Happy FRYday to you all!!! I’m using an excessive amount of exclamation points because today marks the end of 7 weeks of my husband being gone for work. Let’s just say the last six months (okay fine: year) didn’t go as planned and we’ve spent A LOT of time apart due to his job. We’ve said uncle and are going through a lot of changes and adjustments to make it so our family can be together again. I’m REALLY excited for this new chapter!
In the last year I’ve calculated that I’ve spent about 5 months single parenting. With sometimes 5-7 week stretches. Now it goes without saying, but let’s just say it loud and clear that I’m really glad that I have more time with a spouse to help then I do without it. For sure. All this time on my own has taught me a lot of things, but perhaps what it’s taught me the most is that single mothers walk on water. You are truly the most selfless, brave, courageous, beautiful and inspiring lot their is. I want to be your best friend forever because you have A LOT you could teach me about how to pull it together.
But in my relatively small time doing it on my own here’s a list of lessons I acquired that I’ll take with me everywhere, alone or not:
10. Toast and eggs are a food group. When worse comes to worse, kids, at least mine, will always eat it. Sometimes twice a day and I’m okay with that. Technically eggs can be cooked a thousand different ways too, so basically they’re getting all sorts of variety!
9. Baby Wise can go to hell. Look I don’t mean to be rude because I was a Baby Wise (or any parenting book) religious follower before all of this. But then I had my second baby who doesn’t follow the rules… any of them. And after a month of trying to fit his little round personality in to the square hole of a structured bed time routine, I realized he just wants to snuggle for five minutes to fall asleep. And I’m okay with that. Boy I feel like an idiot for the two hour nightly battles just to get him to fall asleep on his own because someone on Facebook said that’s the right thing to do.
8. You will lose your mind and occasionally be unable to find it. You’ll look for it everywhere, in a nap, in a doughnut, in taking your anger out on someone at the post office, but even then you won’t find it. Your sanity’s lost for a minute. It will come back. It always comes back. But until then don’t make any sudden moves.
7. You are stronger than you think you are, and then some. Seriously I pretty much think I’m the cat’s pajamas. Not because I’m the skinniest, smartest, prettiest or any of those ridiculous things I surely am not. But because I freaking do this job day in and day out, and MOST of the time I do it happily. My kids are bathed, fed and somewhat normal. And guess what? At the end of the day I pat myself on the back because I did it all myself.
6. There is power in online shopping and a pedicure. Don’t underestimate what $35 and a hot stone pedicure will do for your soul. One hour alone and freshly painted toes or a new shirt are basically like winning the lottery. Treat yourself.
5. A park date with a blanket, friend and a diet coke are like therapy without the fee. It’s as relaxing as it sounds. Plus your kids will play with each other and think you’re the best mom ever cause you went to the park. Win, win.
4. Your kids love you. I repeat, your kids love you. They will do EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER to convince you they don’t. And sometime they’ll down right TELL you they don’t love you. Take a deep breath and don’t believe them. It isn’t true, it’s the farthest thing FROM true. They love you more than any other soul ever will, they’re just REALLY pissed you didn’t buy them a sucker. It will blow over I promise.
3. You’re the boss. And that’s awesome! While it feels overwhelming at times to be the only person in charge, there is freedom in dictating your day. Go to Target twice! Get a sitter for longer than you can afford! Let the kids watch too much TV some days! I don’t judge and no one else will either.
2. You’ll need a body pillow. A friend once told me jokingly that her body pillow got her through her divorce… but then i got a body pillow (I recommend the Bump Nest) and I realized she probably wasn’t kidding. Good sleep is key and if you like to be snuggled, this is the next best thing to a human. Plus it will never ask more of you then to spoon.
1. You’re not alone. Even when it feels like you are quite literally the only person left on planet Earth. Whether it’s God, your family, friends or carbs that are your comfort, cling to them. For me it’s all of the above that gets me through the really tough days and celebrates triumph with me on the wonderful ones. Feeling lonely has been for me the number one enemy. Doubt creeps in when night falls and you begin to believe the negative thoughts you’re telling yourself. That’s when I stop, drop and pray. But if that doesn’t work, call a friend! They’ll remind you you’re not in this alone. Even if it’s just a sliver of emotional support they can lend, it might just be enough to get up and conquer the next day. And the really good ones will bring over cookie dough and Sabrina and forgive you when you are snoring within the first 10 minutes. We really are all in this together, no matter what your circumstance.