I’ve just finished 26 days of solo parenting while my hubby was in Rio for the Olympics.
A lot of people asked how I was going while he was away – and my answer was ‘We’re fine. We’re used to it!’.
He’s away every weekend during footy season, out the door around 4.30am each morning for radio and not home until 7pm after the news – then every Friday he heads interstate for his AFL commentary role, so we’re used to him being away a lot.
The truth was the first week and a half was rough.
I came down with a nasty virus and felt so awful.
After that things were a little better, but the girls really missed their Daddy and at times I felt I was holding my breath.
This is how we made it through:
Mumma Tribe: Find your Mumma tribe and love them hard! I am SO lucky to have an incredibly supportive group of school mums and friends, we help each other out – these women are SO important to me.
In a recent post ‘Parenting: The Hardest Job You’ll Ever Love‘ I talk about setting up a support system – whether that’s family or friends or one you create yourself with a great babysitter.
Dancing: We would crank up the tunes every morning and night and the girls and I would dance. Such a great way to start and end the day! I try to keep the TV off as much as possible at home (I also limit iPad time) but we LOVE music in our house.
Easy Meal Times: I did loads of soup and platters while Baz was away, and when I was feeling really sick – I bought mini sushi and edamame for my girls which they LOVE. It’s healthy and makes meal time super quick and easy. We shouldn’t ever feel bad for making meal time easy – as long as our kids are fed, right? A store bought roast chicken with salad is an easy option. Sushi Train and Grill’d are always a great idea too!
Time Out: I made sure I had time out with Pilates sessions at Lifestyle Boom and also squeezed in a weekend down South at Seclusion on The Bay with my closest and most beautiful friends. I felt SO much better for having a few days away from the daily grind and constantly thinking ‘what’s next?’ with meal prep / school run / bath and bed etc.
Being Honest: Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I chastise myself for it and even feel guilty (oh the Mumma guilt!).
After all – my Nana coped being on her own for months at a time with three girls when my Pop was in the Army, how can I feel overwhelmed with just two little ones and a hubby away for only a month?
What about the single mums and dads out there? They cope on their own ALL the time.
A friends mum (who happens to be a therapist) told me how I was feeling was legitimate and that there was nothing wrong with expressing how I’m feeling to my girls by saying ‘Mummy’s feeling a little overwhelmed right now’.
Your kids see you as human and it also helps them express themselves.
I also admitted that it was kind of lonely being on my own so much, and guess what – that’s legitimate too!
Like lots of people I tend to bottle things up and keep smiling when things aren’t as great as they could be.
Motherhood is my greatest joy and biggest challenge and it’s OK to admit that at times it is relentless and lonely and overwhelming and fun and crazy and wonderful all at the same time.
I get so many emails from other mums saying they didn’t realise how hard it was going to be.
The lack of sleep. Feeling guilty. Not getting the balance right. Feeling soooo exhausted.
A child health nurse once told me that if you love your child, feed them and keep them safe – you are doing a fantastic job.
One of my beautiful Insta friends recently sent me this quote.
Sometimes I think we forget to keep it simple.
To relax, laugh and have fun.
To anyone out there who might be struggling – I feel you, you are doing a fantastic job.
‘It Won’t Be Like This For Long.’
A x x x x
How’s parenting been for you lately?
What are you not being honest about right now?
Some websites you might find helpful:25