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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Single Mom Update

About this time last year I wrote about our postpartum living situation--our plan for Dave to continue working up north and my being a single mom/student during the week.

In hindsight, it was really silly to think it would be okay for me to raise Eddie largely on my own. Not because it isn't working, but because it just isn't fair to Eddie. (Or me.) The thought of Eddie realizing that Dave isn't around all the time breaks my heart. But luckily he doesn't have the brain capacity for that kind of pattern recognition yet.

I'm pretty sure my uber-nesting instinct, I-can-handle-anything feeling during the middle of the pregnancy caused me to convince myself that Dave not living at home with me full time was the a reasonable thing to do. And it wasn't necessarily the wrong thing to do (I mean, we've all lived to tell about it with honest smiles on our faces)...but looking back I would have insisted that he start job-hunting right when we found out I was pregnant.

I remember Googling phrases like, "how to be a single working mom" and being so disappointed that almost ALL the results were about how to date when you're a single parent. What I was looking for was specific "how to" advice--like how exactly does a single mom manage to shower, dress, and feed herself every morning before work with an infant? And how is she supposed to train her baby to sleep through the night without having the benefit of the 'baby daddy' to help wean the baby from nighttime nursing by attending to the baby in the middle of the night? Tips on how to jump back into the dating game were NOT what I wanted! (There were some discussions for military wives with deployed husbands, but the tips offered were not specific enough for me and they usually boiled down to suggesting that mothers get help from fellow military wives...also not helpful for me.)

Finding few useful tips, I made sure to think about how I'd do things with a baby around whenever I did my normal household things when I was still pregnant. I basically ended up buying a variety of baby holding devices at the thrift store so I'd at least have somewhere to put him for a few minutes at a time (bouncy/vibration seats, a jumperoo, a door frame jumping seat, a Bumbo chair, etc.). I also made sure Dave and I got the house in order so daily tasks would be as easy to accomplish as possible (without sacrificing my standards--like avoiding disposable diapers and making all of Eddie's baby food).

It is amazing how things have worked out. Dave still works away from Davis most of the week and I alternate between working in the lab and staying home with Eddie. There have been relatively few hiccups (like watching little Heidi, our nanny quitting, and a horrendous breast infection).

Eddie and I are a pretty good team and we make the whole single mom thing work smoothly. The reasons I think it works for us are:
  • He's a really good baby (no colic, no major illnesses or confounding health issues (yet), learned to entertain himself very early, good nighttime sleeper, SUPER SUPER SUPER cute--yes, this really helps)
  • No postpartum depression
  • The most amazing daycare provider I could ever imagine
  • The fact that I get to spend every other day at home (allows me to catch up on household duties after a crazy day at school...or at least mess around on the internet like I'm doing right now!)
  • I'm really organized with my time and my household infrastructure (laundry/cooking/cleaning routines)
  • Constant internet access and an unlimited texting plan on my cell phone. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't at least vent to Dave and my brother at all hours of the day. They don't always answer right away but I at least know they are receiving my messages (I love that Verizon sent messages show a check mark when the recipient has received your message.)
So, things are working out really well--not perfect, but really well. We could keep on doing this if we had to. That being said, Dave has been looking for a job "down here" since this economy it is tough but I'm sure something good will come along...............someday.

(Would someone please smack me next time I come up with a crazy idea like single motherhood? Thanks.)


mu rye uh said...

LOL well I am sorry it didn't work out for you, but when I saw your post back then I never thought you couldn't do it, I just thought "Oh man I couldn't do that I would go even crazier!" And lets be honest no one is going to mess with a pregnant woman and nesting.
I hope Dave finds a job soon for you and Eddie

Team Roy said...

I always think I'm better off doing everything on my own, even if that means putting a lot (or everything) on my plate. You are an inspiration of a wonderful, hardworking and loving mother/student/wife! Hoping Dave has luck in the job hunt.

huntfamily said...

I think part of the reason it works out so well for is that it's in God's plan for you...that always helps. I'm pretty sure God gives us babies with certain personalities because he knows what he can handle at the time. I'm amazed at how much you are constantly doing and how happy you are about it. I should really take more lessons from you. We'll keep Dave in our prayers....we know how hard job hunting is!

erin said...

i think it's worked for you because you're dedicated to it and you made the adjustments to make it work for you (basically everything you listed already). i think you're pretty amazing. i have no insight into what real parenthood is like, but i am so glad i'll have james to help me. i think i'd cry everyday if i knew i was going to be doing this alone.