Parenting Solo, Together: We Aren’t A Cookie Cutter Family

Being a parent is super hard, doing it together, separated, or even “solo”. It’s all hard. I am a firm believer that kids were put on this earth to test us. They test our patience, our forgiveness, our tempers, and our ability to love unconditionally. They are tiny monsters with the biggest hearts.

Do I ask myself how my life turned out this way? Absolutely. I swear half the time, I am not sure if I live in an alternate reality or real life. Most of the time, I have to pinch myself: Yup, it’s real.

Solo parenting, together

Our home is not a typical two-parent household. It’s, well, I guess you could say new-age or Millennial parenting. My husband and I have full-time careers, and I am a full-time solo mom. What do I mean by “solo” mom, well my husband works insane hours as a dairy farmer, so he is hardly ever home. Really, there have been weeks where he does not even see our kids unless I bring them to him. Hello, farm life. But that’s the thing, it’s not only me. It’s not only farm life that does this to parents.

There are so many jobs and situations out there that force parents to parent solo, but together.

Like any situation in life, there is good and bad to this.

I can’t say that I’ve never cursed out my husband for missing things or for leaving me to deal with two screaming kids for hours on end. That definitely does happen. But at the end of the day, once bedtime comes, they still kiss me good night and tell me that they love me. Every time I shut that door for the night, I remind myself that tomorrow is a new day. With each new day is the possibility {probability} of laughter, learning, and love.

Our circumstance isn’t perfect by any means. There are definitely challenges. Do I hate making almost all of the daily decisions regarding the kids? Yes and no. Typically, in my home, it is my way or the highway. Sometimes, it’s really great. I’m not even going to lie about that. Does it break my heart that sometimes I ask my husband’s opinion, and he responds with “I’m not sure” or “you’re with them all the time, do what you think is best“? Ugh!? Help?! But I get where he is coming from. Sometimes I really do know best. But it is nice to have that outside perspective.

Being a “solo” yet married parent is tough. It’s hard for some other parents to understand some of the differences between them and me.

I can’t take a break from my children when I am home with them. Most days I don’t need a break, but just throwing it out there that somedays it would be nice! If my tot needs to go potty while I am feeding the baby, guess who has to stop eating? I can’t even count the times in a day I have to say, “can you wait a second?” Thankfully, when this is all they know, they usually understand — as understanding as a three-year-old can be.

Not only is being a “solo” parent is all my kids have known, but it’s also all I have known. Sometimes when my rose-colored glasses fall off, I get a little upset or down, but I am also SO thankful because it is very rewarding.

Because I have always been front and center in my boys’ life, our bond is unbreakable. Even though they are young still, I hope that they know that I will always be there for them. I will always be there to give kisses and hugs when they need them. I will teach them how to cook and tie their shoes, and I will be there when they are ready to talk through some of their problems. Each mom {and dad} can relate to all of these, but I am thankful that my boys will grow up knowing that I am a constant in their life.

Independence is something both of my kids learned from early on. With my first, I can’t lie; he was spoiled. He got all of the love and attention because I had the time. However, adding our second kiddo has been a game-changer. Sometimes, one of them has to wait or fend for themselves. Holy-moly, the mom guilt on this one was a doozy. I am proud that they can entertain themselves and have a wonderful and developing imagination. They are independent enough to know when it’s playtime as a family and time to be alone … though they do test the limits sometimes!

I am thankful for the time we spend together. I was there for most, if not all, of my kids first. First roll, scooch, and step. I was there for their first day of daycare, boo-boo, and sickness. I can tell which cry means “I’m starving,” “I’m mad,” or “ouch.” I am there for all the laughs and funny moments, and on the flip side, I am there for the tears and tantrums. Though the days may be long, these are moments I will never be able to get back, and I am sure I will cherish them.

Being “solo” has taught me just as much about myself {maybe it is just being a parent in general, who knows?}. I have learned that I have more patience than I EVER gave myself credit for. {If you ask my husband, I still have none.} I have learned to be a problem solver, a mediator, and multi-task like a champion. I have learned that I can function on almost no sleep {college taught me that too. Parenthood has just reminded me that I am capable of}. I know that I can get through each day, even if there are struggles. Sometimes the days are long, and I swear I am counting the seconds to bedtime, but within those long seconds are precious moments that make me smile and make my heart burst with love.

On the other side of all of this is what my husband is teaching my children. My husband teaches responsibility and integrity. He teaches them to be a gentleman and also teaches them that being dirty is alright sometimes. He teaches them to respect others, the land, and animals. He is teaching them dedication, commitment, and perseverance. He is teaching them that hard work does pay off. He is showing them that the work he puts into the farm is for them. Our farm is our family legacy. Hopefully, one day, one or both of them are interested in taking that legacy over.

Solo Parenting, Together

Between myself and my husband, our children will know how to laugh at the little things, play hard and work hard, love unconditionally, and to treat others with respect. Our family is part of the dwindling population of farm families and I am forever thankful that my children will grow up with their feet in the dirt. I am thankful for the support my husband and I give each other and the understanding that comes with a long day. 

Our situation is unique, but every family is different in its own way. Most of the time, being a parent is a choice. This job is one of the most challenging and demanding jobs on the planet. Regardless of how old your kids are. It is forever. When you choose to be a parent, you are choosing to be strong for someone else. You are no longer on the earth to provide for just yourself, but for the tiny humans that you’ve created.

I will be forever thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given to become a parent and a “solo” parent. However, it’s not exactly the cookie-cutter image I thought it would be.