Courtesy of Ashley Charter
Ashley Charter is getting used to taking care of her son, Abel, while she's taking classes and her husband, Jesse, is in Iraq.
Ashley Charter is getting used to taking care of her son, Abel, while she's taking classes and her husband, Jesse, is in Iraq. Courtesy of Ashley Charter
Jesse has been back in Iraq for more than a week now, so I've been getting used to handling everything myself.
I don't really like to think of myself as a single parent because I do have the financial and emotional support from my husband that single mothers often do not have. But it definitely is a lot like it. I have to let Abel cry at times. I don't have someone else here to comfort him while I make a bottle, or to change his diaper when I'm in the shower. There just is physically no way that I can comfort him every time that he wakes up. I don't really have much to compare this to, though, so I don't really feel like I have it harder than most.
Jesse was wonderful with helping out when he was home. Many of the nights during his R&R, he would be up at Abel's first squeak and have him fed and changed in no time. But that was only two weeks, so I didn't have time to get used to the help, really. He is an absolutely wonderful father. I just hate that he is not here to see and experience everything himself.
Ashley Charter, 21, is a college student who lives in Lillington, N.C. Her husband, Jesse, is in the Army and is currently deployed to Iraq. They welcomed Abel Weston Charter on July 23.
Classes have started again, so Abel and I are settling into our new routine. Abel wakes up around 8 a.m. for his morning feeding. He, of course, falls back to sleep in about 20 minutes, so while he sleeps, I get ready for class. My mother babysits while I am at class, so she gets to our house around 9 a.m. I am in class from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day, and my mother leaves when I get home.
Abel sleeps for about three hours during that time. So he wakes up around 6:30 p.m. to eat again, he stays up for a few minutes, and then back to sleep he goes. I make dinner for myself, and then he gets a bath and I put him down in his bassinet at about 8 p.m. During all of his naps I clean, read, study and talk to Jesse on Yahoo! IM. The Internet over there is not that fast, and there are so many people logging on at the same time that it slows it down a lot more, so Skype does not usually work. We do use the webcam though, so he gets to see Abel, but we don't get to use the voice feature.
Around 10 p.m., Abel is up again to eat, and after that feeding I go to bed. He is up again at 12 a.m., 2 a.m., 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. So finding time to do, well, really anything else is a bit difficult now, but I absolutely love staying busy with my little man. Between him, the dogs, school and housework, the next 10 months are sure to fly by — and Jesse will be home before we know it.