A few weeks ago, I took Annalyn to her first night of Awana (a children’s program at church). After I bought her vest and found her classroom, I walked back to my car. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the next hour and a half, so I sat in the car for a few minutes.

As I sat there, not like a weird parking lot stalker at all, I noticed a friend of mine and his wife pull into a space across the lot. Before I could choose between a quiet, solitary visit to the library and a leisurely stroll down the aisles of Target, they left the church and walked back to their car.

A wave of envy washed over me in that moment. I just knew they were off to a romantic dinner or a quiet chat at the bookstore. Meanwhile, my husband was at work and I was alone. Again.

I know. I am a big weirdo for watching my friends in the parking lot. I promise I’m not normally a stalker. (And on a side note, I have figured out quite well how to use my free time on Wednesday nights!) But that night, being a married single parent was wearing on my heart.

Mark isn’t an absentee dad or neglectful husband. On the contrary, he’s awesome! He just happens to work nights.

Sometimes it’s not a big deal. Sometimes I even appreciate the “perks” of my quasi-single life: full control of the remote for one and a bed to myself for two.

But other times it is exhausting to be responsible for every meal, bath, potty break, accident clean-up, illness, tantrum, school drop-off and playdate without a break. It’s hard to turn down yet another girls night out because I don’t have anyone to leave my child with while I spend an hour or two relaxing with friends. And spending my days, evenings and nights without my husband just gets old. And lonely.

I try not to complain. (I’m not successful, but I try, okay?) I am aware that single moms never get a reprieve, and military wives (or other wives whose husbands travel) live without their husbands for months at a time. And Mark wants to spend time with us and does whenever he can. That’s a blessing, and I don’t take it lightly. It’s just that . . . sometimes this arrangement gets me down.

That’s why I was excited to learn that someone has written a book about married single moms. Carla Anne Coroy is a mother of four who has spent many of her parenting years doing it alone, and she’s written Married Mom, Solo Parent.

Bookstore shelves are full of parenting resources for moms who are newly divorced or widowed. But where do moms turn if they feel like a single parent–but they’re not? Whether he is away on business, deployed in the military, or obsessing over a computer game, dad may not be available for a variety of reasons. Moms who parent in this situation still need help and don’t necessarily relate to the advice given in divorce recovery or single parenting resources.

Married Mom, Solo Parent is a common-sense, down-to-earth look at the struggles wives and mothers face when their husband is not actively involved in family life. Writing from her own experience as a married single mom, Carla Anne Coroy will help wives and mothers sort through their questions, such as: Can I do this alone? How do I raise kids to honor their father? How do I give my children a healthy perspective of marriage if they never see one in action? With practical suggestions, anecdotes, and biblical teaching, this book will encourage moms to see their position as a high calling, to find healing for their worries and frustrations, and to tap into God’s strength for help in facing the daily challenge of being a married mom, solo parent.

Carla runs the Married Single Mom blog. She speaks regularly and serves as a staff writer for an online Christian women’s magazine Mentoring Moments for Christian Women.

Married Mom, Solo Parent covers pretty much every issue a married single mom might face in her marriage and parenting, including the gamut of emotions you might not think anyone else understands. Carla talks about the exhaustion and loneliness, but she also addresses anger, disappointment, boredom, self-pity and shame. She encourages taking time for yourself – no matter what it takes to make that happen! – and finding a community to be a part of, and she offers practical advice for home organization and making family mealtime a priority. She also talks, very frankly, about the temptations that arise when your husband simply isn’t around – and urges wives to lean on God, remain faithful and pursue their husbands.

For me, this book was good reminder that I’m not alone – and that my situation is not that bad. Carla writes much of the book to women whose husbands are absent by choice, not necessity – or absent to a much larger extent than mine is. She does include interviews from women in various married single parent situations, giving a wider perspective and personable examples of leaning on God to face the challenge of parenting alone.

If you are a married single mom, Married Mom, Solo Parent is a great resource and encouragement. (And if you’d like to read her book on a new Kindle, don’t miss Carla’s live MomChat party on Facebook, where she’ll talk about all things mom- and wife-related – and give away a KindleTouch!)

Disclosure: Litfuse Publicity provided me a copy of Married Mom, Solo Parent. As always, opinions are all my own.

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