I burned the grilled cheeses.
I am parenting solo tonight while my husband is out of town for a funeral.
I used to do dinner + bedtime alone a minimum of 3 nights a week when my kids were toddlers because my husband worked in a theatre (lots of nights and weekends.)
That was the hardest time in the history of my parenting. I told myself nightly “I can’t do this. I’m not going to make it. I can’t do this alone.”
I would text my husband updates/cries for help!
“Now they are all crying!! 😫 What should I do?!”
“What time are you coming home? 😭 🙏”
We both felt so helpless on these nights.
And tonight, a good 10+ years later, here is what I did to survive:
1. Made a low-barrier meal that I was 99% sure everyone would eat (but one person still complained and hasn’t eaten yet 🤦♀️)
2. Created space for feelings. My oldest has been really struggling this week, so the first thing we did when we got home from school was going for a walk, just the 2 of us. This filled her cup (and mine!), which made her much more agreeable to helping out this evening.
3. Asked for help. I used to do this when my kids were tiny, too. I would say “Papa is working tonight, so I’m really going to need your help.” If my husband was working all weekend, I would often take the kids to my aunt’s house and we would hang out with her, just for a change of scenery - and an extra pair of hands.
4. Allowed screens. Yep. I said it. We don’t do screens during the week, but it’s Friday night and we are all tired and I am doing literally whatever it takes to get through this.
5. Focused on the outcome I DESIRED instead of focusing on what I was afraid of. I imagined everyone enjoying their grilled cheese and tomato soup. I imagined everyone being kind to one another. I imagined my youngest going to bed without a fuss. (Stay tuned on that one! 😂)
And, finally, I offered myself a ton of compassion and forgiveness.
I burned the grilled cheese.
My middlest still said, “thank you for making dinner, Mom.” 💗
Everyone ate something. No one died. All is well.
And to all those single parents out there - I salute you! I hope you are taking extra good care of yourselves because we were definitely not designed to do this parenting thing alone.
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