A Day in the life of a solo-parent

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Soloparenting. A word synonymous with lonely, tiring, frustrating, sometimes happy but mostly tough. I'm no stranger to this. In fact, most would agree, I am a veteran! Ever since Big K was born, the hubs had travelled on the third week of my confinement. Then when Small K was born, I prayed fervently that he could at least be around for the full month but SURPRISE, he flew on week 3 as well! Deja vu! Leaving me to mambo with 2 young ones! As a newly minted mother of two, this certainly wasn't my idea of bliss. My confinement any fell ill the day the hubs left and I had to send her home the next day. Mom came to my rescue but she, too gave up the next day after one night of disco.

As the days went by, things became better. Not because the travels diminished but perhaps I became numbed by it all. What can't kill you will make you stronger right? It's nice if the hubs is in town. He does most menial tasks and picks the kids up at night. Settles them and reads them stories so that when I reach home, all I needed to do was to give them a hug and a kiss. Everything else falls on my shoulders when he is away. We have no helper and I work crazy hours. I used to grumble a lot as his travels could be at the eleventh hour and sometimes spans across weekends. Mega hate! It is tough to plan birthday parties or anniversary celebrations with his uncertain schedule. You could book him one minute, but the next minute he will pull a disappearing act again. He, is worse than a pilot! These days I take things in stride. I plan things for my kids and if he is around, it would be a bonus. In fact, it is much easier to plan things without him being in the picture. Coz he isn't a fan of kids' parties or anything kiddish.

So how is a day in my life like? Well, last weekend was a pretty atypical one. It was packed with activities back to back! On Saturday, we had a media event to attend followed by some playground fun, then off we went to a birthday party, swimming class and finally dinner at the mall. We were out from 9am till 9pm! You think that is epic? Well, let me share with you what we did on Sunday -- 17 September; 8am to 11pm:

I was egged by mmlittlee and decided to take the plunge to drive through the causeway myself together with my two littles, to Legoland. In all honesty, I was scared! What if I lose my way? But it is one straight road isn't it? What if I got robbed? Hmmm, I don't have that much money to begin with. All these worries flooded my mind and I decided to seek the hub's opinion. The man gave me a credulous look and flashed the green light stating that is was a brainless thing to drive across the causeway and that anyone could do it. Ohhh, but would anyone do it with two kids aged 5+ and 3? His mentality is built on the fact that his mom is an independent woman who would drive in alone with her brand new family car, without informing anyone, across the causeway, just to pump petrol or buy fresh fish! I informed the mother-in-law of my plans and she was actually more concerned about the jam more than anything else.

So, I went. And with the guidance rendered by mmlittlee, I conquered the 2nd link! The way home was a little more harrowing as I followed SoNatty's hubby's car and was led to the first link instead. It was late at night, plus it was raining. But somehow, i wasn't afraid. Now, we all know how crazy traffic is over at the the first link and true enough, I lost sight of his car! But fret not as my training in chauffeuring for years has given me good topo sense. Plus, the immigration building was within sight. It was really rather brainless. The only problem:: The jam at 930pm! Thankfully the kids were good. Small K slept through while Big K slept but woke up midway asking if we have arrived. Sorry baby, the jam's bad. 

So after a grand 2 hours, we arrived home and I quickly got Big K to brush her teeth and while she was at it, I quickly loaded our dirty laundry and then chased her to her room and made her sleep. While the washing machine was spinning, I also managed to shower, do a facial mask, folded my clean laundry, washed their bottles, prepared soup for the next day and followed up on my little business over at LeBox. It was a race against the washer! That kept my adrenaline up! This, in fact, is a typical exercise I do every night! I would set something to do and settle all other things within the given time frame. Multitasking is in the blood of most soloparents. It is a survival skill! That night, they slept very well. They did, as usual, climbed up my bed midway, but I was too tired to even notice. Plus, with the hubs out of the way, 3 on a bed wasn't that bad a crowd.

While going to Legoland is an atypical day, my days as a solo-parent is generally the same. With work packed to the brim in the day after I send them off to school in the afternoon and #momlife at night. Weekends are no better as I try to pack their day with at least 2 to 3 activities. Sometimes, this can go all the way up to 4! Psst! I'm gonna share with you what keeps me alive! Nope, it isn't coffee as I'm not a coffee addict, but the following items!

I will take double the shots if i know it was going to be a long day. It works! A healthy alternative to red bull!

Ok, the above varies, but essentially, alcohol can be my best company during solo days. It keeps me sane.

Solo or not, things are pretty much the same. Life goes on and the pillar of my life are my two cuties.  I used to cry a lot over this, but after some time I realised, no one's gonna pity me. No one's gonna help me. So i have started sharing with like-minded friends instead. For all you solo parents out there, I advise you to be mentally strong and to focus on things you enjoy. One reason why I tend to fill my plate to the brim. This keeps me positive and focus instead of letting my imagination run wild or wallow in my pitiful state. Plan your life around yourself and if the partner is around, it's a bonus. I do get my mood swings too but little milestones like solo to Legoland gets me back on track again!

As I was crafting this post midway, a text from the hubs came in and I am now hit by severe mood swings. He is currently away but has informed me of his tentative October schedule. I'm usually quite chill except that this round, it will clash with Big K's graduation performance! The girl will be so devastated if she knew her dad isn't able to make it! It would scar her for life! Most would say that he didn't mean it since it is work. Yes. I have to agree. I have to be that oh-so-supportive wife who doesn't gets into a crazy fit each time he announces his long hauls. But this time, I am this close to losing it. Because, he didn't realised that it clashed till I commented. Clearly, what I had been telling him didn't register despite incessant naggings! I had told him to lock this in his calendar eons ago. Really hoping for a miracle to happen now.

Life as a solo parent can be so daunting and mentally and physically draining. I get a lot of moments when I am plagued with guilt for not being able to give either child the attention they crave or deserve. I have to exercise restraint as things does get a little intense and patience does get tested. But let's be strong and support each other. We can't fault the man as it is work. But perhaps a little more sensitivity, mindfulness and appreciation would go a long way?

To all soloist out there, how do you do it? Share your tips!