my #1 tip for surviving solo parenting when my husband travels

Is it just the plight of the modern mom that she often finds herself alone at home with the kids as her husband travels for work? I feel like more and more of my friends and friends online say that they're in the survival mode that comes with no one walking in the door at 5pm, ready with a full tank of Parenting Fuel to get everyone through til bedtime.

I've survived some pretty long stints of solo parenting (longest was 3 months with 3 kids) and lots and lots of business-week-length trips. I've done it well sometimes, and I've done it poorly lots of times. None of it's easy, though it's better when I have the right attitude.

But though the right attitude counts for a lot, it's not everything.

My top tip for surviving solo parenting is this: KEEP MOVING.

Keep cleaning.

Keep washing the dishes in the sink.

Keep doing a few push-ups each day.

Keep doing the laundry--but do it during the day light, for Pete's sake! Don't do it at night when there are at least 12 axe murderers hiding in your garage.

Keep the playroom tidy. Don't let the kids go to bed until they've picked up.

My mood and my mind feel INFINITELY better when I'm not staring at a mess in every room.

So many times I've cried to Sean on the phone while he's away, sobbing that "it's a mess! Everything is a damn mess! and I can't clean it all up!" I hate that feeling of losing control of my house.

Even if it means letting the baby fuss for 10 minutes while I wash the sippy cups and throw everything else in the dishwasher... even if it means the kids watch an extra Rescue Bots while I bring in the clothes from the dryer and put them away... I do it. Because I've learned that I need it.

Now, all of that is null and void should someone get sick. Last year we weathered two bouts of stomach flu in 30 days--and BOTH happened while Sean was away. And BOTH times, I caught it. And both times, I did zero cleaning for five days, save for the obvious cleaning up of that involves Lysol wipes, paper towels and carpet cleaner. #gross #neveragain #saveyourpeopleohLord

But if I'm not in the midst of sickness, then I make myself move.

Secondary tip for surviving? A bag of Mini Reese's cups in the freezer. Mama needs a reward for all that scrubbin'.

If you've got a way to survive when your dude's away, I'd love to hear it!


  1. this. was. amazing!! funny AND helpful---way to go, girl....but i think i'm most excited by the fact that you are holy and YOU let your kids watch "rescue bots" because i wasn't too sure about that one (attitude mostly) but my boys are OBSESSED and JUST TODAY i was feeling bad that i'm not forcing them to watch "brother francis" or any "CCC" dvds when it comes time for a show. thank you, Jesus. this is real consolation to my heart. and i'll be suuuuuuure to keep moving next time my husband is gone, which isn't over night too often, but long hours most days with me doing the whole evening routine (4 kids at 5 1/2 - to age 1) solo......and sometimes it's just the hardest thing in the world and other times it really isn't hard at all. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?! ah! blessings to you!!!! i'll be checking back to read you more!-Colleen

    1. Haha thanks Colleen! I don't know how holy I am but we are definitely on the Rescue Bots train and not about to get off. :)

  2. I think this all applies to finding more enjoyment in non-solo parenting, as well. :-)

    I have a tendency to fill those "little moments" that aren't long enough for a big job with a quick screen check. Training myself to, as you say, keep moving and wash a dish here or a dish there makes a big difference by the end of the day.