So, you’re husband is about to go on a business trip, you say? I bet you’re wondering how you’re going to survive! In my opinion, the worst part of single parenting when you’re not a single parent is not having this routine. I mean, you don’t realize just how much work your kids are until you’re completely alone with them. The days are longer and your patience is going to be tested.
My husband had to travel a LOT during our daughter’s first year. My first year as a mom was such a huge struggle between handling a high-needs baby, being a stay at home mom unexpectedly, and then my husband’s frequent traveling. Since then, I’ve gone on to be a pro doing the single parenting thing, even with two kids. By pro, I only mean temporarily. I don’t know what it’s like to be without my husband for more than about a week. Two at most. If I had to pull this single parent stuff off longer than that, these tips might not actually cut it.
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Strategies for Successful Single Parenting while Hubby is on Travel
Cook easy meals
If you must cook, keep it simple. Grilled cheese night, anyone? Beanie Weenies and tater tots? Your kids might love you for this., too If you’re a health nut who prefers rounded meals, remind yourself of this: “everything in moderation.”
Order dinner in or go out
Pizza is sounding excellent. Or how about a quick trip to Moe’s? If your kids are like mine, they do some crazy happy dance (and get a little loud) when they know we’re going out to dinner. The best part about dining out is that, not only did I not cook, I also don’t have to clean! If you get lucky and have a waitress who has kids, she’s going to treat you really well… probably because she has pity on you, but you’ll enjoy this.
Prepare before he leaves
If you know you’re going to be eating out a lot, there’s a chance you won’t have much food in the house. If you’re planning to take my advice on eating out, you’re probably not going to have much in the way of leftovers for lunch. Think ahead and hit the store a few days before he leaves and buy anything you may want to eat during the day. Make sure you don’t have to hit the store with all the kids while he’s gone.
The days seem longer without your counter-part and you’ll quickly be reminded of how much he pitches in. The best thing to do is get out of the house as much as possible and keep everyone busy. The reward is that your kids aren’t home to destroy the house. And, that means less nightly clean-up. (Do you see a theme here? It’s lazy mom time.)
Put the kids to bed early
You’ve been busy (or you should have been if you took my advice). Since you don’t have help, it’s totally cool to give yourself some downtime to unwind before bed. Get the kids to bed early. While you’re putting the younger one(s) to bed, have the older, more independent child(ren) start getting ready. Still reading bedtime stories? Read to them at the same time if you can.
After you put the kids to bed, you’re very likely going to need some assistance winding down. Cue: wine. Now, I don’t know about you, but I never have figured out how to uncork a wine bottle myself. Now is not the time to be caught without an open bottle. Don’t bother him to open the wine before you’re ready for it. Snag an automatic bottle opener!
I got this Ozeri Electric Wine Opener recently and man has it changed my life. It’s the first time in my life I’ve never had to ask for help opening a bottle of wine (aside from the screw top bottles). And, it actually looks pretty cool in the kitchen.
Remind Yourself It’s Temporary
Your mantra needs to be “I can do this, it’s only temporary.” When things get tough or you get tired, repeat your mantra as you take a moment to breathe.
You’re doing great mama! Before you know it, your husband’s trip will be over and you’re going to feel so much stronger and more capable. With enough practice, you’re going to be a pro at temporary single parenting! But, if you do too good a job, the Mister will wonder why you need him all the time. I guess my final tip would be to stay home on the day of his return and make sure the kids destroy the house. While you’re at it, mess up your hair and feign exhaustion. But seriously, give yourself a bit ol’ pat on the back!
What other tips would you suggest for a mama about to experience single parenting while her husband is on travel?