REAL TALK REAL MOMS :: SOLO PARENTING

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(Disclaimer: I’m only speaking to solo parenting in which one of the parents travels or are gone for long-periods of time. I can’t speak to single parenting which, in my opinion, single parents are incredible humans and I’ll bow down to you and would buy you a drink if we met in person. I am fully aware these two roles are very different.)

Fun Fact: I’m currently writing this post at.the.last.minute because, whelp.. I’m solo parenting. Just to set the tone of what our routine looks like in life, as I’m not one to overshare, but it’s good to know in context for this post. My husband travels for work, a lot, and it can be planned for weeks or change within 24hrs. This isn’t something new, it’s how things have always been… even when we were dating. But over the past four years, it has become more often and for longer periods of time. Prior to kids, when he would go out of town I used it as my time to catch up with all of my girlfriends over late night dinners and drinks and host parties and do all the things I love to do by myself - like sleep in, go window shopping, see movies and visit the farmers market.


Enter kids.


Now, when he’s gone, it’s a bit different. I’m working a full-time job and also on full-time parenting duties. There are days my head spins and others were I kick back and think “Damn, I was such a badass mom today!” It fluctuates quite quickly.

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Here are some thoughts, comments, common scenarios and realizations I’ve had over my six years of solo parenting stints:

Constant Parenting Mode: There’s no one to tag in while you go sit on the bench for a minute. Be aware, you may not actually sit down all day until your children are asleep. I call these days my ‘cardio days’.

Build a Support System: Don’t shy away from letting friends know you’re on your own for a bit. At first, I tried to be an island and was too prideful to ask for help or let others know I’d love some company. Now, I will mass text my friends, line up the babysitters and accept any prepared meal offering that comes my way. While it’s never easy to have to constantly be away from your family, I know that Eric also finds so much relief in knowing we’re loved and cared for when he’s gone.

Outsource Everything And Don’t Look Back: Find all the companies and stores that deliver to you. Literally anything that makes your life easier and with less errands. Groceries, Amazon, UberEats, Postmates, Seamless, Handy… etc.  

Make Plans and Also Don’t Make Plans: I’m an extrovert and an overplanner. I like to stay active and social - I don’t like naps or relaxing much (but am trying to work on it) and I like at least 1 planned activity a day. When I’m solo parenting I also follow that rule. Prior to Eric leaving, I’ll make playdates with friends, lunch and park meetups and get sitters to come over so I can have a night out. I find these things help the days to flow better and keep everyone spirits up and positive. Also, when you’ve been solo parenting for over a week, sometimes it’s also nice to just take it easy and not feel exhausted just at the thought of getting everyone ready and out of the house.

Admit You Really Like The Alone Time: Oh sure, I miss Eric when he’s gone. He’s my best friend. I remember crying a bit after he left for his first trip when we were newlyweds (oh, to be young again) and also then panicking at the thought of having to reactivate my brain to do things on my own and not as a unit. Almost 9 years into marriage and now I look forward to nights at home (post bedtime) where I sit by myself and catch up on shows he would rather not watch with me (I love you Broad City) and sleep like a freakin starfish in the middle of our king bed. It’s the closest thing to ‘me time’ I’m going to get these days!

The Re-entry Period: This is a big one. At first I felt alone in this and have now come to learn it’s a very very common occurrence in couples where one unit travels a lot. For some reason, whether he’s gone for five days or three weeks, it always take a couple of days to get back into double duties and back on the same communication wave length. I get so wrapped up in handling everything myself and doing things a certain way without having to be concerned with another adult (I’m Type A, can you tell) and it takes a second to adjust and relax and relinquish control. And other times, the minute Eric walks in the door my brain starts to power down and immediately forgets how to change a diaper, wash a dish or pick up a toy.

Keep Communication Active: We’ve had to make some conscious decisions in how we structure our life to make this scenario work, that includes living close to family and a community of friends we’ve known for years to ensure that I have a solid support system in place for myself and for the girls. But we’ve always had to talk it out over and over again. It always comes back to supporting each other and our own paths at this moment and also respecting each other. I will never guilt Eric about being gone. Heck, sometimes I’m the one rooting for him to say yes to back-to-back shoots because I know it’s what he loves. All I’m saying is, be a team and always let the other one know how you’re feeling.

Now I’m off to go sleep like a starfish.


Be sure to check out and follow along with the other amazing mamas who are sharing their stories as part of this series. Also be sure to check out our previous topics: TravelFeedingSleepRelationshipsSelf CareWorkingCo-ParentingComparison TrapDiaper Bag Essentials and Play. Links below! #realmomseries

Jen : The Effortless Chic | Caitlin: Sacramento Street

 Erin: Design for Mankind  |  Megan: The Fresh Exchange | Lexy : The Proper Blog    

Cyd: The Sweetest Occasion | Chandra: Oh Lovely Day | Chelsea : Lovely Indeed

REAL TALK REAL MOMS :: GOING FROM ONE CHILD TO MORE

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I always love hearing when people felt like they were ‘ready’ to have another kid. The funny part is you are never even ready for the first one, and by the time you feel like you just got the hang of this parenting thing, it seems a little backwards to then decide to just throw it in the garbage.

Everyone with multiple kids has obviously endured their own version of the transition and it’s repeatedly stated to you that going from one kid to two is the hardest transition, more so than going from zero to one and definitely more than going from two to three. But, then again, going from two to three sounds like my breaking point, so it’s really a crapshoot. I’m also told that once you have three it’s basically a state of whatever at that point and you can just keep going from there with little to no change in your routine. True or false? I’m not testing the theory.

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It’s different for everyone, but Parker has just turned three when SS was born. That age gap may have saved us a bit from some of the other hardships of navigating two children. Parker was old enough to communicate more with us, had a grasp on independent play and had seen her friends with baby brothers or sisters. On some level, she got what it was all about… in her three-year-old way.

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Here are a few tidbits I remember experiencing and wanted to share:

  • If your second child is the same gender, as mine are, it was hard for me to not just assume SS was going to do everything exactly like Parker did. I kept assuming I had birthed another Parker… which was kind of weird now that I typed that out. But the point is, every baby is different. What worked the first time, may not always work the second. Be flexible and let them be their own tiny tornado.

  • If it’s an option, be sure to potty train your older child before the next ones arrives. No one can handle more than one human who needs a diaper… and that will be including you for a bit after you give birth, lest you forget so easily from the first experience.

  • Damn it feels good to know what you’re doing the second time around. After Parker was born, I’m pretty sure Eric and I looked at each other multiple times a day and thought ‘WHAT HAVE WE DONE?’... but with the second all of the stages are more known, you’re more confident in your mom-abilities and things like diaper explosions and a five octave screaming range doesn’t even phase you. Embrace being way more chill this time around. You’re not just a mom, you’re a cool mom.

  • Even if it’s just for a few hours a day, if you can, have someone come over and take your older child to the playground or a coffee date or something outside of the home. Through my maternity leave with SS, I still had our nanny come her normal hours so I could 1) just have a second set of hands and 2) have her continue to take Parker out and about to art classes, etc while I was recovering from my C-section and 3) I could nap when the baby was napping, I could take time to heal and even pump and who knows… sneak in a shower… but most importantly 4) find time to savor and bond with SS as if she was my first. It was truly a lifesaver and I’m forever grateful we were able to have that set up.

  • At this point, you’re already going to playgrounds and playdates and art classes and probably have friends with kids. So all of that doesn’t change that much. You’ve found your parenting social life and now it just has another baby included.

  • Give yourself a learning curve. You didn’t figure out how to keep one child alive overnight, so it will take months (yes, you read that right, months) to get the hang of this two kid lifestyle. Go easy on yourself, take deep breaths, drink some wine, drink some wine while nursing. As we know all to well after already having gone through the newborn phase one, everything is just that… a phase. You know everyone will go back to sleeping through the night, they will stop having tantrums, they will play independently again.

  • If you follow the rules of birth order, your first will be the rules follower that generally is more mild mannered and follow instructions. The second is your drunk uncle who lives to entertain. I should know, I’m a second child.

  • It’s okay to know your own threshold. I have friends with four or even five kids and it’s easy to compare. But after having a second child, I quickly realized my threshold for craziness and utter chaos was pretty low. Knowing that probably means I won’t be a mom with five kids. But, guess what... I’m so excited and proud of my mama friends who do have a high threshold for utter mayhem. They teach me SO much and I have endless respect for them.

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After SS’s first birthday, I was able to finally look back and see what all we accomplished in that first year with two kids. Now, when we see them eating together, playing together and helping each other... Eric and I high five and then melt into a pool of emotions. Parker dotes on Sidney Sloane and SS just wants to be exactly like her older sister. I feel like I’ve peaked in my parenting at this point, it can only go downhill from here ;)

I’m so excited we’ve started up this series again. Motherhood, parenthood and families can all take different paths and look so unique to each person. Every woman in this series bring their personal perspective and experiences to the conversation, and for that, I am always grateful to be a part of this group. There is no right or wrong way to do family and I think it’s so important to see all of the different perspectives and experiences shared!

Be sure to check out and follow along with the other amazing mamas who are sharing their stories as part of this series. Also be sure to check out our previous topics: TravelFeedingSleepRelationshipsSelf CareWorkingCo-ParentingComparison TrapDiaper Bag Essentials and Play. Links below! #realmomseries

Rebecca: A Daily Something |   Kelly : Studio DIY  |   Jen : The Effortless Chic

   Erin: Apartment 34  |   Ashley: Sugar and Cloth  |  Megan: The Fresh Exchange

Lexy : The Proper Blog  |  Natalie: Natalie Borton  |  Cyd: The Sweetest Occasion

Catherine: The Life Styled | Chandra: Oh Lovely Day | Chelsea : Lovely Indeed

FIVE STYLISH BACKPACKS FOR KIDS

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Metallic

We are officially back to school! Let me tell you, having to get up an hour earlier every morning now just to get ready before I have to get Parker up to get ready is a real struggle. I love sleeping. Just knowing that life will now be this way for the next 12 years of her life sure doesn't make it easier. Anyways, I'll keep this short as I just wanted to share some backpacks I came across while scouring the internet for back to school items for Parker. Shopping for back to school items is more fun than actually going back to school ;) These are the five top trends I noticed in back packs and I chose my favorite from each category! 

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Camo

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Tropical

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Stars

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Fruits