I can name at least 5 friends whose husbands travel for business. Some of these women work outside of the home and some stay at home. My husband occasionally travels too, so I know how hard it is to hold down the fort when you are alone with the kids.
Have you ever had to be alone for more than 24 hours with your children? How did it go?
There was a time when I dreaded the Hubs leaving, but over time I have developed a routine for those weeks that he is away.
Being a single parent for the week does not have to drive you crazy. You just need to follow a few ground rules.
5 simple rules to improve
your week alone with your children
When the Hubs is scheduled to fly out on Sunday I always plan to take him to the airport early so that we are home in time for dinner. By doing this I maintain our normal Sunday night routine and my son knows what to expect.
Make sure your grocery shopping and errands are done for the week so you do not need to run out in the middle of the week for supplies. Admittedly, you could just eat out for the week but that could get expensive and it’s not very healthy.
When you are alone with your children, doing homework and getting dinner on the table is a much bigger production than when both parents are present. You need to manage tired, hungry kids on your own and it’s not fun.
Even if you children are not in school yet, chances are by the end of the day you do not want to cook. So do yourself a favor and Plan Your Meals Ahead.
maintain your routines
If you usually wake up at 6 a.m. then continue to do that while you are on your own. It’s really tempting to let the kids sleep in your bed or to just let everyone (including yourself) sleep in. Every time I have given in to these temptations I have lived to regret it.
Every morning I get dressed early and take a few minutes for myself to answer emails and drink some coffee in peace. When the Hubs is away I do the exact same thing. My mood is better so if someone wakes up in a puddle or feeling grouchy I am better able to handle it.
The other major benefit to maintaining your usual routine is that if you do have to get to work and school you are more likely to be on time. Nothing like pulling into the parking lot, tires screeching, and running into the office late.
Set your alarm and go about your day the same way you would with your husband at home.
keep in touch
We like to use FaceTime or Skype to talk to dad in the evenings when he is away. It’s nice because my son enjoys seeing his hotel room and my husband likes to ask him questions about his day.
Sometimes we show him school projects or report any errrr…impulsive actions or words we may have used at school. Dad has a way to discussing this stuff that seems to be important even when he is far away.
I usually text with my husband a couple times per day just to keep him updated on what is going on at home. E also enjoys taking funny pictures on Snapchat and sending them directly to Dad.
It’s the little things that make all the difference. Make sure the kids have plenty of opportunity to see Dad and hear his voice while he is away.
keep your cool
I’m not gonna lie, bath time is a rough time of day for me, especially when I have to do it alone. It’s not unusual for me to have a mommy meltdown after a long day at the office and then a long evening at home.
If you get through baths and books without losing your sh-t, give yourself a pat on the back. Sometimes I count backward in my head and it works. Other times I need to walk away for a moment. Do whatever you need to do to hold it together.
The great part is that after the kids are in bed and you complete your Evening Routine, you can treat yourself to a glass of wine and a book. Or you can just go to bed. Either choice is equally rewarding.
Self-care is important. Figure out what kind of activities will relax you and then take advantage of the quiet moments.
Usually I like to plan a least 1 (or 2 or 3) playdates while the Hubs is away. Now when I say playdate I mean a couple moms, a couple kids, and some wine and food. You must find a mom friend that understands the need for wine when you are spending a week alone with your kids.
The little dude and I recently had dinner and a play date with friends. My kid refused to eat the lovely salad my friend had prepared. This was sort of embarrassing, particularly because her son who is the same age loved it.
Instead of making an issue of it, we compromised and he ate 3 bites of chicken. Then he had some cantaloup. I decided not to pick a fight about it.
The kids played, we ate and drank. A good time was had by all. We had a mini-meltdown from both kids when we were leaving but it was totally worth it.
know you will get through this
I am not a parenting expert but I do believe in choosing your battles. If your children argue with you on a normal day, then they will certainly do it when you are parenting alone. Don’t make yourself crazy trying to be, and do, and handle everything on your own.
Plan ahead, communicate and practice calming techniques so that when your partner comes home you can celebrate. If at all possible, engage your children in conversation and try to get a window into their world.
You might be surprised how much you can learn over a cup of frozen yogurt.
When your spouse travels it is easy to get overwhelmed with all that has to be done in your home and with your children. But if you stay calm and follow a few simple rules, I promise you will not go crazy.
Does your partner travel?
How do you like to handle things around the house when he/she is out of town?