My husband travels quite a fair amount for business. Ok, we are mostly lucky in that he works pretty decent hours when he is in town and very seldom gets home after 6. Most nights he is able to bath the boys and help with the bed-time routine in some way or form, even if it’s only to assist in the frantic dummy search just before Brody begins to show signs of hysteria.
But I’ve had to make it through some long stints as a â€˜single’ mom (seriously you REAL single mommies out there need like an award or something) and I’ve learnt how to shake myself into survival mode the second we wave daddy off in his taxi.
Here’s what I’ve learnt you need to do:
- Keep busy, but not so busy that you end up regretting it. Plan some play dates for after school and the odd aquarium/lunch outing. It REALLY doesn’t help sitting at home moping and allowing them to go nuts. You will lose your shit faster than its takes MacGyver to unpick a lock. (Or push the key onto paper underneath the door, however you remember it)
- Make meals that can stretch out over two. Also plan meals that don’t take too much prep time, like this meal by our featured chef Nellie Elston. This as left over’s with some extra fresh veg or chopped salad would be amazing. Have one or two nights off where you take them for pizza (like we did last night) or order a take away. Also do yourself a favor and invest in a slow cooker for winter.
- Don’t count down the days if you can help it. This can prove to be slightly impossible with small children who pipe up every 3 hours How many more sleeps? I don’t know why but I think I’m like an ostrich and prefer to put my head in the sand than accept the 10 days looming ahead of me. Take everyday as it comes, knowing you are getting a little closer to reuniting.
- Get extra sleep if you can. Being tired and dealing with the kids on your own can add extra stress to your days. My kids go through restless stages of sleep and as Murphy would have it, it’s usually when hubby is away, leaving me exhausted after a rough night. Go to sleep just after they do instead of watching mindless crap on tv. (If watching mindless crap on tv is the best way for you to unwind, please ignore me)
- Pick your battles. Like with most things when it comes to discipline, picking battles that REALLY need to be addressed is vital to surviving. Knit picking every little thing they do wrong will lead to a full-blown panic attack. Of course this doesn’t mean letting the big issues slide but for the love of sanity let the small things go. Sometimes it may be a good idea to incorporate a good behavior chart during the week dads gone. Something like Helping mom while dads away with a promise of a big surprise on a dads return for good behavior.
- Call in the troops. That is, the other moms in the same boat as you who understand what its like. For me that person is my sister-in-law with a husband who travels more often than mine (or more than Phileas Fogg for that matter) We stand united during their absence and join forces. We have long lengthy play dates that land up over meals at spur or bath time at home. Occasionally she will pack their bags and movie in with us for a night or two. This is amazing because once the kids are asleep we get to actually be adults. Or at the very least, watch a movie that doesn’t involve pigs snorting or high-pitched signing voices.
- Try stick to your ordinary routine. Its funny I’m actually extra strict with our routine when dad is away. It’s the organized freak in me, needing to control the situation. It’s called survival and its important. Most nights I make sure they are in bed a little earlier to give them time to wind down. And give myself time to enjoy a stiff drink, of course.
- Plan something to look forward to. It may not be an overseas trip or huge shopping spree but plan something for when the old guy gets back like a night out with the girls or a morning to go have your nails done/watch a movie. When the kids start to chip away at your sanity at least you will have that one thing to daydream about.
I’m a little over half way through this trip and right now my kids are flinging themselves off my bed like superheroes (See me picking my battles) I have my sister-in-law and nieces coming for a sleep over (Calling in the troops), I have planned a delicious and easy slow cooker for dinner which if my sister-in-law and I don’t finish, we will be eating again tomorrow (*smug smile) and I’m about to do some research for my first overseas holiday in 4 years! With no kids! I sure have lots to daydream about and a helluva lot to look forward to.
let me quickly go rescue my couch from the peanut butter sandwich that is being smeared into it. Il carry on daydreaming later.
The mom diaries x