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What I learned in three weeks of parenting on my own

Our CRM & Email Marketing Executive, Laura, experiences single parenting for three weeks… here’s what she learned.

On 16th October my husband announced flippantly that he was going away on a work trip to Hong Kong and China for three weeks.




In one month’s time.


At first I must admit I was slightly annoyed at the audacity of it. While I appreciated that he needed to go, can you imagine me being able to just up and leave for three weeks if the tables were turned?

However, I stopped being stroppy and quickly decided that I would make the best of the time apart - watch my TV programmes in lieu of round the clock sport and have my girlfriends over for wine, etc. I confidently thought to myself that I pretty much balanced all the plates anyway… so parenting, working, housework and everything in between would be business as usual while he was abroad. I was mistaken.

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A new perspective on parenting

The first couple of days he was away were fine. I got the children and myself into a tighter routine to eliminate the morning chaos (why are mornings so hard with school-age children?). I actually quite enjoyed myself - single parenting isn’t that hard I thought. However, in the week that followed the kids got poorly, work got manic and the Christmas build-up of school events and things to remember went into full force… by the next weekend, I was exhausted, grumpy and lonely.

It’s not that having a spouse to co-parent with makes it easy… it doesn’t. One person always does more (me) and it can still be stressful when there are two of you doing all the jobs. However, what I learned (quickly) is that you always know that there is a ‘fallback option’ if you forget things or need help dragging the kids places… Just knowing that another adult is at home and on backup duty helps alleviate the anxiety. It’s more of a mental support than anything – someone to moan to at the end of each day or laugh with about what happened.

Without another adult as mental support at home, I found the week monotonous and draining - just a long list of jobs to get through without someone to divide them with. Even the smallest amount of help, like someone taking the washing out the machine, ordering the kids’ pantomime tickets or collecting a child from a late dance club means a lot.

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Shoutout to single parents

So, in essence, what I have learned (in a small way) is to appreciate what it takes to be a single parent. We are living in times where this is normal to be a single parent, so I think it sometimes gets forgotten what that really means. It is a LOT for one person to take on, especially if they are also juggling a career. The mental load is huge.

Steve returned home and I am now much more grateful for him. I have even moaned less (this won't last!). Hands down, single parenting is not easy and I am more aware now of just how hard it is. I look at friends that are doing it and thriving in absolute awe.

Why not treat your mum this Christmas.

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