Solo parenting when you are not a solo parent.

Being a parent is hard no matter what shape or form that its done in. If your parenting with a partner, without a partner, family help, friends help, no help, no matter what its hard! I feel that society in general ( I am not speaking for everyone here) categorises parents in two ways. A single parent or a non single parent. But what about the people who don't fit "the norm". I am one of those parents that don't fit in to either of those completely.

I am married to a a military man, a soldier a serving member of the armed forces, however you want to put it I am a military wife. I spend quite a lot of my time solo parenting. Like most military wives I moved to be with my husband and gave up my job, moved away from family and friends and started a whole new life hundreds of miles away.

I was already a mum to Elise at this point who was 22 months when we moved. Where I lived before I had a full support system. My parents, siblings, in laws, my grandparents, cousins and friends. So the days, weeks and months when my husband worked away didn't feel so lonely.

Fast forward nearly 5 years and two more children later, I spend the majority of my time alone. Relying on friends to lean on during those difficult times and take the place of my husband, my mum , my siblings as I do for them. Although truth be told no one other than those people can fill those roles. No one but my husband can be my husband.

When your a military wife or a wife of someone who works away an awful lot, you flit between these two categories of a single parent and a non single parent. You don't really fit in to one camp and in a way that can be harder.

Now I am speaking from my own experiences here and my personal feelings. Its not intended to offend anyone or come across as needing a sympathy vote. Im writing this for the many women who get in touch with me to say they feel like I do and just how hard it is.

When you get married or have a chid with someone of course you don't intend to ever do it without the other half. From knowing single parents and watching my mum be a single parent for a time, you have that knowledge of knowing, as hard as it is that Christmas won't be spent with you partner or your children's dad (unless that is how you work it) you know where you are in life. You know that its you and your children and you continue life moving forward.

The other camp are those who know they will celebrate every holiday together, be home at set times and days and know where they are, well as much as anyone can. But that isn't how military life works or for someone with an unpredictable job.

I don't know sometimes from one week to the next if my husband will be home. Some days he can leave in the morning and phone me that afternoon and say he went be home for days. We can't plan holidays, days out unless its very last minute and we never know from one year to the next if he will be home for Christmas, birthdays or anniversary's. It's a very odd feeling being married to someone and not spending the majority of the time with them. To not be able to spend special occasions with them. Not having them home each day and spending more days apart than together is an odd thing.

I envy families who "live a normal life". Normal to me is mum and dad home every evening, every weekend and spending, Christmas, birthdays etc together. I feel like a single parent most the time but without the title or benefits of being single. We still function like a married couple to some degree but, a lot of the time I have to make decisions or attend things that really we should be doing together.
Weekends are the hardest when I see families out together or just doing everyday things like the food shop or a trip to the park. I feel sorry for my children who don't get to have there daddy home all the time like most of their friends.

I get lots of encouragement and lovely words from people saying how well I'm doing and how well I cope and I'm such a strong person. But the truth is I don't have a choice and in all honesty I don't want to be doing it. I want to live the normal everyday life and fit in that married and parenting together box because to be honest thats what I signed up for. I didn't get married with the intention f spending more of our married life a part. But then people don't get married with the intention of getting divorced do they?

I don't really know where I'm going with this post or what the point in it was but I just wanted to give those who don't fit in to my category and the category of many like myself what its like. To feel like you don't always fit in and to be with someone yet not really be with them. To have a long distance relationship, to be on your own of an evening time, when all you want is to have someone there to talk to but instead its a Skype or a whats app conversation. To have someone there to share the parenting high and lows and to help out every night with the bath and bedtime routine. Spending 6 months straight apart isn't your average marriage isit?

For children to have a long distance relationship with a parent is also incredibly hard. When partners break up children get a clear outline of whats going on. That mummy and daddy are not together and they live in separate houses, yet they see mummy on these days and daddy on these days. I appreciate that isn't always the case, believe me I am speaking from experience! For my children and many others they know we are together but that daddy doesn't live at home a lot of the time. It is  heart breaking to have to explain why daddy won't be home if he's been called away last minute, or that daddy will be missing Christmas and also their birthday.

Its hard, really hard when you want to function like your everyday family but you can't. Being with someone in the military or someone who works away for long periods of time is tough. You have to be mum and dad and do it all and your the one left behind picking up the pieces as they come and go. Don't get me wrong I am in no way bashing my husband. He works incredibly hard and I am so proud of him for that, it would just be nice to have him home a bit more.

As I said above, I don't really know were I was going with this other than to give a little insight as to what its like when your partner works away an awful lot. Hats off to you all because its tough. But we've got this, mainly because we dont have a choice but also because we are made of tough stuff.

If you made it to the end of this ramble...well done and...Thank you!
Natasha x

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