There are so many themes in Political Wife Life that non political spouses can identify with!
The 1950’s style family where one parent goes to the office and comes home at 5 p.m. while one parent stays home and runs the house is no longer the norm.
Solo parenting (where the parents are still in a relationship, but one person tends to do a majority of the parenting because the other parent works extremely long hours or is away for an extended period of time) is becoming more common. This has always been a reality for military families and political families.
Our family has structured our lives to try to avoid this scenario. But last year during my husband’s leadership campaign, it was unavoidable.
In a perfect world, we would all live close to family who were able to or wanted to pitch in and help with our kids. As our community becomes more global and travel becomes more affordable generations of families living in the same community is becoming less of the norm.
Being able to hire live-in help when faced with solo parenting for an extended amount of time would also be amazing. However, this is not always part of our financial realities.
Whether you are part of a class of newly elected politicians and their spouses or you find yourself solo parenting for another reason here are some tips for keeping your sanity.
- Find low cost childcare! The childcare at my gym saved me last year. I just walked on the treadmill, played on Facebook and drank coffee. It was way more beneficial for my mental health than my physical health but the two are so interconnected that I was able to still feel like the most fit person in the world. For more details about this amazing life hack click here.
- Baby Wearing! This has been one of my other greatest discoveries for surviving Political Wife Life. Stay tuned for a more in-depth post about this. But in a nutshell, it is exactly what it seems. Strapping/wrapping your baby to your body. Babies LOVE it and it allows you to have more hands-free time. If you have a fussy baby, it tends to calm them. If you have a toddler, it allows you to grocery shop while keeping them from exploring every item and shelf in the store. In politics, it allows you to bring your baby or small child to events, keep them calm and close, but more importantly to keep random (though often well-meaning) strangers’ germy hands off your child. Stay tune for an upcoming post with more details about the brilliance that is baby wearing.
- Find other solo parenting friends! I did this at my gym. There were other moms who’s husbands worked out of town and were only home on the weekends. Although we chose to spend those precious child-free moments washing our hair at the gym instead of socializing, it did so much for my soul knowing that I wasn’t the only person going through this experience.
- Ask for help! It is ok to ask for help. Sometimes I would invite my neighbour to come over for a drink. I would tell her that my house was messy and I hadn’t showered but that I just needed some grown-up company. These angels usually take pity on you and suggest that you take a moment to shower while they play with your toddler. Or maybe I just smelled and they didn’t want to hang out with me until I showered? Either way, I got to talk to a grown-up, have a drink, and have a shower.
- If you are really struggling and feeling overwhelmed PLEASE TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to go on medication, but you won’t know how depressed/anxious/overwhelmed you were until you aren’t depressed/anxious/overwhelmed anymore. I know, it is a “catch 22.”
Parenthood can be isolating and overwhelming. If you and your Dr decide that you might benefit from trying medication, please know that it doesn’t mean that you need to be on them forever.
- Ignore people who say Facebook friends aren’t real friends! Sometimes leaving the house in the winter with a teething baby was just too much. Thank the good Lord for Facebook. There is a group that shares your interest (baby wearing at Disney is a real group) and your experiences. These online groups kept me sane and allowed me to talk about things that were relevant in my day-to-day life.
I would love to hear your experiences about solo parenting. Please comment below with your survival tips.