them….”You have no idea how many millions of little things your husband does for you. Don’t take that for granted.”
I am sorry that you are alone with the kids so long. We are going on the 3rd year now…but when he comes he stays 2-3 weeks which is nice.
I am just seeing this a year later but it helped oh so much. My husband is gone Monday through Thursday and occasionally he has to stay gone for two weeks at a time. We have two children that I know miss him just as much as I do but what I have had to learn is daddy misses us too. He isn’t staying in a hotel eating out with friends every night after work, he is staying in a hotel wishing he was at home getting warm hugs from his children. He is eating dinner at restaurants and hotel lounges wishing he was at home at the family table. People do ask that what has become a much dreaded question “why doesn’t he find another job?” Well I will tell you why because he does actually enjoy what he does and also “a different job” is not always as easy as it sounds. Thank you for this post it lifted the “alone” feeling off my shoulders at least for today..
We are in year 5 of my husband traveling. I’m a mom of 8, and what we do is HARD! My hats off to all those strong Mommas carrying the load of daily life! I would give anything for a strong support system. What a blessing that must be. Great job, ladies.
Wow! You are a mother of 8! Really impressive and well done to you!