The Single Parent of the Navy Life
Before my husband and I were married, he asked me one question: "Are you ok with me being in the Navy?". I of course said "Yes!", not giving much thought to the lifestyle changes I would have to go through going from a Navy child to a Navy wife. I never gave much thought about what my mom had to go through with my dad being in the Navy and how that left her as a single parent of three children on multiple extended occasions.
When I got pregnant, I didn't think much about being on my own a lot since Matt was still on shore duty. I knew that only two months after I gave birth, we would be PCSing across the country where he would technically be on sea duty, but, he had department head school first. Surely school wouldn't take him away from us all that much and he would still be mostly present for his son's first year of life, right?
Our daily family schedule goes something like this:
Matt's alarm goes off at 5:30, I stay in bed to sleep till Josh wakes up while Matt gets ready. Sometimes Josh will wake up while Matt is getting ready so Matt will change his diaper and bring him in bed to me to nurse.
Josh and I do our thing (lately I've had a very fussy baby as he gets angry that he can't move on his own yet and he's having some teething pains (makes for a semi chaotic day that I'm ready for anyone to take him so I can have a breather).
I might get a quick text from Matt telling me that he's on lunch (he's in a secure area all day where cell phones aren't allowed) and then I won't hear from him till he tells me he's on his way home (usually between 5-7pm).
Josh goes to bed around 6 now (I'll try to keep him up a little longer but he's honestly lucky to even make it to 6 lately).
If you notice by this schedule, Matt only gets to be with his son for about five minutes in the morning and maybe an hour when he gets home. There are also many more days than I would like where Matt doesn't get to see or spend time with his son because he'll be asleep when Matt leaves in the morning and will have already gone to bed for the night when Matt gets home. It breaks my heart on the days where they don't get to see each other.
With this schedule, you may also notice that I'm alone with Josh the entire day. Obviously I understand that as a stay-at-home mom, I'm going to be the one home with my son all day, but most days if he's awake when Matt gets home, I want to hand him off immediately. I do this for two reasons: 1) I want to make sure they get some bonding time together before bedtime and 2) I'm to the end of my rope after having a grumpy baby all day and just want some time that I'm not being touched or hung off of. This isn't always fair to Matt however seeing as he's had a long day of his own and may just wants to relax upon arriving home and not have a grumpy child thrown at him.
I'm not sure how I'll handle everything when Matt switches to the last part of his schooling which will take him to a completely different state for four months in the winter time, leaving me with the baby, animals and snow. I know it can be done! But as it's currently an "unknown", there's definitely some hesitation from me. I knew that we would have long times apart once he's attached to a ship again, I didn't realize that would happen during school.
I'm not even a full-time single mom but this new season of our lives with the Navy is making me realize how amazing single parents and military parents are! The saying "It takes a village" is so true. You make a family when you're on your own in a new area. That's the Navy life.