If there’s one thing I really, really love about Tim, it’s that he’s an excellent co-parent. He helps me a lot with the girls and is very supportive of me and my role as a stay at home mom. But sometimes he needs to travel for work, and it completely throws me off.
When Tim recently left town for a few days, I was forced to go into ‘survival mode’ (guys, I know this sounds dramatic, but trust me, I really, really am not a person who’s equipped to care for two toddlers by myself for more than 24 hours straight), which meant planning ahead.
If you’re faced with a similarly busy week, I have some (survival) suggestions:
+ Hire a babysitter.
Tim and I don’t live near any family, so we aren’t used to getting any help watching the girls. The thought of hiring a babysitter during the day makes me cringe a bit, because I feel like my only job is to be a SAHM, and if I outsource that responsibility I feel pretty lousy about my abilities as a mom. (This could be a whole separate blog post, but I’m just being honest about where I’m at with this!) BUT, when Tim was gone he hired a babysitter for 2 hours on two of the days so I could leave the house and workout and take a shower and start making dinner for the girls. That end-of-naptime –> dinner time is witching hour and it’s MISERABLE without some extra help! Having a babysitter saved me.
+ Meal prep ahead of time.
I didn’t do this, but I should have! (Story of my life.) If I was a little more organized I would have prepped some dinners and lunches for myself over the weekend so that I had one less thing to worry about when Tim was gone.
+ Schedule time with friends.
I let my friends know how stressed I was about ‘momming’ by myself for a few days, and they definitely showed up for me. Playdates were scheduled, dinner get-togethers were offered, plans were made! As a super extrovert, this time with others was extra appreciated. Leaving the house with two toddlers is never easy, but I am the very opposite of a homebody, so the effort was worth it – plus it saved me a ton of time cleaning up every day/night! (Mom hack = the more time I spend outside of the house, the less time I have to spend cleaning up the house!)
+ Set an alarm.
On my normal days, I wake up when the girls get up – no alarm needed! However, when Tim was out of town I set an alarm every single day. I even woke up the girls some mornings, which we normally avoid at all costs. My reasoning was this: it takes me much longer to get the girls ready and out of the house without an extra set of hands, so instead of rushing around like a crazy person, I settled for a little sleep deprivation, which gained me an extra few minutes to convince the girls to put pants on.
+ Lower expectations.
The house might be a little messier, I might be late to events, food might not be home cooked, screen time may be used more liberally… when it’s a really busy week or a solo-parenting day, I lower the expectations and simply survive! Some weeks of motherhood are just harder than others, whether it’s because of illness or long hours at work or travel or especially tough toddler moments/hours, or if it’s just one of those days where nothing seems to be going right! And when I’m having one of those days, it’s a lot easier to lower my expectations than to attempt to reach lofty motherhood goals (like getting dressed before lunch… haha)!
If I was living my best life, I would take this advice every single week, and sometimes I do! (Except for the meal prep part, I’ll always and forever be awful at that.) What I’ve learned is that motherhood truly takes community, and we shouldn’t feel like we need to do it all ourselves. When Tim is gone, I truly rely on others to keep me sane!
… and I’ll say it again, I feel very blessed to have a partner who is so helpful when he’s around (and able to be physically present so often!) that it shakes up my world when he leaves for just a day or two, and especially for any time longer than that! I know some moms are pros at the solo-parenting thing, and I have complete admiration for that!
Does your partner travel for work? Any tips on surviving/thriving?