Solo Parenting

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting advice!

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we're writing letters to ask our readers for help with a current parenting issue. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


This summer I will be a single parent for 6weeks. Little berry's pappa will be training to be the next Teach For America teacher in a "gruelling six week crash course called institute" that will put him in rural Mississippi, some 12hours away from baby and me. I'm a fairly confident mamma, normally, and I do so love the job, but this...these six weeks?
They have me wrapped up on nerves studded on porcupine quills of terror.

I will need to work because he won't be, which I haven't officially done since my Little berry was born. If you've been here a while, you know I was a full time university student for three semesters after she arrived (and I was back to school full-time just 12 days post partum).

So I need advice. How do single parents handle all the responsibilities of doing things alone? What's the hardest part? What kind of job should I look for where I can be with Little berry (because child care would just eat up the money I made) and still earn rent? How do I honor my parenting philosophies without support?

Any tips or tricks? Also I would love to hear advice on how to I deal with her missing her pappa (she will be 2) for six weeks (and work and live by myself) in the city all at once? Maybe you're a single Mom or were raised by just your dad, maybe you're an army wife or your husband travels a lot...I bet you've got something brilliant to say. Please share with me your advice.



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by the end of the day April 13 with all the carnival links.)


  1. My husband had a six-week training conference when I was pregnant with my third. I won't lie: It was tough, but we all survived and did just fine. My biggest piece of advice is to clear your calendar of any nonessential activities and ask for help. My husband consistently works long and unpredictable hours, so I've had to learn to accept imperfect help from grandparents and friends. (Bed rest with my last two pregnancies offered invaluable lessons in humility!) It's not easy for me to ask for help or to have things not done the exactly the way I like, but I had to accept that I could not do this on my own. I needed a few small pockets of time for myself to unwind, and I also needed to be confident in saying no to others' requests.

    It also was helpful to use Skype, so my girls could see Daddy. Modern technology helps keep kids connected to those they love when they can't be close by.

    I hope this helps! I'll be praying for you during this difficult time! Oh, and if you have any military wife friends, seek out their advice. They're experts in being single parents and have been valuable mentors for me. :-)

  2. Ah I was a single parent for 6yrs (from 13mo-7yrs) and for ME the hardest thing about being a working single mother was the lack of TIME spent with my son. He spent two years in the public school system (we now unschool) so he would be in school all day and I kept being scheduled to work nights so I rarely saw him awake.

    How much do you need to make to just scrape by? I don't have any wisdom on the TYPE of job, hopefully your other commenters will have suggestions there!

  3. I feel like a single mama a lot of the time and my hubby doesn't go anywhere! (lol). Anyway, I ended up leaving my job in the city to stay home with my daughter. I ended up doing family child care and it has helped pay the bills and earn us more than I otherwise would be making in the city, minus the commute minus child care. It's not an option for everyone, and I never thought I would end up doing this for a living. But it has been great for everyone concerned. My kids have playmates everyday and I get to watch them grow.

  4. I haven't had this experience yet, so I'm hoping you get lots of good advice from others! I know it's a common situation for mothers to be in, and it sounds like you're already getting some good tips and support.

    As far as what type of work, is there anything you can do from home or as your own business? Some of the businesses I've run include freelance editing/writing, cat sitting (going once or twice a day to care for pets while the owners were away on vacation — that was really fun, actually, except on holidays. I don't know how people would be about your bringing a babe with you, but if you were upfront about it, it might be fine!), and our current one of selling DVDs online. Think about your skills and interests, and what possibilities for income intersect with those.

  5. Yikes! Come stay with us! ;)
    Personally, I would look for something I could do from home - online language lessons (I did that when Kieran was younger), childcare, dictation, something that would let me stay with my kiddo and cut out the childcare costs. But I realize that's not an option for everyone. I hope you find something that works for you!!

  6. I was a single mom of twins; they were my first. I don't remember what I did, but here I am, seven years later, so I know I survived!

    It will be fine. I don't know why or how, but it will be.

    You will end up more confident in yourself as a provider and mom.

    A friend of mine is a mom of two sets of twins (plus two other kids) AND her husband is in Iraq for a year. She has lots of great ideas on her blog, which is called It's Twinsanity.

  7. I feel like a single mom sometimes, because my hubby works such long hours.
    I would ask for help from family and friends if that's possible.
    There are so many work at home jobs out there now. Wish I could help more in that area, looks like you already got some great suggestions.

  8. make sure you have friends/family around as much as possible to help and just be an adult you can talk too!

  9. When we've spent time away from home (I often take my daughter up to see my parents and my husband stays home) the hardest thing is the fact that she's often unsettled after about the 3-4 day mark because she misses him. I'm sure it would calm down after awhile. But the most we've been away is about 10 days.

    Anyway, as someone who works from home I would suggest trying to find a childcare job where you can take your munchkin with you. Just because, with working from home it can be pretty stressful having your attention demanded from two different sources all the time.

  10. That's hard. Is there someone you can visit? My family is interstate and I've gone to stay with them when my husband's been away, they get family time so it's a win for everyone.

    As for working, have you thought of ironing or even letterbox drops? That's fairly easy to set up, you don't need to get a job, family day care is another option depending on what the regulations are.

    I've found it emotionally hard, skype is a saviour so he can still say good night to the girls, the little one kisses the screen and gets hysterical if she doesn't talk to him at night :( We also leave messages and text each other. Before he goes, try to get as much as you can cooked and frozen in portion sizes and get any maintenance or gardening sorted. If you can, pay as many bills as you can in advance.

    Good luck.

  11. Hmmm, I don't have a lot of experience with this one yet. My husband will be gone for a only a few days over the summer and I'm already freaked out about that, I can't even imagine your panic!

    Someone up there mentioned dictation as a good job options and I would second that. I had a friend who was staying at home with her little girl and made some decent extra money doing it. You may just have to redefine what your definition of a "successful" day is. Everyone fed and alive? GOOD DAY. Cleaning and all that other stuff may just have to go on the back burner. Just remind yourself that it's temporary!

  12. I once babysat my Goddaughter while both of her parents and my husband were off doing military exercises for 3 week. I was also thousands of miles from any family and friends. I won't lie it was hard but it was also empowering! I felt so accomplished at the end of it! So keep that in mind too. :) Also, all your blog-family will be here to commiserate!

  13. if you must work....one thing i have found very rewarding is to hunt down just one delightful child or two who may need childcare during the summer while their parents are working and they aren't in school and then...you can include them on your adventures with your sweet Little Berry and get paid (aka babysit :-) Another thing is house cleaning, but, really....It is much more fun to find a couple of sweet children and open the world to them in a way that their parents may not ever consider doing--let them paint, let them run in the park, let them discover right alongside you and your daughter.

    as for missing daddy....
    i love the idea of having him read books to a video recorder so she can watch them and listen to him....or just burn his voice onto a cd to listen to him reading to her....
    also a Popa journal--let her draw pictures of her days and take cell phone picture and send to him (or snail mail too) and then have him draw pictures back and send them to her for her to see his life.....
    and popa t-shirt....let her wear it to bed :-)

    your blog is a delight!

  14. oh, and p.s.
    as for how to cope with day to day hecticness.....just snuggle that baby.....sleep together and love every cozy warm summer minute of it, read books and let the house stay a mess...it's only 6 weeks.....live on easy foods b/c it'll just be the two of you.....
    when daddy's gone at our house...the boys and mommy party!
    just enjoy....look for every opportunity to make your life about that sweet baby and leave the rest of it...
    laundry, dishes, and dust all wait patiently for us....children, on the other hand, refuse to stop growing for one single instant :-)

  15. I don't have much advice for you, the husband works 50 -60 hour weeks but he still lives here.
    I say, just roll with it. The 6 weeks will go by in no time. You'll be great!

  16. Oh dear... Being expats, we have episodes of husband away. I tend to cram it with lots of other relatives she doesn't often see. I try to do stuff with people I don't often see. The daughhter does get very clingy to me when the Dad is gone, but - apart from asking after her dad every day - she handles it rather well. She's 22 months now. Last time was a two and a half week period when she was 17 months old.
    We still cosleep and I spend most of my day with her, so that eases the insecurities.


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