Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: solo parenting

How to survive a day of solo parenting with toddlers

The lady of the manor left for work at 6.30am this morning and won’t be home until 9pm tonight which is a long shift for her and also  long shift of solo parenting for me. Especially when Henry decided the day should start at 5.30am! These days always make me a little apprehensive, the lack of match practise means you don’t know the routine perfectly and you’re always outnumbered.

So how do you survive a day with 2 crazy toddlers? Well after literally years of experience as a dad now I’m going to share my top 3 tips for surviving a day of solo parenting with toddlers.

  1. Ensure you have a good selection of episodes of Postman Pat recorded and ready to go whenever either you or they need 15 mins chill out time. Just enough time I’ve found to make a cup and tea and go to the toilet before they realise you are missing.
  2. Fill the fridge with cheese and milk; I’ve found very occasions where you can’t pacify a toddler with a piece of cheese and/or a glass of milk. Our 2 are currently obsession with Babybel’s which they also insist on opening themselves. They smugly sit there thinking they’ve won because I’ve let them do it but it adds at least a couple of minutes to the time it takes them to eat it and therefore the peace I get. If the offer of milk and cheese doesn’t work then an episode of Postman Pat does (see point 1).
  3. Ensure you get at least 30 minutes of glorious, toddler tiring fresh air. There is something magical about a run around outside that seems to suck up all that crazy energy that toddlers have. Much like Bracken needs a walk every day I find taking Matilda and Henry out has a calming effect on the day, especially if you do it in the morning. Besides who doesn’t want to jump in some puddles with their children?

Given that this is how our Saturday looked today; you might be able to guess why we chose this house when I tell you we were never more than 100m from the house. Love that we can bring them up in the countryside like this.

Flying solo

It’s been emotional. That would be my 3 word summary of this week so far. Although to be fair that probably summarises most weeks as a parent doesn’t it?

There was the good; I have the week off work as holiday and if you ignore the gale force winds the weather was actually pretty good. It was also Matilda’s birthday on Monday so we had a bit of a party on Sunday afternoon.

Matilda playing with play dough

There was the bad; Monday was the lady of the manor’s first day back at work after a fabulous years maternity leave. You could sense the dread as this day approached in this house, we’d love for her to stay off work for longer but you have to pay the bills eventually don’t you?

Then there was the ugly; with the lady of the manor working Monday and Thursday I was flying solo for the first time with both babies. Not just for a few hours either, the lady of the manor is a nurse so she was gone from 6am to 9pm. Scary stuff. A well oiled parenting machine I was not, more frantic and chaotic than calm and controlled. Oh and there was the added bonus of a sick Matilda and a vomiting incident at bed time.

But we all survived, the children are still alive and the house is pretty clean and tidy. It was definitely daunting though, clearly I do a lot with my children anyway but having such a long period where it’s just you making the decisions is a whole different ball game. It takes time to pick up on all the little signals that say ‘I’m hungry’ or ‘it’s nap time’, plus of course planning ahead so you have meals ready when needed or milk in bottles for bed time.

Henry standing at slideFlying solo also meant it’s the first time that Henry has really had a bottle and no option of being breastfed, we weren’t sure quite how he was going to react to this. But it would seem being the greedy guts that he is that it was no issue, drank it first time with no complaints and now moans if we give Matilda milk and not him!

Solo bed times with both of them isn’t something I want to do too often; reading a story while giving Henry a bottle on my lap and Matilda sitting next to me drinking her milk is just a little stressful. But I have actually thoroughly enjoyed myself and also feel pretty satisfied that I managed to do it. Especially getting Henry down for naps, something I hadn’t done much of as the lady of the manor normally feeds him then.

It’s a brave new world…I just hope the lady of the manor doesn’t see this as her opportunity to disappear at weekends.

P.S. don’t misinterpret this as me thinking I’m a hero for doing it, the lady of the manor does most of this stuff every day, she’s the hero. Just glad to be able to step up and do it every so often.