Daily schedule for toddlers
Flickr photo by Daquella Manera
I know that you don't have to be a sometimes single parent to live or die by the schedule. But the biggest challenge we face is trying to carve one out when there's oftentimes nothing to depend on.

In many households, there is a fair level of predictability. If it's a single income household, then the working parent usually gets home at the same time every day. Or has some sort of schedule that can be followed.

For dual working households, the same rule generally applies.

But when you've got a spouse who travels inconsistently, or who is working out of town and is at the liberty of planes being able to fly at the time they are scheduled to do so, creating a schedule can be a maddening process.

I will say that when my husband flies commercial trips, it's actually a bit easier. He'll give me his schedule about two weeks before it starts and I can see when he's on-call (and could possibly be home or could possibly be gone) and when he's off.

But with his new job, it seems as though all bets are off. And creating a schedule is like a really challenging brain-teaser. Except without the answer page to peek at.

He currently works Monday through Friday about two hours away, and is attempting to come home on Tuesday and Thursday nights because he can arrive a little later to work on Wednesday and Friday.

But there are days when the planes break down and he takes off late, so him coming home at 10 p.m. to just leave the next morning at 5 a.m. doesn't make sense. But then there are also days when the planes break down and he doesn't fly at all, which means he could come home even if he wasn't planning on it.

However, broken planes means he'll be working on Saturdays.

This also means that I will be losing it on the phone with him every other day.

I guess the benefit to all this is that the kids aren't really fazed. They're used to him being away and returning on a fairly haphazard basis so that when he does come home, they're just happy to see him.

But for me, it's become a bit more challenging. I get disappointed when I expect him to come home and he can't. And it's great when he can come home on a day when I don't expect him, but it throws everything for a loop. I scramble to make an actual meal for all of us instead of just grabbing a hodge-podge of leftovers. And then my body actually gets more tired from getting that short window to relax and hand the reins over to someone else and I find myself drinking extra coffee the next day just to stay awake.

I'm slowly learning that I need to set my own schedule and do my own thing, and not let the expectations of him coming home interfere with my plans. It's not because I don't care or that I don't want to include him. But there's only so much change my brain and sanity can take. And since I'm caring for three kids all by myself, I just don't have that much brain power and sanity to spare.

So sometimes single moms, what's your schedule and is it working for you?