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10 Ways to Stay Sane When Your Partner's Away


When your co-parent is traveling out of town, life for a mama can get stressful! Here's how to stay grounded and calm when your honey is traveling and you're parenting solo.

1. Find a Community

a group of women and their kids hanging out

Everything is more bearable when you have a supportive community of good friends. They'll help you stave off isolation, lend an ear to your trials as a mama going it alone, and maybe even volunteer to watch your kids so you can have a break. 

Finding a community can take time. To help build those connections, pack up your little ones and take them to story times, public play spaces, and the playground. When you're there, put down your phone and chat with the other moms to start building some lasting bonds.

2. Schedule Time Off

a mom leaning against a radiator

Breaks from childcare and the domestic routine are especially important when you're the sole caregiver. Book a babysitter, or set up a child swap with a friend. Use that time to relax if possible, even if we're only talking about a couple of hours, you'll be so glad you did when you return to your child refreshed and ready to pick up where you left off.

3. Keep Things Simple

a mom talking to her son at a table

Now is not the time to deep clean the house or learn to can pickles. With so much of your time being dedicated to childcare, keep all other domestic duties as simple as possible. Make basic meals, clean minimally, and play easy. That way when you finally get the kids down at night, what's left of the day can truly be you time, and not repair-the-house time.

4. Ask for Help

some kids playing together at a childcare

Don't try to be super mama (more that you already are!) by going it alone. Reach out to friends and family for help and companionship during this time. Ask your daycare provider if they have any extra hours available should you need them. Let your neighbors know you're flying solo and you would love any help they could offer with the yard or school carpooling. It takes a village, mama!

5. Take Care of You

a woman meditating in a park

You need to be at the top of your game right now, and the best way to do that is by making sure you're taking care of you, too. Getting enough sleep, eating right, and sneaking in some exercise are all key to helping a mama feel her best. Make sure you're prioritizing me care—it should be just below baby and child care.

6. Mix It Up

a mom watching her baby reading a book

With one parent away, there's no need to stick to the same old routine. Maybe you're always home by 5 p.m. to make dinner—why not take the kids out for a meal instead (you could even meet a friend at that restaurant your partner isn't interested in trying)? Or stay later at the playground. One mama we know takes her kids to the bedtime story hour at her local library when her partner's out of town. It's the little breaks from the same-old that will make the time until your partner returns go by more quickly (and enjoyably!).

7. Treat Yourself

a closeup of a woman holding a mug of coffee

Acting as both parents, you're doing it all. And that's exhausting. Be sure you douse yourself with frequent small rewards for holding down the fort all by your lonesome. A mini online shopping trip, a glass of wine at the end of the day, a few pieces of dark chocolate, a cup of tea or one of those big decadent coffees at your local cafe... bring them on, you deserve it.

8. Schedule Socializing

two moms and their kids hanging out at a park

Yes, we’re talking about eating unripe papaya… In Asia, green papaya is a traditional galactagogue. If you have a favorite Thai restaurant, order Som Tam, which is a green papaya salad.

If you’re not a fan of Thai food, try steaming or stir frying on high heat until tender. Green papaya is also available in tablet form.It might be tempting to hole up at home when your partner's away, but you'll feel better if you schedule some socializing. Try to make sure you have some adult interaction scheduled daily. Even a phone call to a faraway friend will help elevate your mood and keep you from succumbing completely to babble and toddler speak.

9. Keep In Touch

a young mom holding her baby while talking on her phone

Although you might feel like a single mama right now, the good news is that it's only temporary. Communicating frequently with your partner can be useful to reassure yourself that there will soon be an end to your flying solo! (Oh, and he or she might enjoy hearing updates about you and the kids.) Video chatting through FaceTime, Skype, or Google Video Chat can make it all even better.

10. Enjoy What You Can

a woman watching tv on a sofa

Sure, it's a drag that you're on-duty mom for what seems like forever. But could it also be a little bit fun to be a single mom (hopefully briefly)? Think of the perks: no need to make a real dinner, the TV all to yourself at night, a big bed in which to stretch out. It's not all bad going it alone for awhile, is it now, mama!

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