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Call it solo parenting. Call it must-have parenting. Whatever you call it, holding down the homefront with little ones without your parenting partner is hard. Ridiculously hard.
As a working mother with 2 demanding children, on most days, I feel like I’m herding cats out the door. I serve cereal for dinner more than I would like to admit. And I insist that my neighbors leave their shoes on when they come in to my house. “Watch out for that sticky spot on the floor. Little angel decided peach juice is a wonderful body lotion. I’ll get that cleaned up. Right before my husband comes home. Which isn’t for 4 months.”
Currently I’m in the weeds of my first solo parenting deployment.
Overwhelmed doesn’t seem to describe it. I’m in survival mode. Just get through the day. Get through the day so that we can get one day closer to the homecoming.
Sometimes to survive those challenging solo parenting days, I tune out my daughters’ latest debate about the cutest My Little Pony character and let myself fantasize about imaginary items that would help solo parents.
Have you ever done that? Let yourself think about 1 thing that would help make this deployment a little bit easier? A little less stressful?
Here are 10 imaginary things that solo parents fantasize about during deployment.
1. Deployment Enlightenment Goggles
My daughters are at the tricky ages when they are too young to understand why daddy isn’t home, yet old enough to notice his absence. For the first 8 weeks of the deployment, my daughter asked multiple times a day “Is Dad coming home today?” “No, not today,” was all I could say since she doesn’t understand time.
With Deployment Enlightenment Goggles, when a military child (of any age) asks those tough deployment questions, you simple hand them their personalized goggles. After 23 minutes, they understand and accept military life.
2. Brush & Style Shampoo for Little Girls Who Demand an Elsa Braid
In my house, there are 2 daily moments of complete chaos. The first is the morning rush. That 10 minutes when I’m brushing my kindergartner’s hair while she’s putting on her shoes.
That same chaos returns during the bedtime routine when I’m trying to wash the green fingerpaint out of my preschooler’s hair. With Bush & Style Shampoo, I could simply apply this imaginary shampoo to their heads and the shampoo would check their hair for lice, untangle any knots, comb it and braid it into the best Elsa braid you’ve ever seen. Done and done.
3. Whine Silencer Popsicles
These cool treats would be good for all children, not just military brats. When the whining has reached its threshold for the day, hand them a Whine Silencer Popsicle. After just a few licks, the child is done whining for the rest of the day. Now you can complete your commissary trip on payday in contentment.
4. Snap Your Fingers Dinner
I know a lot of convenient recipes said they can be done in a snap, but sometimes I want to literally snap my fingers and see a balanced meal appear before my eyes.
5. Self-Cleaning Kitchen
For obvious reasons.
6. Fairy Babysitter
For those middle of the night moments when you need to take one child to the ER, the Fairy Babysitter magically appears to take care of your other children and pets. No explanation or base access required.
7. Service Member Hologram
FaceTime and Skype are wonderful, but sometimes you want a little more of your service member. The Service Member Hologram could appear at bedtime to read stories or tuck in the little ones. If your teenager doesn’t want to talk to you (because you just don’t get it), they could explain their problem to their listening hologram parent.
8. Adult Conversation Wine
At the end of the day, when I’m sitting alone in my living room, I yearn for adult conversation. A person who is excited about the release of Pitch Perfect 2 or is also concerned about U.S. foreign policy. Adult Conversation Wine is a bottle that you open, pour yourself a glass and it discusses with you whatever topic you want. Choose red for a wine that agrees with your political views or a white to argue opposing viewpoints with you. And when you’re finished, you simply put a cork in it.
9. Solo Parent Stunt Double
Wouldn’t it be awesome if there were two solo parents? Enter the Solo Parent Stunt Double. You wouldn’t need to pick between your son’s baseball game and your daughter’s choir performance. You could be at both events at the same time.
You could travel for work while your spouse is deployed without any solo parent guilt. And finally no more awkward conversations explaining to your boss why you can’t work late this month.
Text your Solo Parent Stunt Double the details and relax knowing that he or she has your back.
10. Sweet Moments Multi-Media Recorder
Throughout the day there are so many heartfelt moments that happen during a deployment. Moments where my military kids are resilient and positive and amazing and understanding and when I try to tell their Dad about it, I can never remember exactly the words they said. I can’t remember the exact tone of their voices or the sparkles in their eyes, but with a Sweet Moments Multi-Media Recorder all these moments would be captured and recorded for future viewing. My parenting partner could watch it when he misses his kids and I could watch it when I need a little Mommy pick-me-up.
All deployments are hard and the separation is hard on all military couples (with or without kids). There isn’t one thing that can make deployment stress-free. But with a little fantasy and imagination solo parents can ease the stress temporarily.
Or at least laugh at the chaos of solo parenting.