I am a full-time stay at home mom and for me personally it can be a pretty challenging gig some days. So when my husband goes out of town for work, I’m not going to lie, it’s not something I look forward to at all. In fact I often start looking for full-time jobs during that period. But putting all jokes aside, after doing this for awhile I wanted to share some tips on how to not only survive, but hopefully enjoy the week as much as you can while your spouse is away.
1. Asking for help from close family and friends. I typically don’t like asking for help, period. But I have learned this is a time to put your pride aside and seek help if you can. It will make your week that much more enjoyable. Of course this also depends on the ages of your kids. When I only had one kid it wasn’t too bad when I was on my own. In fact when my second was not mobile that was pretty doable as well. Now when my one year old is trying to find danger at any chance he gets, my hands are pretty full and I welcome help! Thankfully my husband knows well in advance when he will be traveling and once he does I always ask my mom if she can help out. I know everyone doesn’t have family nearby, we didn’t when we lived in CA, but then maybe seek out a close friend.
2. Paper plates. Three meals a day everyday, do I need to say more? I typically never use paper plates, but when CJ’s gone I did during breakfast and it was nice. Less dishes and easy clean-up.
3. Scheduling fun activities. I am such a homebody and during the winter it’s even worse, but I know making plans and getting out can be so refreshing. In Madison when it’s cold our regulars are the Madison Children’s Museum, library and pet store.
4. Line up who will shovel. This of course depends on where you live during the winter, but here in Madison it is something we need to think about. If you have little ones that make it hard to get outside and you have a large area to shovel this will be a huge relief to have this chore taken care of with a neighbor or hiring someone to do it.
5. Keeping the kid’s schedule. I have always resisted being that parent who stuck to a schedule because then that means you can’t be spontaneous. But guess what, my kid’s are SO much happier when they are on a schedule and so I now am that parent. So when you are on your own, I highly suggest not messing with their regular schedule and doing everything possible to keep your kiddos in their happiest state. I have a 1 year old and 3 year old so my window for fun activities outside of the house are early morning and late afternoon, but I have those small windows and I just work with what I got.
6. Meal plan and get groceries before your spouse leaves. I am not the biggest planner, but not having to worry about what we were going to eat was such a relief! No one is happy when they are hungry.
7. Call a friend. One of my biggest struggles when CJ is gone is missing adult conversations. I don’t know why I don’t call my long distance friends more often because when I called a dear friend this past week while he was away it was just what I needed for that day and it was so great catching up.
8. Invest in a babysitter. If you have a chance to get out please do. I had plans to go out with girlfriends mid-week and I was so excited! Sadly my babysitter got sick which was so disappointing, but I can’t stress how stepping out of mom mode for a few hours can be so good for the soul. If you can’t afford a babysitter another great option is having friends come over after the kiddos go to bed.
9. Treat yourself! This doesn’t mean you have to get a full day spa or anything, but if you have the means please do! For myself, during the week I like getting a Starbucks here and there and ordering take-out.
10. FaceTime/Skype. My daughter is at the age where she (along with myself of course) really missed my husband while he was away and so it was so great that they were able to faceTime and keep in contact. While your spouse is gone it is also a great opportunity to talk to the kids about how much we love and appreciate that person.
11. Give yourself grace. Things probably will get dicey but that’s ok!! Your house will be torn up, the kid’s may watch more TV than you would like, you may not eat as healthy as you would like, but you know what give yourself a break. It’s not easy being a parent and doing it solo is even harder. You are doing a great job and you are doing your best so hang in there!!