Why Sometimes Solo Parenting Isn’t Really Solo Parenting – Guest Post

WARNING: This post is a rant about the use of the phrase ‘solo parenting’.

There seems to be a new trend lately. I say new but I’m pretty sure it’s been going for a while. Parents of both genders publicly declaring how they’re solo parenting whilst the other half is at work/away for business/other reason for a short amount of time. Not to be confused with parents whose other half’s work away for weeks on end, are only home for one or 2 days a week or work in the armed forces.

“I am solo parenting today”.

BTW Solo parenting is a really annoying phrase. “Look at me successfully single mumming it while the other half is at work”. Us actual single parents don’t need a pat on the back or our validity as a parent confirmed by others or likes on a Facebook status. Quite frankly we’re too damn busy getting the hell on with things to even care what others think.

Because solo parenting, whilst means parenting on your own is not the same as being a single parent. Sure, no one is taking away from the fact that you may indeed be looking after your own children alone for xxx amount of time, using it in the same context as being an actual single parent is pretty insulting. A day stuck at home with your kids is in no way the same as being the only parent at home day and night. Every day and every night.

The thing is parents have been doing this for decades now. In fact longer. Much longer. Mums staying at home while dad goes to work. And in recent years more dad’s staying at home whilst mum goes to work. Both equally commended decisions. Doing what works for your family is the best choice you can make. But solo parenting it you ain’t. I’m sorry.

Parenting is hard I know!

I know some days can be hard. I’ve been there, I really do know. When you’re sat at home literally counting the seconds till your other half comes home and you can tag team the hell out of there and go and cry in the kitchen/bathroom/anywhere your offspring isn’t. I get it. Honest. Bringing up kids is a hard job. Sometimes it’s the worst thing in the world. Especially when it’s been days since you’ve left the house or even encountered another adult who isn’t your partner or the postman.

But claiming to be a single parent isn’t the way to do it. Yes having no support for the first time overnight is scary and quite frankly enough to send you nose first to the bottom of a bottle of cheap wine. The fact is it’s only temporary and honestly a little insulting to all the actual full-time single parents out there.

Who am I to say this? I’ve been a single parent for over 7 years now. I’ve been there done it and cried myself into oblivion at 3 am because I was so tired and my child just wouldn’t go to sleep. Then crying some more when she got up at 7 am because I didn’t have anyone next to me to tag into taking the morning shift. It sucks. Even more so when you are in work at 11 am until 9 pm that night. And you can feel the exhaustion of 3 nights in a row of no sleep is literally seeping out of your pores.

I have had days where the tantrums never end. Ever. Yet when the clock struck home time instead of focusing on the door for some much needed back up and a shoulder to cry on, I was checking how many hours I still had to endure before it was bedtime. If indeed they decided to go to sleep. That wasn’t always the case.

It Takes A Village…..

I’ve been lucky to have great support and still do. It really does take a village to raise a child. But sometimes the village is busy on jobs and you are in sole charge of your child. Alone for more than a 9-5 shift. And there is nothing more isolating than knowing that you are all there is at that moment in time.

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