My husband deployed when our first baby was just a couple of weeks old. I didn't know anything about solo parenting. Ten years, two more children and many, many deployments later, here are the things I had to learn about solo parenting.
1. That 9 p.m. would become my favorite time of day.
Nine p.m. is a magical time. Like, unicorns and wizards magical. It's the hour of Bacchus, when the wine flows freely and a DVR full of "Warning: Adult Content" television shows awaits.
2. That there's a weird sense of power.
Solo parenting gives me the ability to tell my kids things like, "Cussing is something that only grown-ups are allowed to do, like voting and drinking beer." And there's no one around to judge or contradict me.
3. That people can be kind.
Many people are remarkably sympathetic when they learn that I'm solo parenting and sometimes even offer to help.
4. That every clock time would become an -ish.
My watch might as well have an "ish" hand." I am on time for everything I do without my kids -- and I'm late for everything I do with them. Even if I allow plenty of extra time, someone will inevitably declare her shoes "too crunchy" and take them off and leave them in the driveway, and I won't notice this until we're two miles down the road.
5. That time is cruel.
The days are crawling-through-the-desert-with-a-shirt-tied-around-my-head-and-no-water long, but the years are life-span-of-a-cake-pop short.
6. That every child will want everything at the same time.
Solo parenting means every child will want everything at the same time and will not understand why that isn't possible.
7. That "There's only one of me," is always a valid excuse.
Really, it is.
8. That loneliness and solitude co-exist.
It is possible to be both painfully lonely and desperately craving solitude at the same time.
9. That Karma has it in for me.
Karma is out there looking to get even, particularly when it comes to past absolute statements I've made. ("No child of mine will ever play video games.")
10. That I'm pretty good at it.
Do a little Must-Have Parenting often enough, and you get pretty good at. Trust me, Karma. You do.