Thoughts on Being a Solo Parent

I am a solo parent the vast majority of the time. Not a single parent, but a solo parent. My husband is a merchant mariner, working on a ship for a month at a time. His time at home is often less than two weeks. And then the cycle repeats itself. While he is gone there is no nanny, we’ve never hired a babysitter, and we don’t have a housecleaner. It’s just me. When my husband is away there is no one to hand the baby off to when I need a shower, to eat, or just a moment. I do every diaper change, every load of laundry, every 3am soothing session. And as you could have guessed, it can be very challenging. But it is worth it; it’s beyond worth it.

I am here to tell you that I am really proud of myself. And I don’t think moms say that enough. Because, while it may not be my situation exactly, I know so many moms that do so much, with never enough help. I know moms who work full time and bring their kids to work, work from home with a baby, are single mothers with two jobs, are mothers of two with a husband in med school, are a twin mom! I could keep going but you get the idea.

How do I function as a solo parent? I just do. Very early on it became second nature for me. There was no other alternative. Yet, It has made me love motherhood that much more, because it has given me great confidence in this new role. Confidence that I can do it on my own. I’ll never forget that first time my husband went back out to sea; Julian was just two weeks old. I cried thinking “how am I possibly going to do this alone? How will I even get to the grocery store?!” Indeed, necessity is the mother of all invention. I’m happy to say that I am able to function and yes, even grocery shop. Moms, I hope you all take pride in your work and yourselves. I am proud to be part of such an extraordinary tribe of mothers.

 

xx,

Heidi

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7 Comments

  1. I love this entry, Heidi. It’s a very positive look on a part of parenting that most see as a negative. I have another friend who’s husband is a truck driver, so he’s gone for 2-3 weeks at a time; she is a stay-at-home mom of three and I see first-hand just how difficult solo parenting can be. But, like you, she somehow manages to be an amazing mom and do everything else at the same time.
    It’s incredible what we moms are capable of when necessity comes into play! Thank you for this inspiring piece!

  2. Beautifully written Heidi, you are a terrific Mom and we know how much love and energy goes into being a Solo Mom! Having been in a similar situation myself! So glad you have the marturity and the desire to devote these formative years with Julian. You and Jeff are two very special and strong people making lemonade when life gives you lemons is a tribute to your devotion. To your marriage and family. Live life as you see your way through each phase and cherish each day as your leaning more about yourself p, your strength and embracing the joys of parenting along with the challeges.

    Love you and so happy for you at this very special time in your life. Beutifully written piece.

    1. Thank you for the kind words! It is a tough situation, but I found that focusing on the joyful parts bring my life so much more happiness. One day it will be a blip on the radar!

  3. I read this when you first posted it. I’ve re-read it every day since Ben had to leave on his work trip when Liam was a week old. He’s now 2 weeks old. I know it hasn’t been long but I cried the first couple days because I never imagined it would be this hard. But every day has been a little easier and everyday it’s that much closer to Ben coming home. Thanks Heidi!

    1. Oh Tamaira! I feel for you my friend. It is such a hard adjustment, especially in those first few weeks. But you are strong, and you are doing it! I vividly remember feeling envious of my other friends that had so much more help than I had. It’s embarrassing to say now, but I really was green with envy. I will say that I quickly learned to adapt and function on my own though! And that is a priceless skill. Sending you and Liam love!

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