March 21, 2012 by Gina
I’m a single mom this week (and so is Melissa). Brian is at Ft. McCoy in Wisconsin for a planning meeting for the Army’s Best Warrior Competition. He’ll be home sometime on Thursday night or maybe Friday and then has reserves this weekend. So, I have the boys alone from last Sunday until this Sunday. He’ll be gone another week in April and May and most of June for the army. This, of course, is much better than being gone for a deployment (we’ve already done that twice) but the week gets really long without any help.
During these weeks, I realize how much of a role a father plays in a child’s life and how active Brian is in parenting. It makes me appreciate having a partner so much more. It’s really the little things – brushing our kids’ teeth (or gums), baths, reading books, playing in the sand or going for a walk, changing diapers, being silly – that make such a difference in parenting together. You get those mini-breaks throughout the day or at night when your partner comes home from work. It’s also the mundane household chores like taking out the garbage or compost, doing laundry, folding clothes, making the bed, making dinner – the list could really go on and on. I also really miss sharing and talking in bed at the end of the day.
Nightime with the putting both boys to bed and being the only parent to take care of them when they wake up in the middle of the night gets especially long and taxing. Thankfully both Finn and Getty are fairly good sleepers (now…it’s only taken 9 months!!). But they do wake up and even if I don’t have to go in their rooms to help calm them down, I’m still awake and have a hard time falling back to sleep.
Of course, sometimes being a single mom or parent, even for a short time, makes some things easier. I get to make all of the daily decisions and rules. I don’t really have to make much for dinner since it’s just the kids and myself eating. I don’t miss the snoring in the middle of the night that keeps me awake along with both boys and the cat. I parented Finn for a year by myself when Brian was deployed and it was hard but I didn’t have a choice and so you just do it. Now, when I have both boys alone, it sometimes makes me think about that year alone with Finn.
During these weeks when I’m a “single mom” I often think about the men and women I know that are single parents and how hard and tiring it is to be the only parent to your children. I’m so thankful I don’t have to do it all the time and I’ll be so happy to see Brian whenever he returns…Thursday or Friday. Finn will scream “DADDY!” and Getty will giggle and squeal! We’ll all be delighted to see Dad!