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Single Parent Survival Tips: Leave Your Kid in the Hallway and Serve Oreos for Dinner

The Internet and particularly my Facebook page are exploding with comments about last night’s episode of MTV’s Teen Mom. Farrah left her baby, Sophia, in the kitchen sink, in water, and the child turned the faucet on and burned her hand. That reads worse than what actually went down. Farrah was in the room and a few steps away and it sucks that Sophia was able to maneuver the faucet and get pinched with a negative second of hot water (or maybe it was cold and it shocked her!), but these things happen. When I was blogging on glamour.com, I wrote about a toddler who fell in the East River—ugh her Dad was walking RIGHT NEXT TO HER. After the jump, I’m going to share some things I do as a single parent when it comes to getting things done out of necessity. Judge all you want.

  • I only blogged once last week, because on Wednesday night I woke up at midnight and started puking. I didn’t stop puking until late Thursday night. As a single mom who lives alone with her toddler, I had no hands on deck to help when JD woke up when he heard me getting sick. No one to drive him to camp the next morning, or pick him up, or take care of him when he got home. Yeah, I have family and friends and they have JOBS. So, even though I felt like hell at 6 A.M. when JD woke up, I woke up, changed him, cooked him eggs (and felt sicker from the smell, but he asked for "eggies"), dressed him and drove him to school. I came home and crawled under the covers, only emerging to puke and then pick him up at 5:30 P.M. (Yep, I normally pick him up at 3 or 4, but on that day, I took full advantage of the day. He was in the stragglers classroom by the time I showed up. :/) When we got home, I cooked him Mac ‘n Cheese from a box and frozen veggies. I served it with milk and a smile. After dinner we usually go for a walk, or to the park, but instead, we WATCHED TV until it was bath time--We even watched E!. After his bath, I didn’t read to him (the horror!) and put him to bed--then I went to bed--at 8 P.M. When he woke up at 6 A.M., I changed him, gave him a cup of milk and a bowl of dry Kix cereal, plopped him in my bed and TURNED THE CARTOONS ON. We didn’t move until 8:30 A.M. (Usually, I'm drinking coffee at 6:30 A.M. and he's playing in the living room.) The rest of the day was full of low-key play (puzzles, coloring and more TV.--and long naps for both of us) I was sick and I had NO help. I survived, my way.
  •  Showering is also a trick. I said showering, as in bathing, as in a normal, everyday activity. Not for a single mom. When JD was a baby, he’d sit in his Baby Einstein seat, then Exersaucer in the bathroom, while I showered for five minutes. As he got older, I’d let him stand on the stool in the bathroom and water play in the sink with his Matchbox cars.

  • This morning, I just took a shower. “Mommy, be right back, bud. Going to take a shower!” I said. He was watching Dinosaur Train on PBS. My condo is baby-proofed and the doors were locked. I needed to bathe--I just wanted to bathe, not go to a club and drink a vodka/soda. Two minutes into my shower he ran into the bathroom (the door was wide open of course)—“I go to parade,” he said. “OK,” I said as I shampooed my hair. When I got out, he ran to me and said, “Come see my parade, Mommy!” In his room, he beamed with pride. “Doc Hudson going, King going, Bertie going, Thomas going…” He made a parade of cars and trains and trucks on his windowsill, while I showered. In other words, he didn't cut his hand off. There was no fire. Or meltdown.

  • I live on the third floor of a condo building. I park in the garage. Sometimes I have six bags of groceries to carry upstairs (because you know, we need to eat). To do this, I unload my Jeep and drop the bags off by the elevator on the garage floor. And I leave JD secured in his car seat in the Jeep with his door open--I walk away and leave him there. Some may say this is bad, unsafe, nuts (but I'm still in the garage, just on the other side). Maybe those people can help me carry my bags in? I mean, when Farrah was moving into her new apartment, the Internet was bombarded with comments about how she left Sophia SECURED in her car seat, SLEEPING, in the hallway. Maybe she did—and uh with a crew of producers. Hello! How else was the girl supposed to move her stuff in? I have a friend, who leaves her baby sleeping in his crib and walks the dog with the baby monitor in her hand--is that OK? Bash Farrah all you want. I have compassion for her. I know what it’s like to be a single mom. A single mom, puking, all alone with her toddler.

I do other stuff to survive single motherhood too that may seem questionable to some. Last night I drank two beers in the courtyard while JD kicked a soccer ball around. I once let JD have an Oreo before dinner because I didn't feel like dealing with a meltdown. Whatevs. I mean, he ate his dinner.

Discuss and share some of your single parent survival tips.

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