Solo parenting is definitely not something I signed up for but then I think most of us solo parents did not sign up for this. Brave is the one who decides to do parenting alone. The “ideal” family is a happy married union with two parents equally sharing the load. But who of us are ideal? Or in the ideal situation? If you are feeling like you are needing some help and feel all alone while solo parenting then carry on reading.
Firstly there is the day-to-day running of your household and bringing up of your children. When Elijah was small we were in a very large house. I sorted out that problem by having his cot in my room, a playpen in one part of the house and a travel cot in another part of the house.
Dealing with the practicalities of being alone all day and all night with a baby is tiring, there is no one there to say “just go have a bath, I will look after the baby and bring you a cup of tea”.
If I needed to make a cup of tea or have a bathroom break I would just plonk him down in a safe place for a little bit and go about my business. I am so lucky that Elijah was such a calm, pleasant baby.
Dealing with the practicalities of being alone all day and all night with a baby is tiring, there is no one there to say “just go have a bath, I will look after the baby and bring you a cup of tea” which is what Darrell used to say – you are constantly on duty, 24/7. But, it is doable and so many of us do it. What I find hard is having no one to share the emotional load with. There is no one to help me decide what type of school Elijah should go to; are we the sort of family that does time out? Do I reprimand in public? All those big decisions and more are left to me and these are the sort of things that keep me up at night.
I am so lucky that I have a very loving family and support network, so surround yourself with people who love you and want to help out. Also, try and get some friends who are going through similar things as you so you don’t feel like you are the only one in the world who is solo parenting. You will then also have someone to offload when things get too much and you just need a sympathetic ear.
I think us solo parents need to be strong and believe in ourselves. For a long time after Darrell died I believed I was not good enough to be Elijah’s only parent. But I know now that this is not the case. I am strong and I am enough. If this is something you are going through as well you are also enough. Believe in yourself and you will raise happy, well-rounded children, children that will turn into adults who will one day thank you for all the hard work you are putting in now.