Parenting Life // The problem with going 'solo'

Whatever your parenting dynamic is; there is no arguing that it’s a tough game. We live in a different world these days and that traditional nuclear family is no longer the norm.

Recently I’ve found myself feeling uneasy when people say that are ‘solo’ parenting.
Usually, this phrase is mentioned when a partner is away for a period of time (be it a day, week, month), we highlight how hard it is going to be as we parent alone.

ALONE.

And that’s the word that strikes me.
Those of us with a significant other are never truly doing this alone (of course there are exceptions to every rule, but for today let's stick with the majority).

Searching through the internet I come across a handful of opinion pieces where the term ‘solo’ is associated with being a single parent. Collins dictionary (yes, i’m going there!) also defines it as the ‘usual term for a single parent’.

Putting myself front and centre our family dynamic is similar to that of others. I work early shifts whilst my partner works a late shift. This allows us to drop off and pick up without the need for childcare costs (after the first 2 years of nursery we were financially screwed). We are only together as a unit of 3 once a week. There are absolutely times when I feel like i am doing this alone. Those days where the KID.WON'T.STOP. When bedtime can't come soon enough and I have no fight left in me.

But (and here’s the but) someone will come through those doors so I can vent, occasionally cry and more often than not, run out so I can go and have a coffee on my own.  

We appear to live in a world where we feel the need to declare that we have a harder time than someone else. Why can’t we just crack on with doing our best and supporting others when they may need a leg up.

Chatting about this over on my Instagram the other day led to some great, healthy and educational conversations. No judging. Just sharing of opinions. Here are some of the comments below to add more to this than just my own thoughts. 

‘.....but co-parenting is different from solo parenting. Mum was widowed when I was 5 and when my sister divorced she fundamentally single parented, but acknowledged that every other weekend she had her own time as the boys stayed with their father.’

‘Your not solo parenting because you do bedtime with your kids for 3 nights. I remember running out of loo roll and kitchen roll when I was first a single parent.....no money to buy anything, no one around and I felt ashamed...it’s a world away from getting the bed to yourself for a few days. 

‘I think people don’t mean to make light of the situation, Also people don’t mean to offend.... I think that it is mainly used for ease.’

‘All families are unique and really don’t need labels’

And that’s it really isn’t it. It’s easy to say you are flying solo. I guarantee no one ever means to offend, so perhaps next time just phrase it a little better. Or better still we just stop using phrases (wouldn't that be a radical idea?).

I’ll finish as I started. Everyone’s dynamic is different, it’s a tough game. One thing I’m certain of is that my tough days will never compare to those truly who truly do this alone.



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