The Truth About Solo Parenting

Solo parenting is a very real thing. Sometimes it is considered the same as single parenting and people get offended when parents who have partners talk about solo parenting, but, for me at least, it's a very different thing. 



What is Solo Parenting? 

Solo parenting is, in its simplest terms, when you parent on your own. This could be another way to describe single parenting but I feel that Solo parenting is a much broader term. Single parenting means someone who is not in a relationship, solo parenting doesn't have to mean this. 

I solo parent most weekends. Sam works shifts and out gets 15 out of 52 weekends off a year, the other 37 weekends of the year Harry and I are alone, not to mention the weekdays that Sam is at work by the time Harry and I get home from school/work. This means that I spend around 75% of my time parenting Harry alone. Sam and I are still very much together, and during the school holidays and when he is home, Sam does a lot of the parenting.

Why is Solo Parenting difficult? 

Doing most things alone is more difficult. Parenting is no exception to this. Parenting is a 24/7 job and having to do it alone is draining. Most parents find that with no second parent around, there is no support, no time out, no break. You are also very limited in what you can do. I can't decide on a Friday night I want to go out with friends, I have to have lots of notice, plan around Sam's shifts and try to get a babysitter if need be. 

Solo parenting can also put a strain on family time. Every time Sam's weekend off rolls around we are torn between spending time together, either on a day out or just at home, and Sam and I giving each other a break from parenting. 

And above all, solo parenting is exhausting. Not only is parenting a 24/7 job, it's a 24/7 job that is supposed to be shared between two people. 

How can you make solo parenting easier? 

Here are some of the best ways I have found to make solo parenting easier

1. Have a plan - Plan your day. Are you going to take a trip to the park? Or are you going to have a movie day? having a plan really helps. 

2. Make the most of family - Your mum wants to meet up for coffee? Chances are your child is going to be attached to her and if your mum is anything like mine or Sam's she will take over for an hour for you, make the most of the little break. 

3. Pick your battles - This one was so hard for me. So your child wants to go to the shops in their PJ's? Is it going to cause them or anyone around them any harm? Picking your battles can seem like you are giving in and I worried about giving Harry his way, but honestly, for the small stuff like the shoes not matching or some of their breakfast on their jumper, who cares? Fighting with them about it is just going to make your job ten times harder. In the words of Elsa, Let It Go!

4. Sleep! - The tempting thing to do when Solo parenting is, when your child finally goes to bed, you finally get some alone time and stay up to enjoy it. DON'T! you are already exhausted and being tired for your next day is not going to make it any easier, I promise. 

5. Keep your expectations low - At the end of the day, you are keeping a human alive on your own, so you may not get everything you want to done each day but if your little one is safe, warm, fed and loved, you are doing a great job!

6. Get the kids involved in your housework - Anyone else's house NEVER seem to stay tidy? The kitchen and washing are the main culprits, and I have no idea how, but Harry loves to wash up or help with the washing, so I let him. He thinks its great fun and I'm the best for letting him help, and I'm getting a job off my to do list which means that I might even get a five minute sit down afterwards. 

Do you solo parent? If so I'd love to hear how you make it easier too!


6 comments:

  1. This is a very important topic. There are so many single parents in the world. It's hard with both parents in the home, let alone a single parent. It's even harder with a child with special needs. Thank you for sharing these awesome tips for helping solo parents life a bit easier.

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  2. Interesting post with some insight I hadn't considered before

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  3. Fortunately, I'm not a solo or a single parent, but picking your battles is definitely good advice for any parent!

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  4. I've not heard of the term 'solo parenting' before but reading this I can see that it is probably more prevalent than many realize. Being in a relationship but work/life commitments will mean that some parents are not around as much and I can see how this impacts a family dynamic. Your advice is very important here; thanks for sharing!

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  5. This is great advice for solo parents and I understand it can be difficult when one parent is not around as much due to work.

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  6. What a great read. It's the first time I see "solo parenting" and from what you described I think I can see the difference and I agree with you. I can only imagine how stressful and draining it can get for you. I admire the way you are choosing to see it though and how you find strategies to manage your reality as best as possible. Thank you for sharing your insights and tips.

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