Preparing for Single Parenthood
My husband will soon be moving to another country for a year as a result of a military assignment. He’s gone away before, but the longest he had ever been gone was for six months. A year is a long time to be gone, so essentially I get to be a single mom for the span of a year.
Whether it’s a military deployment, an impending divorce or some other situation that’s about to propel you into single parenthood (either permanently or temporarily) there are some things you should do to get ready for the change. Believe me; I’ve done this a few times – although never for this long – so I have a few pointers if you find yourself in a similar situation.
1. Start compiling some help in advance. I’ve already hired a cleaning lady and have the kids enrolled in a program on the military installation that takes them one Saturday a month so I can have a breather. I’ve also kept my family and friends informed so they know that pretty soon I’m going to need all the help I can get.
2. Plan a break with the kids. Next summer the kids and I plan on escaping our house for a few weeks to go visit family on the West Coast. It will be a nice break and it will be nice for them to be surrounded by family for a while.
3. Find lines of communication. My husband bought a laptop so the kids can chat with him on the web-cam while he’s gone. I think that in any case of marital separation – whether it’s temporary or permanent – it’s important that both parents still have contact with the kids as much as possible.
4. Keep the kids informed. Even the youngest kids know when a parent is missing. My son was barely talking the first time my husband went away, but every so often he would see Daddy’s car in the garage and say, “Daddy?” This time we’ve already told the kids about Daddy leaving soon so they have time to prepare for it as well.
It’s not easy being the only parent in the house, especially when you’re outnumbered by the kids. I’m going to take it one day at a time and cut myself some slack for the inevitable times coming when I feel incredibly overwhelmed.