Surviving On Your Own: When Dad Is Outta Town
There are days where I am literally counting down the seconds until Madi’s dad walks through the front door. These are the days where there is non stop fussing, no chores have been done, and dinner is half made. I’m so grateful when Zane walks through the door, scoops Madi into his arms and makes her laugh. He gives me a chance to collect myself, finish up dinner, and I’m granted a half hour of peace.
So when he tells me things like, “I have to go out of town for two weeks for work,” my heart literally stops and my anxiety kicks into over drive. How in the world would I be able to manage without him giving me a break? Would Madi be happy staring at my face and hearing only my voice for two whole weeks?
Thankfully, this trip is now in the past and we’ve survived! I’ve stopped to reflect on what went well and what didn’t go so well and I’ve come up with a few tips to share with you!
Plan, plan, plan!
The procrastinator in me loathes this tip but, planning is key! Plan what every day is going to look like. Since you’ll be on your own you have the option of getting up earlier than usual to have 15-20 minutes to yourself. Or maybe you can find a drop in daycare to take the kiddo(s) to in the middle of the week so you can have some self care. Check out your local libraries to see if they have any special activities you can attend, or contact some friends to join you at a splash pad, restaurant, or park. Make sure you also plan for time to unwind at home so that you don’t over do it.
Stock Up & Meal Prep
While many of us are used to doing the shopping trips on our own with the kiddo(s), it’s worth mentioning that while you’re completely on your own your patience or their patience might not hold up. It’s better to do a shopping trip before your spouse is out of town and stock up on essentials and bonus items like special treats. Meal prepping also helps make the time on your own easier. You won’t have to rack your brain about what to make, while screaming and shouting surrounds you. Remember those bonus items I mentioned? They don’t necessarily have to be for the kid(s). Stash some chocolate, popcorn, cider, or wine for yourself mama! At the end of the day you deserve it.
Ask for Help
Remember you don’t have to do this on your own just because your partner in crime is gone. Reach out to neighbors, friends, family, or find a drop in daycare/babysitter. During those crazy two weeks on my own my little brother came to stay with me. This meant that he could entertain Madi while I cooked, cleaned, or showered. He even helped keep the house tidy and reminded me to relax. You have people who are willing to step up and help, all you have to do is send a text, make a call, or do some research online.
Today you planned to hit up the park, stop at the grocery store, and eat all your meals at home, but your kiddo had a melt down at the park. They decided not to nap making it impossible for you to go grocery shopping, and you’re now sitting on the living room floor ordering a pizza. That’s okay. While all mamas are superheroes we’re not always going to be on point. So what if your perfectly planned day has gone wrong? So what if you’re gonna eat an entire garlic bread appetizer by yourself while your kid eats pizza? You don’t have to be perfect, you just need to be there for your kiddo and remind yourself that this too will pass.
When you’re used to having someone to lean on being on your own can be tough and stressful. Remind yourself to enjoy the time that you have with your kiddo(s) even if it’s rough. They’re constantly watching and learning from us. They’re constantly seeing our reactions and trying to understand our moods. Take the time to smile and laugh, to jump in the sprinklers with them, to share some ice cream together, and break some rules. These are memories that you’re creating to cherish and look back on.
After these two weeks on my own I have to say that I am in awe of those who raise their children on their own.
Single mothers, single fathers, those whose spouses are deployed, even single caregivers (like grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncles) are super heroes in my opinion.
I’m so grateful to be raising my little one with someone who understands that I sometimes need a break. I hope that these tips help you the next time you’re on your own. Please share any tips you might have with me! I get the feeling these work trips are never gonna end!