How A Pancake Breakfast With My 13 Month Old Reminded Me That Single Parenting Ain’t Easy

One of my favorite things in the world to do is take our son on “daddy dates.” Daddy dates are pretty much just what they sound like; a dad, taking his child, on a date! Basically, Noah and I just go out and have some somewhere. Just the two of us.

It doesn’t really matter what we do, just that we do something. It’s the who that’s important, not the what:-)

We’ve had all kinds of fun daddy dates. We’ve hung out at Central Market (where we enjoyed some yummy free samples), a comic book store, the Apple store, lunch with a (multiple) Emmy winner friend of mine, heck sometimes we just have an at-home daddy date where we just hang out at home and do something fun and creative!

Like I said, it’s not what you do, but who you do it with!

What’s on the menu for today’s Daddy Date? Pancakes!

Today I decided to take Noah to breakfast for a daddy date. If you’ve been following our blog the last few weeks, you may have noticed that Noah’s been on a developmental growth spurt lately.

Our little guy has always been a very curious little boy, however his (lack of) strength has sort of kept that curiosity contained. Not so much anymore. His strength is quickly catching up with his curiosity! In fact his milestone spurt has happened so fast that I felt like I had an all new Noah on my hands today at breakfast this morning!

father and son breakfast ihop pancakes single parent parenting

Don’t let his innocent little face fool ya….. :-)

Parenting Ain’t Easy, But Somebody’s Gotta Do it!

I’m not 100% sure when the last time Noah and I went out to eat by ourselves. I’m fairly certain it’s been at least a  few weeks, and I seriously don’t remember him being this all over the place. Instead of sitting in his high chair just waiting patiently for for some yum yum in his tum tum, he wanted to jump out of his seat and grab his own food. I seriously had a hard time trying to feed the two of this this morning. Every time I moved my hand for 2 seconds to put some food in either my mouth (or his) Noah would try to come out of his seat, stand up on the seat, try to grab the syrup bottle, the utilities, the plates, my coffee cup, or whatever else he could try get this hands on.

I felt sort of like I was playing that whack-a-mole game. Not in the sense that I was whacking him with a big rubber mallet, but in the sense that just as fast I’d get one things under control, something else would pop up. Every time I’d get one of his hands under control, his other one would pop up out of no where. Then I’d get that one under control and then a foot would pop up out of no where. Then a hand again, than another hand. Then another foot. Then another hand. and another, and another, and another…. Wait, how did this kid get 17 hands!?!?!

I don’t want to make it sound like we had had a bad time, because we didn’t. Not by a long shot. He was just being a cute, curious toddler, that’s all. In fact, I really like how curious and fun he is. He’s truly is his fathers son. :)

5 Quick Thoughts On Single Parenting…

As I was staying busy keeping Noah busy I couldn’t help but think about how nice it would be if my wife was there to give me a hand with our son. Then I started thinking about what it would be like if every meal, every time Noah went out to eat, was just like this one?  I thought about what it would be like to be a single parent.

I was at breakfast alone with my son this morning by choice, but there are a lot of  mommy’s and daddy’s who do this every day, and it’s not by choice. (most of the time.) As we ate our pancakes, I thought about the single parent friends that we currently have, and I left with a whole new respect for the single moms and dads that are doing this day in, and day out.

Here’s a few thoughts I had this morning:

1. Being a single parent is really hard.

2. Each of us should go out of our way to help and support the single parents in our lives.

3. You have to be incredibly strategic in order to feed yourself, and your child, without a) spillinganything a ton of stuff on the floor, your clothes, or maybe even the people sitting next to you; b) having your child reach onto the table and grab anything in arms reach; c) having your child crawl / jump / dive bomb out of their high chair; and d) having your food get cold (in fact I think this last one might be an impossibility.)

4. If you’re in a restaurant and you see a single parent walk in with a baby in one hand, and diaper bag in the other, offer to help them out with their high chair. Especially if it’s during a busy time, and the wait staff forget to set it up for them. (On a side note why do 9 out 10 restaurants have a broken high chair clasp? Isn’t that against some sort of child-saftey-law or something? I recently went out to dinner, somewhere else, and the waiter had to bring me 4, yes 4, high chairs before brining me one with a clasp that actually buckled. Come on restaurants. You can do better than that.)

5. This one’s pretty random, and is more an observation, but it’s hard to drink coffee out of a coffee mug with no lid, much less try to put cream and sugar in it, when there’s a baby near by wanting to grab it. I think restaurants should notice if someone is there alone with a child, and ask if they could put cream and sugar in the coffee for them. (It’s not about being high maintenance, it’s about being efficient) :)

single parents work hard and deserve a nap

I think all single parents deserve TWO naps a day. :)

If you are a single parent out there my hat goes off to you. I know there are a lot of you who read this blog, and I just want you to know that what you do is important. I can’t even begin to imagine how much work goes into being a single parent. But please know you are appreciated. And all of your hard work will pay off in spades as your child grows up. So stay at it, and know that you aren’t alone. If we can ever be of any help, or even just pray for you, feel free to use that contact button at the top of this page and send us a note.

For the single (or seasoned) parents out there; what sorts of tips / tricks / advice do you have to make going out to eat with your curious toddler a little less, ummm, adventurous. :-) Leave a comment below and tell us about it!

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About Rick Smith

Hi, I'm Noah's Dad and I'm passionate about giving the world a window into our life as we raise our son who was born with Down syndrome. I also enjoy connecting with other families, so let's stay connected.

Comments

  1. Charlotte McQuaid says

    I’m crying as I’m reading your article on single parenting. I’m a single parent to a 16month old, living 150 miles away from any family. It is an impossible job. I have no idea how I’ve got this far. Every task is a challenge, from showering to shopping, to lighting the fire and unpacking bags, cooking dinner, loading the dishwasher, hovering, etc!
    Lots of people are completely ignorant of the difficulties. If only people knew. Thankfully I have some friends who are really great.
    Thank you so much for your article.

  2. Patrick Connolly says

    I really enjoyed your blog.I’m a single parent,not by choice though & do try to give my son the best & we do lots of things together but I agree, sometimes the simplest of things can become the hardest tasks. The trick is to stick at it & it will become so much easier & only enhance your relationship with your child

  3. As a single working mom of a daughter with DS and various associated medical conditions, located 3-days drive from any family, I personally find it hard not to be defensive about the time others get to spend with my girl. In my case, she has nurses who are with her while I go to work, and when I’m home I feel so tired and busy with ‘chores’ and ‘being responsible’ with meds, and feedings, and ‘doing the right thing’ that I feel she likes her nurse ‘mothers’ better because all they do is play all day.
    I also struggle with the concept of losing “myself” into the mommying and nursing roles, which I think is ultimately a disadvantage for both of us because I think she’d learn so much just by seeing me live my own passions/peace. So, I continue one day at a time, just trying to focus on enjoying what we’ve got for what it is, instead of what it isn’t.
    I DO try to make our time doing the mundane chores into quality time. For example, we take about 30 minutes to sort the laundry, just so we can play in it, load and unload the baskets, ride around in them, hide under the dirty sheets, etc. And, we take nice long trips to the store for groceries and diapers, being sure to stop and shake bags and make faces in mirrors, and name all the colors or shapes or numbers; we race up and down the isles, and she gets to throw everything we’re getting into the cart.
    As to your question, I don’t even try to eat out (! eek !).

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