I Survived! One Week Of Solo Parenting…


Yep, I survived my week of solo-parenting!  Nobody died, and very little blood was drawn.  I’d call that a success!  More importantly, I survived a week almost completely disconnected from the internet (other than checking the weather forecast at night)!  No blogging, no email, no web browsing, and absolutely no social media.

By itself this doesn’t sound like much of a feat, but please consider that it’s been almost 25 years since I last went without internet for more than 48 hours.  Yes, it’s really been that long!

While it’s easy to see the negatives of not having access to the internet, last week gave me the opportunity to re-learned some important lessons about life, productivity, and why not having the internet can be a very positive thing…

 

Starting The Week Off Sick

Going into my single-parent week, I started things off on the wrong foot by getting sick.  On Saturday night I had some kind of allergy or weird sinus issue, that actually turned out to be a cold.  (Mrs. Tako flew out on Sunday morning)

Ugh!  I hate being sick, but it’s one of those things that just randomly happens.  The kids bring the viruses home from school, and I almost always end-up catching the sickness from them.  Bad timing for me anyway.

Having to take care of sick kids is no fun, then add to the fact that I was also sick, and you have a recipe for a tiresome snotty wonderland…  I’ll spare you all the details.  Originally I planned for the week to be considerably more difficult than usual, but I no idea we were all going to come down with a cold.

Oh, the joys of parenthood!  I had absolutely no energy for anything the first 3 days of last week — other than the basic survival necessities.  Feed the kids, pack the lunches, get them to school, pick them up from school, do the laundry, make dinner, get them bathed and to bed, and then finally fall into a sleep coma myself.

basic spaghetti
Most of the meals I made last week for the kids were super-basic staples like spaghetti, joined by broccoli and garlic bread. Easy stuff.

Avoiding the internet during this part of the week was actually really easy.  I was just too sick to care.  I had too much other stuff to do in the ‘offline’ world.

 

New Found Appreciation

By Wednesday I was starting to feel a little stronger, and the cold symptoms were letting up.  If there’s anything I learned from my week of single parenting, it’s that single-parents don’t get enough appreciation for everything they do.  There is no “second” parent to hand-off parenting duties to when they get sick — they just have to go it alone like I did.

For most single parents there is no sick-day advantage.  They just have to hang in there 24/7 and 365 days a year.  No breaks.  I only had to manage two kids by myself for a week, and that was plenty difficult.

One thing I did learn was a new found appreciation for Mrs. Tako last week.  For example:  Mrs. Tako usually packs the kid’s obento (‘lunch box’ in Japanese) the night before.  Having to do this by myself last week made me truly appreciate what a great job she does packing delicious, healthy, and beautiful lunches for the boys.  I did my best, but they weren’t nearly as good as hers.

obento combo
A couple of the lunches I made for the kids last week.  On the left is chicken-broccoli fried rice, and on the right is breaded chicken with edamame and grapes. (Sorry for the blurry photo, my phone camera sucks).

In my experience, couples tend to fall into a pattern of doing their individual tasks without adequate consideration for what the other is doing.  He mows the lawn, and she does the laundry.  Or, he cooks the meals and she vacuums and cleans.  That sort of thing.  It becomes second nature, but you sometimes forget (or don’t appreciate) all the work that goes into the other person’s task.

Changing things up like we did last week can make a huge difference in understanding or appreciating your partner.  It certainly did for me.

It’s a great way to see the other person’s side and I highly recommend it.  Just try it.  Take a week and swap tasks with your partner.  It’s a eye-opener, and I think you’ll be surprised by the new found appreciation you find for your spouse!  I certainly was!

 

Increased Productivity Sans Internet

Once I started feeling better, my week got a whole lot more productive.  Not only did I perform the usual tasks of cleaning the house, doing laundry, and prepping meals — but I also took-on a bunch of yard-work that needed doing this spring:  Mowing the lawn, weeding the yard and garden, edge trimming, cleaning some old junk out of the garage, and sawing up the remainder of our broken trees from last winter’s storms.

(One storm in particular broke a ton of trees last winter, and I’ve been cleaning those trees up for the last couple of months.)

I found myself being more productive than usual, and I attribute this mainly to just being off the internet.  I even got a solid start on clearing out some of the weed-ridden dirt patches around our house.

weed blocking
After I removed the old bushes and the soil leveled, I put down weed block. Eventually river stones and red bricks will fill in these two areas, making our back yard require less maintenance.

Those dirt patches use to have ornamental bushes and trees (which I never really liked anyway).  They required constant weeding to look nice during the summer months.  On top of that, the dirt from those areas would always splash up on the house when it rained.

Personally I’m not into weeding or constantly washing the house for fun, so I decided to weed block these areas and put down some river stones.  Similar to how I finished our front yard in October 2016.

Yard After 2
The back yard rocks will eventually look like this very old picture of our front yard.

It ended up being really a productive couple of days.  I got a ton of yard work done.   This got me thinking — I won’t go without the internet forever, but how about I institute some ‘no internet days’ to put a little rocket-fuel into my weekly productivity?

It’s an idea I’m going to try-out in the coming weeks.

 

Missing All The Tariff News

Being off the internet for the week, I also missed most of the news about the new Chinese tariffs.  While much of Wall Street was freaking out about the prospect of higher Chinese tariffs, I was blissfully unaware of all the market volatility.

I simply opened the computer on Saturday morning and noticed stocks were down for the week — our portfolio lost a few percentage points in value.

Honestly I’m not bothered by the tariff news.  I thought stocks were overpriced before, and now they’re slightly cheaper.  That’s not a bad thing in my book, because I’m a net acquirer of the businesses those stocks represent.  I will always be buying stock and I absolutely want lower prices.

Sure, there could be a little temporarily economic disruption (perhaps even a recession), but I believe these fears are mostly overblown.  The Yuan is already sinking in value, which makes my US dollars go even further in China.  Should the yuan continue to fall far enough, the net impact of higher tariffs for either country could become entirely negligible.

What’s more, there’s plenty of competition for the manufactured goods I purchase.  If there’s a new “cheaper” country to manufacture goods in, odds are pretty good that some capitalist is going to seize that advantage by bringing lower cost goods to U.S. consumers.

That’s capitalism for you.  Efficiency will find a way.  I’m absolutely not afraid of inflation or my monthly expenses increasing significantly.  I just don’t think it’s going to happen… other than a few short term blips while supply chains get re-jiggered.

I track my expenses monthly, so if there’s a sudden increase in my cost of living, it’ll be entirely obvious when or if it happens.

 

Final Thoughts

While this isn’t the most exciting family post, I just wanted to do a quick recap and let everyone know that “I’m back” and “I survived”.  The children didn’t eat me… although they definitely tried. 😉

Honestly, a week of solo parenting was a great experience for all of us (despite being sick).  Mrs. Tako had a great opportunity to learn and travel for work.  I got to practice and appreciate doing many of the things that Mrs. Tako regularly does, and the kids got to experience some time away from Mom.  We all had the opportunity to learn and grow.

All in all, it was a good week, but I’m very glad things are now back to normal.

 

25 thoughts on “I Survived! One Week Of Solo Parenting…

    • May 22, 2019 at 2:41 AM
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      Indeed it is Dave! (Wow, you were lightning fast on the first comment today! I literally just hit publish!)

      Reply
  • May 22, 2019 at 3:52 AM
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    I got so much done during my social media free month. And it’s honestly nice to avoid all the media coverage of an event like the tariffs. I found that I was overall less anxious and in a better mood.

    Kudos to your wife for those beautiful lunches. I need lessons. I throw some crackers, fruit, and cheese stick in and call it success.

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  • May 22, 2019 at 6:01 AM
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    Nicely done and congrats on surviving. Internet-free time is amazingly productive time, and the funny thing is, no matter how long you’ve been gone, it takes about 2 minutes (if that) to catch up on everything you’ve missed.

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  • May 22, 2019 at 8:25 AM
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    Kudos to you Mr. Tako. That’s pretty amazing you managed to stay off the internet for the entire week.

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  • May 22, 2019 at 8:26 AM
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    Congratulations Mr. Tako! Now about those obento boxes-MB (miracle baby) is in Montessori for another year and has great catered lunches (nice for us not to pack lunches) but I am terrified of what will happen when I must (gasp) pack her lunch. I already checked and the catering company does not go to her school (Real Food for Real Kids-they do a great job). Perhaps Mrs. Tako would share some photos and tips? MB mostly drinks A LOT of milk and will eat yoghurt and perhaps some fruit and a cheese stick at home, maybe some chili, but not nearly as nice an eater as what she is willing to eat with her peers ; )

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  • May 22, 2019 at 1:10 PM
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    Glad you survived! 🙂 Solo parenting is TOUGH. We are pretty good at being grateful for all the great things that we each do for each other (my list is long and I know his is too) so we’re very aware it would be REALLY tough if we had to go it alone. We occasionally trade jobs to give each other a break, too.

    JB has another year of catered lunches at daycare, too. They have a CHEF so their meals are healthy and delicious (I think) and have great variety. I need to spend this year making a list of good lunch ideas for when I have to start packing lunch for school because those public school lunches are dismal.

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  • May 22, 2019 at 1:36 PM
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    When my wife was out of town it was way better keeping a baby or just dogs, because they can’t talk and tell mom that “He dropped me!” Or “Daddy said a bad word when he burned his hand on the flaming cheese toast pan!” Hey, you did great!

    Now as an empty nester and early retired couple when my wife goes on a girls only trip European River Cruise next week leaving me home alone for ten days its a totally different experience. Basically I can live like a college student for nine days and frantically try to restore the house and yard to a semblance of normalcy right before she gets home! My best buddy did tell me to at least pretend to be sad when she drives away, he says if I can manage a fake tear drop, that I should.

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  • May 22, 2019 at 4:08 PM
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    Can’t say I know what it is like to be a parent, especially a single one. But I can say love the Bento Boxes! Your children eat better than I do.

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    • May 24, 2019 at 1:50 AM
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      Haha! Well, my bento’s are kinda sucky compared to the missus’ bentos. I should take pictures of them sometime.

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  • May 22, 2019 at 4:55 PM
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    Glad you’re feeling better – I can only imagine the fun of running a household by yourself when sick. My mom was a single parent of both my brother and I since I was around 7 and my brother was 5 until we were teenagers. I didn’t appreciate just how big of a deal that was at the time, but I think it’s incredible that any single parent can pull that off.

    Welcome back! Looks like you rocked it!

    — Jim

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    • May 24, 2019 at 1:50 AM
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      Oh wow, I learned something new about you here. Had no idea your mom was a single parent. Kudos to her for raising some good kids.

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  • May 22, 2019 at 6:55 PM
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    Congrats on surviving a week. It really does make you appreciate what your spouse does when you have to assume those tasks.

    I went without internet on our recent Disney cruise and survived. It really wasn’t that bad once you break the habit of constantly trying to check your phone for updates.

    Glad to have you back blogging

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  • May 22, 2019 at 7:20 PM
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    Hahaha!
    I’ve been the sole parent to 4 boys for the last 22 years!
    (And yes… when you’re sick it’s hard. But kids grow up and it gets easier as time goes on.)
    Now? They cook ME dinner!

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    • May 24, 2019 at 1:48 AM
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      Wow, that’ll be the day! Can’t wait for that to happen! 🙂

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  • May 23, 2019 at 6:03 AM
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    I agree with you on the weedblock and gravel. I did that to a troublesome section I had around a tree and pergola in my yard. It looked a little bare so I added a large colorful pot with a plant in it. It doesn’t seem to get the weeds like a plant on the ground gets, but adds a bit of visual interest. Congratulations on surviving the week.

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    • May 24, 2019 at 1:48 AM
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      Yeah, we’ll consider putting in some pots and things later. For now, I just want to get it cleaned up!

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  • May 23, 2019 at 9:00 PM
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    I’m honestly inspired Mr. Tako! Great post! I love your enthusiasm and general positive outlook on life. You seem to be knocking it out of the park on all fronts, parenting, husbanding, blogging, cooking, home maintenance.

    I think I need to try the no internet thing at least for a couple of days. It really can suck you in since there’s just so much out there online.

    Thank you for being a role model for us all online and at home! Look forward to future posts.

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  • May 24, 2019 at 3:32 PM
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    I’m always impressed with those that are sole parenting. Not to long ago my wife had to manage a newborn and a 3-yr old while I was in the hospital, it wasn’t an easy job. Big kudos to those have manage it day in day out.
    Also really like the idea of trying out no-internet. I’m terrible at it. Even on vacation I’m checking my phone for both personal and work. On my latest 5 week medical leave (bowel resection) I kept checking my work phone and responding to work emails. I’m going to try the odd day of no-internet.

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  • May 25, 2019 at 10:45 AM
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    Sorry to hear that you were sick but glad to hear that you survived! Hooray!

    I found this piece of advice very interesting “In my experience, couples tend to fall into a pattern of doing their individual tasks without adequate consideration for what the other is doing.” It kind of reminded me of the show “wife swap”. I know, know, such a creepy title, but it was interesting in that they brought in another spouse to make the family appreciate how much that parent does for the whole family. It’s easy to forget all the work the other person is doing when you’re not in their shoes. That’s good to know to keep the peace in my marriage.

    Welcome back! Hopefully the internet doesn’t hijack your productivity again! One of these days, I need to go offline like you did and reap the benefits of avoiding the news!

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  • June 5, 2019 at 8:07 AM
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    Well done! This is something I’m afraid of despite being a stay at home dad b/c my boy is so attached to his mom. He can go for up to two hours without her now with me… but if no mommy.. then wahh!

    Let me know if this is common and when boys get out of this stage. I’m guessing every little one is different.

    Sam

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    • June 5, 2019 at 8:41 AM
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      I think its pretty common. It definitely took awhile before my boys were comfortable being away from mom for longer than a day. To a certain extent, mom was something of a safety net and they needed to learn that I could also fill that role.

      For my boys, we just kept stretching the time away from Mom a little bit longer all the time. Eventually they could stay overnight at Grandma’s and were fine. My oldest was probably 3 or 4 at the time.

      Reply

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