A mom of twins plus one spends a week as a single parent... complete with stomach bug!

A Week of Parenting Solo

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Categories Feeling Overwhelmed, Household and Family Management, Lifestyle, Organization, Parenting, Preschoolers, Routines, SAHM, Single Parenting, Time Management, Toddlers, Working

Last month my husband left on an impromptu work trip for a week. None of us were happy about it: me because he was ditching me with 3 kids to deal with alone, and him because he hates to fly. Because of that reason, he’s actively sought to delegate traveling to others, and therefore hasn’t had to fly for work since the beginning of his career. We’ve never had to figure out the logistics of 3 children with him out of town. And actually I was kind of annoyed because where is my nice weeklong “business trip”? Nice hotel room all to myself, no kids’ needs to fulfill, maybe even a drink or two at a quiet dinner…

But anyway, it needed to be done, so on short notice I planned it out. Preschool doesn’t open early enough for me drop Big Sis off before work, so I took her with her siblings to Grandma’s and dropped her off at school after picking them all up after work. My mom wasn’t so thrilled about this arrangement either; two toddlers are quite enough for her to manage! But I convinced her that Big Sis would be on her best behavior, and after all it was only for a few days, for only 3 hours. Plus, since the other option of having the in-laws pick her up and take her to school was rejected by Big Sis, Grandma was my only hope.

I would get all the kids’ clothes ready the night before, breakfast/snacks laid out, wake up a little earlier to make sure I get myself completely ready before getting the kids up, and the plan was set. Daddy isn’t usually around for dinner or bedtime, so nothing else would have to change.

But a smooth week was not in the cards for me. Late Sunday evening I checked the baby monitor one last time before going to bed and found Baby Boy sitting up next to a big dark spot… which turned out to be a giant pool of vomit. Surprisingly, he hadn’t cried, maybe he was still half asleep or still trying to figure out what had happened. So I had to give him another bath, run a load of bedding in the laundry, and settle both him and his twin (with whom he shares his room) back down to sleep. We repeated this two more times throughout the night.

The next morning I was feeling nauseous myself, partly from not sleeping very much the night before. Got all the kids to Grandma’s, struggled through my two classes, and picked them up only to find out that both twins had vomited their morning milk shortly after arriving, and Baby Girl had no clothes to wear. Somehow we had all picked up a stomach virus, including my husband, who was enjoying his time away by shivering alone in his hotel room. (Which, to be very honest, made me feel better about him leaving me with sick kids.)

We rounded out the week with some work anxieties: I was almost late to a meeting for which my principal specifically emailed everyone to be on time, I had to refuse to substitute for another teacher even though it was my turn, and I thought maybe my contract may be in question (it wasn’t really).

Goodness! I have to say, hats off to all the single parents out there.

lunchldyd is a part-time teacher and mom to 29mo b/g twins and their almost-5yo sister. She’s glad her husband is back to taking over his morning duties.

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lunchldyd is mom to 3 year old boy/girl twins and their 5.5 year old sister. She is now teaches part-time to juggle the needs of her young children. When not at work and the kids are asleep, she is addicted to watching TV and sometimes sacrifices sleep to read in bed. She lives in the Los Angeles suburbs with her husband, three kids, and two dogs.

4 thoughts on “A Week of Parenting Solo”

  1. Ugh, my 3 year old girls and I just finished a round with a stomach bug- that is definitely not fun! Just wanted to point out for future reference- having a spouse out of town for a week is not the same as being a single parent for a week. You still have the emotional and financial support of a spouse, even if he’s not physically present. I know you weren’t necessarily trying to say that, and I appreciate the sentiment at the end of the post, but it’s about the same as when parents of singletons try to tell me that having their two kids who are close in age is like having twins. The title was off putting for me. I know I appreciate when other people make me aware of things I say that unintentionally offend them, so I offer this insight in the spirit of sharing :) Hope everyone is feeling better now!

    1. You’re right. What I meant to say was that my of taking care of 3 kids alone for a week was a small taste of what it must be for single parents on an everyday basis. However, on the other hand, I would imagine single parents would have more systems in place for when things occur that upset the schedule. What I wrote about was mostly about the result of an unanticipated scramble. But Daddy was still checking in with us via FaceTime, and was supportive as you mentioned, albeit remotely. I definitely do not mean to belittle the experience of single parents. It’s actually quite the opposite!

      1. When I was married, I used to use the term “solo parenting” to try to capture the distinction that Elizabeth makes. I did parent solo a lot, since my now ex-husband was deployed frequently. In my very specific experience, solo parenting was harder than single parenting is now, mostly because I was in an unhappy marriage and my husband demanded a lot more from me than he gave back.

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