I recently had the ahem, joy, of caring for my two children, by myself for TWO WHOLE WEEKS. I am not a very good solo parenter, I will be the first to admit. I am little, shall we say, dramatic, and to me nothing says trouble and drama like flying solo with kids!
For a week before the actual departure I started to feel the tension start to creep into my body. Panicked thoughts started to trickle in...”what if they get sick, really sick, when I’m by myself?” “Why did we decide to move two hours away from any family member?” “why did I even agree to him going away?” SURE, the fact that I had been lucky enough to have 2 weeks away by myself a month before had NOTHING to do with ANYTHING. Whatever. IT JUST DIDN’T COUNT. See? Drama is my middle name. Plus! He had mother’s come and help. People rallied around the “poor Dad whose wife had done a runner to NY with a friend while he had to do hard things like drive the kids to School and make them lunch!” I had to just suck it up and get on with it.
The day of departure I feigned excitement for him. Tried to look all grown up and strong while inside I wanted to cry. Once he was gone it was time to get my big girl pants on and get on with it. The first few days are always the hardest. Panic comes around 4pm as night draws in. Similar to when I had a newborn when night time always made me nervous, the unknowns and the million what if’s of the night ahead always seem to take hold. As the days pass it gets easier. You get into a rhythm of life without them. Before you know it, things actually seem EASIER without them around. That is, until you desperately miss their company of an evening and it’s time for them to come home again. Which is wonderful for all of three minutes before re-entry to the family issues begin.
Some observations over my two week stint:
- There was so much less MESS around without my husband home. There were no empty glasses behind the couch. No plates on the bench JUST NEXT TO THE DISHWASHER. There were no empty toilet rolls. No clothes on the bedroom floor. No hairs all through the bathroom. Less washing. No shoes kicked off on the floor next to the couch.
- There was no bad music from games on the Ipad or phone playing in the background.
- I didn’t have to watch one show about pawn shops or cage fighting ONCE.
- My kids got sick, OF COURSE.
- We had one trip to Emergency, OF COURSE.
- I dealt with more vomit than I care to ever deal with, ever again.
- A count down chart is ESSENTIAL for crossing off each day. Sure, you can make it for the kids, but I found I didn’t let them do it as I was so excited that I had gotten through a night by myself that I was running to cross it off each morning!
- got to watch ENTIRE SERIES of TV shows that I would not normally watch.
- I got to sleep sideways. It was awesome.
- While children maybe behave better for their fathers while you are away, the same thing occurs when grandparents look after them, this phenomenon generally does NOT occur for Mothers. OF COURSE.
- As each day passed, my smugness and belief that I could do this all the time if I wanted to increased by at least 7%.
- Only having to cook toast, or an omelette for dinner if I wanted to, was a welcome relief from the relentlessness of dinner. Day in, day out.
- Text messages to said absent husband as soon as ANYTHING goes remotely off the “normal” routine will ensure a good present when they return.
Of course for all the drama that I created, and all the joy I got from time alone in bed with my Ipad and Downton Abbey, the high fiving I gave myself for doing what I normally do anyway, NOTHING compared with having my husband home, next to me on the couch, complaining that he had to watch the Real Housewives of Somewhere again, just being there. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder but I’m really quite keen to make my heart grow fond with him right next to me.
Beth blogs daily at www.baby-Mac.com. She believes in family. Good friends. Pork. Champagne. Long lunches. Sleeping without being woken by small children. Clean sheet day. Fresh flowers in her home. Open fires and sitting by them with drink in hand. Using her passport. Love, real proper, heart thumping love with her husband. Bad reality TV. The internet. Cooking. Eating. Changing her hairstyle. Often. She believes in reading, writing, watching and sharing. And putting it ALL out there.