Surviving (Short-Term) Solo-Parenting

You all know that my husband travels a great deal for work. It’s one of the reasons we’ve looking to move from our almost-idyllic home.

So, how do I survive solo-parenting with two toddlers and a dog? Well, I take shortcuts. Lots of shortcuts, and unapologetically.

  • I hire a fortnightly cleaning service. Well, this I do whether or not I’m solo-parenting, but I do it nevertheless. I adore my house cleaner, who simply zooms through the clutter the kids manage to accumulate and still make my bed. A miracle.
  • I use a Roomba several times a week, usually when the kids and I are in bed (it’s quite loud, but totally worth it). It won’t declutter or mop (though I’m lusting after the model that does the latter), but the wonderful thing manages to be incredibly thorough AND get those nasty little fur mats that always snuggle up to the legs of my chairs.
  • I don’t fold laundry the instant the dryer is done (and both Mamma and Mom-in-law are turning over in their respective recliners as they read this): I wait until I*have the time. Which is hardly ever, so I tend to buy no-iron clothes whenever possible. And I don’t worry much when the kids have wrinkled t-shirts at daycare. We won’t mention how often my husband and I just grab our (slightly wrinkled) clothes straight out of the basket before we race off to work. Or to dinner. Or to a wedding. You know.
  • We are a cloth-diapering family… but I lean on the disposables a bit more than usual when I’m solo-parenting. Yes, cloth diapering is great for the environment, for your weekly garbage limits, and oh, for your baby too (no, really). Sometimes, though (when I’m convinced the ancient Roman god of chaos has taken up residence for the hour before I load the kids in the car), I’ll use that one completely-unenvironmentally-friendly diaper just to catch that first, incredibly messy morning poop. And then I’ll go back to cloth. Sssshhhhh…
  • I use an Instant Pot. Almost. Every. Single. Day. You see, I love take-out. Not love as in Disney or Pixar love, but a deep, soulful appreciation of something amazing that someone else cooked…. Not necessarily the taste (I cook quite well, thank you), but the convenience. A piping hot, (hopefully) freshly-made meal, just waiting to be devoured at the end of a long day. Umm… well, not so much: invariably I end up extremely thirsty after the sodium. A slow cooker gives me most of the advantages with very few of the disadvantages. As long as I remember to… no, not just to assemble the ingredients. I usually do that the night before, so that I can just shove a plug into the wall in the morning. Alas… I frequently forget to shove that plug in, since the rest of the receptacle is sitting quite complacently in my fridge. (Oh, I have to put the slow cooker on. I’m just going to take the milk out for the kids. Putting the milk back: drat, forgot the Instant Pot. Okay, will just wipe the screaming kids up and then put the Instant Pot on…)
  • Fortunately, I can always resort to the pressure cooking function of the Instant Pot. I do have an old-fashioned Indian “whistling” pressure cooker that puts the fear of all sorts of deities into my children and the dog, but I much prefer the Instant Pot which utters barely a hiss while it pressure-cooks my neglected “slow cooker” meal to perfection.

You see, I’m not perfect. Far from it. I revel in taking shortcuts to ensure that I never have to be perfect!


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