Adventures of Solo Dad (An Appreciation of Single Parents)

How do single parents (mostly moms) do it?

My wife flew to a work conference on Monday. That leaves me in charge of my two-year-old daughter until Sunday morning. I’m exhausted.

It’s been two days.

All I have to do is wake her, feed and dress her, and walk her to daycare. Nine hours later I return to daycare. Then I shuttle her home, play games, feed her and put her to bed. Sounds easy enough. But it’s stressful when you’re solo.

The day seems longer with no backup. I have to shower early, prep lunch, meditate and write before she wakes. There are no handoffs, fewer moments to rest, and I’m trying to avoid using TV daycare — “Dada, after I eat, I watch Robocar Poli? — until Thursday.

I had high expectations on Day 1. But there were a few brief tantrums, we arrived at daycare later than I wanted and she screamed at me. Then she deployed her cute voice, pouted, and said, “I’m sorry Dada.”

After she was asleep, and after I finished scrubbing dishes and sweeping crumbs, I fell onto the couch and thought, “how do people do this alone?”

Before she left, my wife and I prepped food so I wouldn’t have to do much cooking. We cleaned our apartment. We took down the Christmas decorations and made sure things were ready.

That’s a luxury.

I’m grateful. But I’m also in awe of how single parents manage. They deserve a lot more credit.

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