My husband used to travel for work constantly. I would say he was gone 50% of the time. As a mom to three young kids and no family around at the time, it put a lot of strain on our family. I can recall a time when my oldest son used to tell my friends that his daddy lived in a hotel. One time he even called my friends husband “Daddy”. Of course it was totally innocent and he didn’t mean any harm by it at the ripe age of 3, but it certainly can certainly pull at your heart strings.
My friends would often say to me “I don’t know how you do it”, or “I could never do what you do” but the fact of the matter is I DID do it. I had no choice. It took years to develop coping mechanisms but along the way I found quite a few tips that worked and I would like to share them with you.
- Line up a babysitter as soon as you know your spouses schedule. Having a sitter lined up in advance was not only emotionally reassuring for me but it was awesome for the kids. They would get excited and have something to look forward to. You do not have to leave the house either. I would just have someone come and play with the kids while I cooked dinner, or did bath time or homework. I was a much better mom to my kids at the end of the day.
- Go grocery shopping BEFORE they leave. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to drag 3 tired kids out of the house because I had nothing to make them for school lunches the next day or we had nothing to make for dinner.
- Arrange Carpools. With all of the sports kids are in you probably find yourself driving all day long dropping off and picking up. And when your spouse is not around to help it can be so draining. Ask another mom who is in the same class if you can take one way and have them take the other. Trust me, one less pickup makes a HUGE difference.
- Get out of the house. Staying in can feel like the days just blend into one another. Take the kids somewhere fun after school or out to dinner. A break in the day can be very revitalizing.
- Stay Connected. If there is one thing I learned on this journey it is to stay connected with your spouse. Whether it’s through Face time, or Texting or Instant Messenger, check in daily with your spouse. I was really bitter in the beginning but I learned that being able to talk to my husband or see him helped me relax. And it helped him too! The kids will also enjoy it and won’t feel so disconnected from their dad/mom.
- When all else fails and you feel like you are going to pull your hair out, pick up the phone and call a friend/neighbor. Be honest. Tell them you are stressed and I can almost guarantee that they will be at your door in a heartbeat. If they don’t then give YOURSELF a time out. Or a glass of wine. They both kind of go hand in hand.
Tell us, does your spouse travel for work? What are your coping mechanisms or tips for dealing with several days of solo parenting?
I have the utmost respect for single moms. Hats off to you ladies!