• 15 +SHARE

    Given my husband's low seniority level at his commercial pilot job, it's pretty much an understanding that he will be working most, if not all, holidays. It seems odd to me that people would sign up to work those days and then just drop them a few days before. Why not just bid to have them off in the first place? This way, we're not always getting stuck celebrating holidays on alternate days.But alas, they bid their schedule and then drop and we get the shaft. At least now it's a consistent pattern, though there's always part of me that hopes he'll be home for an actual holiday. And who knows. Considering there was a scheduling SNAFU on Halloween that made him home when he thought he would be missing the whole thing, perhaps our luck is changing.Or on the flip side - maybe we used it all up on October 31!

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  • Military Families Deserve Special Treatment

    posted by Kristen Chase November 17, 2010 at 7:45 AM in In The News
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    For all the amazing companies, businesses, and organizations that support military families, there are plenty similar entities, people even, who do not. And sadly, I'm not surprised.Take, for example, Penelope Trunk's recent post entitled "Veteran's Day Should Be Cancelled" -- a post I unfortunately learned about from fellow mom blogger and The Stir blogger Julie Marsh, herself a former Air Force Officer who wrote a spot-on rebuttal.I won't detail Trunk's ridiculous arguments for why she thinks the recent holiday should be canceled, but suffice it to say that she's speaking out of her ass. Because until you've seen first hand how military service affects the personnel themselves and their families, you just have no idea.

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  • Surviving Postpartum Everything

    posted by Kristen Chase November 10, 2010 at 8:12 AM in Baby
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    I suppose it's obvious that the kids would be affected by having a traveling parent. As long as my kids can probably remember, my husband has been gone more than he's been home.When he first started traveling, my oldest daughter (then an only child) struggled with his departures. But it made sense since she was the only one who ever knew him when he had a "regular" job, if you can call 12- to 15-hour days, sometimes weekend trips, regular.But she, like my others, grew accustomed to the routine, so much so that I found myself explaining why he'd be coming home at night on days when he had Guard duty. "Going to work" meant that he'd be gone for a few days, sometimes more, so for them, his leaving and returning on the same day would throw them for a loop.

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  • 9 +SHARE

    Since adding our fourth child to our family a couple of weeks ago (you did hear about my unintentional home birth, right?), life has become scarily more complicated. I'd like to smack the person who has perpetuated the myth of how easy it is to add another kid once you get past three.I forcefully disagree.I realize I'm riding high, or low, really, on a pretty strong hormonal cocktail, but managing four kids under 6 is kicking my ass. Even with my husband home for the last few weeks, my mom visiting from out of town, and my babysitter back on her regular schedule, I'm struggling.It used to be that I could grab the baby, snuggle up in my bed with a Real Housewives marathon, and escape while my husband managed the other two children. Or lock myself in an office in front of a computer and work.But it's a little more difficult to do that when he's dealing with three kids alone.

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  • Daddy's Away! Best Tech for Keeping Tots in Touch

    posted by Kristen Chase October 27, 2010 at 10:55 AM in Toddler
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    Depending how often your spouse travels and how far and long he's away, keeping in touch can be quite a challenge. When my husband is on his regular rotation as a commercial pilot, we generally keep in touch with texts and short phone calls.

    This gets a bit hairier when he's overseas, but thanks to international calling and hotel computers, he can usually send out a message to say "hello" and check in to see how I'm doing.  For longer trips, like his deployment last year to Afghanistan, we often used Google Mail IM, which, depending on how handed your spouse is with typing (mine is notably terrible), can be fantastic or frustrating.

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  • The Sometimes Single Homeschooling Mom

    posted by Kristen Chase October 20, 2010 at 10:03 AM in Big Kid
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    This year we made the big decision to homeschool our oldest daughter. We weren't completely unsatisfied with the private Catholic school she attended for Pre-K and K, and thankfully, she didn't have any issues or problems.  However, there were enough things about the school that bothered us, and after researching our other options, and figuring out what was best for our family, we landed on homeschooling.   Like anything else, the sometimes single mom schedule makes everything quite a challenge, particularly when school can often be a respite. Aside from the obvious educational and social values of school, let's be honest here, many parents appreciate the time away from their kids and the subsequent break they get, whether they're stay-at-home parents or working parents who would otherwise be paying for childcare.  And when you're parenting solo, that time alone is extra precious. 

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  • The Honey-Do List

    posted by Kristen Chase October 13, 2010 at 8:03 AM in Home & Garden
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    Since my husband travels a lot, I'm used to doing more man projects around the house than I'd like. I'm not trying to be sexist; I realize that they can just as easily be woman projects. And considering that my husband is gone more than he is home, they do become that way.  But the labor division in our house is such that he's responsible for the stuff that involves tools -- hanging pictures, putting together furniture, that sort of thing.  This also means, however, that it takes forever for any of this to get done.

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  • Who You Gonna Call?

    posted by Kristen Chase October 6, 2010 at 8:00 AM in Pregnancy
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    We've always lived far away from relatives and close friends, and sometimes, particularly if you've got one heckuva challenging mother-in-law, it's not such a bad thing.

    But if you've got a cool set of parents or some great friends who just so happen to have kids your age, it really sucks.

    I'm quite envious of all my friends and even some family that have loved ones close by, mostly because they're often afforded free respite and much needed breaks, sometimes even overnight ones (sounds heavenly!), that we've never had the good fortune to enjoy. But when I'm due with a baby, my fourth one here in a couple of weeks, I really wish we had family and closer friends nearby.

    I realize that this isn't particular to just sometimes single moms, but to any mom who lives far away from her friends and relatives. It's quite commonplace now, regardless of whether your husband travels or not, so this is something that I know many of us can relate to.

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  • 14 +SHARE

    My husband has been working as a commercial pilot through my last two pregnancies. Thankfully, I've never been on bedrest or had any sort of high risk issues. I can only imagine the havoc that would wreak for a family with a schedule similar to ours.

    Other than moving a little slower and being much more tired than I usually am, I'm fortunate that being pregnant doesn't really change our daily routine. But it definitely creates some major issues as we prepare for the actual labor and delivery.

    Even though my husband doesn't choose specific trips yet, he is still able to bid for certain days off. But unless you're a really good psychic, it's pretty hard to predict exactly when I'll be going into labor.

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  • Sleep Is for the Weak

    posted by Kristen Chase September 22, 2010 at 11:40 AM in Baby
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    Sleep issues are a strain on any household, not just that of a sometimes single mom. Whether it's teething, a development-related sleep regression, or something completely unexplainable by anything but just a bad sleeper, dealing with kids that aren't sleeping can be one whopping pain the butt.

    But when you're dealing with them mostly alone, it really adds in a whole set of complicating factors.

    For the last few weeks, my youngest daughter Margot, by far my best sleeper out of all my kids, hit the dreaded 18- to 22-month sleep regression, along with a big whopping bout of separation anxiety. On one hand, it's exciting to hear so many words flowing out of her, especially since she's been pretty silent for a very long time. And I know that I will, at some point, miss her crying for me and only me almost every second of the day when I'm home.

    But I haven't seen my own bed or a full night's sleep in over a month now.

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About This Column
Kristen Chase

Kristen Chase is The Stir's "Sometimes Single Mom." More often than not, she can be found parenting her three small children alone while her husband, a commercial pilot and National Guardsman, travels for work. Kristen writes about the challenges of this lifestyle and how she (just barely) manages to maintain her sanity.

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