For those of us who stay home with young children all day while our spouse goes to work:
How things change-- emotionally, physically, mentally-- when said spouse will NOT be arriving home that evening, or-- GASP-- for several days.
My husband travels a fair amount for work. Not as much as some, fortunately, but certainly enough to make my heart thump faster and harder whenever a trip comes up.
I enjoy helping other moms survive the trenches of new Motherhood, so I've compiled a list of ideas to help you retain your remaining shreds of your sanity when your beloved travels:
1. Plan, plan, plan. Even though I like alone time more than just about anything, when my husband is out of town, the days just feel so. much. lonelier. And so incredibly long. Arranging time with other SAHM's becomes essential. My loyal readers know I'm not a huge fan of playdates (mainly because my Highly Sensitive son wants all visitors to leave as soon as they arrive), but a playdate with a loyal, understanding friend will help you feel less alone even if your kids have a hard time.
2. Enlist Babysitters. For those of us without our mothers and sisters nearby, we must look to the outside world for help. There is nothing wrong with finding a nice babysitter who can play with your kids for a couple of hours so that you can browse the aisles of Trader Joe's solo and get a cup of coffee. [Related note: if you find yourself judging moms who need to use babysitters, please stop. It is hurtful and clueless and makes me want to tear my hair out]. Anyway, after your kids have some sitter time, you will come back to the house feeling less frazzled and hopefully ready to take on the rest of the day/night that lies ahead.
"Mom? Mom! Mom?!! Entertain us!"
3. Embrace the television. Yes, I feel guilty when my kids watch too much t.v., but I never judge other moms for putting on the t.v.-- why am I so hard on myself? If you have to add in a couple extra episodes of Dora so that you can clean up the kitchen, make dinner, call your sister, or whatever, then do it. I need to take my own advice, because again, after having a mini break, we are better able to tackle the entertaining/feeding/bathing/nighttime routine solo that is soon to follow.
4. Create a toy stash. You know how things feel a little easier around the house post-birthday and Christmas? That's because your kids have new toys to fiddle with. Have a stash of new things in a hidden closet or cabinet. Then choose a few to bring out when their father is out of town (this eliminates the need to drag the kids to Target [and further exhaust yourself]). The excitement and fun of a new toy, Play-Doh, puzzle, or book can often buy you some independent play time! (Again, let's try not to feel guilty about this. We aren't spoiling them-- we are surviving!).
5. Believe in the power of the Happy Meal. They make everyone in the family happy (at least for 10 minutes). Once in a while, don't we all deserve to push the easy button for mealtime?
6. Last, but certainly not least, rely on early bedtimes. I won't even admit to how early my kids have gone to bed when my husband is gone; those times when I just cannot take onemoresecondofmommyhood. You know what I've found? They are fine with it (clueless, in fact), and they usually don't wake up any earlier (which is plenty early already) than they typically do. Sound effect: cracking open a bottle of beer.
What other tips do you have for getting through the challenges of going solo?
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