C travels a lot for work, and has been doing so even before we got married. In fact, he was away for nine months the year we got married, coming back for just one precious weekend every month, and all our wedding preparations had to be done on those few weekends. Before we had Noah, I kept myself busy with my work, and that was usually more than enough to take my mind off missing him. Although C has been traveling at least once a month since Noah was born, his trips are usually less than a week at each go, apart from the annual two-week long US trip.
I’m no stranger to solo parenting, having had to cope on my own at least once a month over the past eighteen months. This time round, however, things were a bit different, as we are not in Singapore. Back home, my parents would drop by almost every night if C were traveling, and sometimes, my MIL would happen to be staying with us when C was overseas. We also get our dinner catered, so I didn’t have to worry about cooking for myself.
Thankfully, we are very blessed to have made some new friends here in Adelaide, so Noah and I had lunch dates with different people for the entire week that C was away. One of C’s good friends is also based here, and we often spend weekends with them. While C was overseas, they brought Noah and I out on a short road trip, and we had dinner together at their place, while watching the Australian Open finals. I’m really very thankful for all these wonderful friends, who made time for us, and provided me with some adult company over those eight days.
Road trip to Maggie Beer’s farm house
Here are five tips on surviving solo parenting:
1. Keep yourself busy. Make plans to go out of the house if possible, even if it’s to the supermarket alone with your baby. If the weather is good, bring your child out for a walk, to get some fresh air. Basically, a change of environment, no matter for how short a period, is always helpful in preventing cabin fever.
Chanced upon this mini farm animals petting session at the Adelaide Central Market
2. Get some adult company. Don’t feel bad about needing to be around other adults during the day. I know that some SAHMs feel that they should spend all their time engaging their children, and if you’re one of them, good for you. Me, I will go nuts if I have to keep him entertained all day long. I prefer letting Noah play by himself as much as possible, as I don’t want him to be overly-dependent on me. Whenever C travels, I try to make daily lunch appointments with different friends. If my friends have children around Noah’s age, we also have play dates at each other’s homes. Time passes a lot faster when you’re out and about, so before you know it, another day is almost over.
Play date at our apartment
3. Find some me-time each day if possible. As I mentioned earlier, when we are in Singapore, my parents would drop by our place in the evenings after work, and I get some precious me-time then. They’re more than happy to spend time with their grandson while I pop in the shower, and if you’re a SAHM, you’ll understand how wonderful it is to have uninterrupted ‘alone toilet time’.
4. Rest more. I know this doesn’t sound possible, especially when you have to do everything yourself, but try to think about which chores can be postponed till your partner comes back. I also split my chores up, so that it’s less overwhelming. For example, if I have to do the laundry, I often leave the clothes in the dryer, before folding them and putting them away the next day. If you think about it, nothing bad happens if the clothes AREN’T folded immediately after they are dry, right? If possible, I also take a nap with Noah during the day, and that gives me more energy to play with him after that.
5. FaceTime or Skype your partner daily. As long as your partner is in a country with internet access, this should be easily accomplished. These daily video chats keep us in touch with each other, and allows Noah to see his papa for a few minutes a day. I know C misses the baby very much when he’s away, so even though I send him photos and videos of the baby via Whatsapp every day, video calls let him interact with Noah, and ensures that Noah doesn’t call C ‘uncle’ instead of ‘papa’ when he returns.
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