Single Mamas – you have my full respect. Doing the parenting thing on your own without any back-up is not for the weak. Every time I face the daunting task of parenting without daddy, I spend days dreading it. In my experience I have found three essential tips to surviving the days that I thought I’d share in case any of you are facing the same situation.
In our house we have what I like to term “The Daddy Factor.” For whatever reason the fact that daddy is coming home every evening prompts my children to make better decisions. When they know daddy isn’t coming home for days, they appear to lose their minds.
We had a four day stretch this week of hubby being gone. My children transformed into almost unrecognizable little demons. The five year old took crayon to the carpeting. The three year old broke off a foot long section of her car seat. I had to stop the five year old from taking a knife to the counter. They “cleaned” the bathroom for me, leaving a puddle on every flat surface in the bathroom, soaked themselves and the carpeting and stairs outside of the bathroom. I am pretty sure you get the idea. I had to strategize to keep my sanity!
Here are my three tips:
Lower Your Expectations- I mean, really, really lower them and after that lower them some more just for good measure. Sparkling clean home? Not going to happen. I shoot for sanitary. Five course dinners? Nope. One night I sprinkled some cheese over a tortilla, popped that in the microwave while I opened a fruit pouch. Not exactly the type of dinner I usually find acceptable, but that night it was all about survival. Vegetables can come another time. Let the three year old brush her teeth if she wants. It is not exactly something a dentist would recommend, but do you know what she is not doing while she is brushing her teeth? Torturing her brother. It gives me like three minutes of peace which makes it totally worth it!
Plan, Plan, Plan- Come up with things to do that are outside your normal routine. Haven’t made a trip to the zoo lately? Figure out a way to make it happen. Picnics at the park instead of dinner at home? Absolutely! Each day I try to come up with something to keep them busy. We went to the city pool and the zoo. For some strange reason my son likes going to the play room at the YMCA so we did that twice (bonus being I get to fit a run into the day which keeps me sane!). This tip requires some creativity so you might want to start planning several days before the inevitable single parenting adventure.
Add Special Privileges- Are you searching for ways to encourage positive behavior? Reward it! Some of mine are relatively simple such as getting to play with the dive sticks and goggles in the bathtub. Some of mine were a little more out of the norm. Turkey-Man loves the privilege of getting to stay up past bedtime, lay in bed with me and watch nature shows. This works great because I love nature shows and the extra time to snuggle with him. He thinks it is a really big deal because he gets to stay up 45 minutes later than his sister. I get a lot of mileage out of this one.
Managing a household when you usually have assistance takes some intentional planning. For us, it is all about survival! Eventually, daddy comes back home and life returns to normal.
Do you have any ideas that works for your household?