I toured the daycare near my old office by myself when I was 6 months pregnant because my husband was away at a long training program. (And by long, I mean 6 months long. Beyond our child’s due date-long.) It was cute and noisy and everyone was nice.
But there utter panic befell me as I imagined being The One Person waking up (this was before I understood that “sleeping baby” is a mythical creature), taking care of the baby and the dogs, getting to day care (prepared), getting to work, kicking ass at my job, pumping copious amounts of nutritious milk, picking up the kid and taking care of the dogs and dealing with any and all contingencies (deadlines, events, meetings, sick days, doctor’s appointments) that would come up – by myself.
I know that there are plenty of women who do this. And bless them.
Maybe it was the wild pregnancy hormones talking, but as B-Day approached it became more and more clear that I didn’t want that for my child (OK, for myself) in the early days. I would be stressed to the max, completely unhappy with my performance in any role, and undoubtedly my husband would get the bum end of the deal when he was around. Oh, and the dogs.
As someone who strives to be really good at the things I do (and is my own worst critic, and isn’t so very good at managing stress), I foresaw a complete breakdown. A breakdown that didn’t have to happen, because I know we are completely capable of living within our means. Even if our means is one income.
In one of my greatest self-preserving moves, I made the decision to not return to my job right away after the baby was born. Then we found out we were moving to England anyway, and I thought, “Sweet!” I also thought, “Well, that puts off working for a little while.”
And so this last deployment of my husband happened with me in one of those limbo states: was I really a stay-at-home mom? I gave away all of my Express Editor pants and pumps, and I started couponing. So, I guess so. I got into the idea, but I simply wasn’t prepared for also being a solo mom.
Dude. It’s hard work! But I’m persistent in the goals I set for myself. I spent nearly all of my baby’s waking hours trying to make him laugh and/or smarter and dragging him along on a gazillion errands required to get set up in the UK. For three months straight. Every day. EVERY day.
It wasn’t until my husband returned about a month ago, when things started to get a bit settled, when, to quote Sak Noel in Loca People, I thought “What the f***?” I just spent three months as a single stay-at-home mom. Who DOES that?
Well, thousands of military families do that, for one. But other than that… I don’t know!
So today I declare us a “thing” by posting a new acronym to the interwebs:
SAHSSM: Stay-at-home-sometimes-solo-mom. Or; SAHMs who sometimes find themselves as solo parents (to borrow Distracted Daddy’s term) when their husbands take off on extended trips.
There’s a unique set of challenges we face in what we do, and I’m going to talk about it for a while. In other posts, I mean. I really hope that the other SAHSSM’s out there chime in and we can start a conversation about it.
Separately, I need to go plan my kid’s first birthday party!