How to Do It Solo (And Not Lose Your Mind)

I love being a parent.

But, I’m not very good at doing it solo.

For the past 10 days, R has been on an extended business trip. Basically, he stuck two trips together with visiting our son at college in the middle. He’s done a great job calling every day, sending foodie photos of the delicious meals he’s consuming at a variety of amazing restaurants, filling me in on work stuff (making sure I know he’s working hard), late night FaceTime dates just so I can see his handsome face, and lots of “hang in there” love texts.

The day, I mean the same day, an hour before I drove him to the airport, Zoie threw up in the sink in her kindergarten classroom. The nurse frantically called me, but I missed that call, so she called one of my best friends, who in turn called me and I actually answered her call, letting me know Zoie was throwing her guts up and I’d better run go get her. I honestly thought it was a joke .. it had to be a joke. My hubby was leaving in less than an hour on a 10 day business trip.

Well, it turned out that Zoie did have the flu.. that was no joke. I’m homeschooling Hannah, so she started a couple new subjects during the school week: Nursing Sister Back to Health 101 and Make Sure Mom Doesn’t Crack II.

I sprayed every inch of the house for germs and little flu bugs hiding, but they eventually found us. Poor Hannah had a few bad days and I decided to follow her example. My sweet friend, Jennie picked up Zoie yesterday to take her to gymnastics class and when she saw me, she sweetly said, “Oh no, I’m sooo sorry.” I told her I would only let a really, really good friend she me in my rumpled red robe and santa claus pj pants, with my pillow hair-do elegantly smushed to one side of my head. I looked like a mess. I was a mess.

Hannah told me today, “WOW, the week went really fast not having dad here.” I fervently, adamantly, wholeheartedly disagreed. It’s been the longest week of my life and I only have 24 more hours to go (and I’m counting) to be solo no more.

Here are a few ways to cope with doing it solo:

  1. Thank God daily. Solo moms, we have the unique opportunity to gain patience, perseverance, courage, and compassion as a mom on a real-life parenting adventure. If we make a point in thanking Him for the good, bad, and crazy, He will help us find the treasures.
  2. Make a lunch date with a friend. I made a few lunch plans with friends, but I had to cancel every single one due to the bug. However, something about “just the thought” of going out with a girlfriend and eating a meal out of the house, made the day go by faster. For real, I’m having lunch on Thursday with a sweet friend and I can’t wait!
  3. Plan something special to feel a little pampered. Hannah and I headed to our favorite place for a $12 manicure and picked out bold, sassy colors for our nails.
  4. Pray a lot. It’s amazing how much better I feel when I pray, even on the tough days when I’d rather complain. If I can somehow make myself pray before the day starts and the drama starts of being a solo mom … God always gives me the strength to face it head-on.
  5. TV purge a new series. I am a lover of television. I decided to find a new series, never watched before and purge my way though an entire season in one night. I will admit, staying up until 2am purging through season 1 of “Arrow” was probably not the brightest idea, but it was fun.
  6. Find the joy. Every hard day as a mom has joy. The joys are endless and if we look just hard enough, we can find them all day long, even when we are doing it solo. I had the joy of cuddling Zoie an entire day when she was sick and making her feel like my VIP patient, I had the joy of mommy DIY projects with the girls on the weekend, I had the joy of red nails, I had the joy of cooking healthy meals for my girls, I had the joy of long naps, and last but not least, I had the joy of counting every second until my best friend returned back home to be my co-parent to the best kids in the world!

Maybe doing it solo is hard, but oh how sweet it is that I get to be the mom to Michael and Hannah and Zoie for the rest of my life.

So, if you find yourself being a solo mom for a week or two, make sure you know how beautiful you are, sparkly bright through the crazy days, and don’t forget to pick out a sassy fingernail color!

A few fun pics of my solo week …

Kari Smalley Gibson
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