Recently my husband has traveled almost every week, leaving me at home with three kids by myself. Now that he’s home for a spell, I’m quickly appreciating how much easier it is to have two parents around! He doesn’t travel all the time, but it goes in spurts.
People are constantly asking me how I deal with it when he travels. Sometimes, I ask
myself the very same thing. It is not easy.
Sometimes, it is just about surviving. Like those weeks where something breaks, the kids are sick, you get sick, the house is a disaster, you’re out of milk and bread, there is a huge snowstorm and his flight is delayed again… Or when he casually mentions how he is just so tired of eating in fancy restaurants and he’ll probably just go to bed early in his fancy hotel room he gets all to himself; as the kids are screaming at you in the background for more scrambled eggs, which you are having for dinner again. (Disclosure: Its usually not that bad.. but we’ve certainly been there!) It can be hard to remember that he’s working and not on vacation.
when he’s traveling – even on a normal, unexciting week – by the end of the week, I am exhausted, the house is a disaster and
patience had left the building. You might have guessed this by my twitter feed.
But, over time, I’ve not only learned a few
little tricks, but I’ve learned to develop a good attitude about his traveling… and its made all the difference in the world. So this week, I’m sharing some of the tricks I’ve learned to cope to handling things on my own.
PART ONE: Focus on the positive
There are some positive things about Husband traveling. His traveling for work is how we are able to travel so much as a family, thanks to airline miles and hotel points. I don’t cook as much, after the kids go to bed I have time to myself, so I usually can get lots of work done, I can watch Twilight without anyone laughing at me… of course I’d rather Husband was around, but we’re thinking positive, right? 😉
His traveling has helped me to be more independent. I have learned how to fix leaking sinks and broken toilets, how to restart the furnace, how to kill gigantic spiders all by myself. I take care of all of our finances. (Math is not my thing: this is quite an accomplishment for me.) Think about it: on those weeks when he is only home for two or three days, why would I want to hand him a huge to-do list for those precious few days we have him here? He just wants to spend time with us and we just want to spend time with him! So when he is traveling, I do as much as I can before he gets home so when he’s home, we get quality time together.
My biggest challenge is that when you’re the only parent around, patience can wear thin very quickly. Homework, housework, bedtime, bathtime… and the worst, discipline… everything is up to you and only you. And its exhausting. With three young kids, I feel like all I am doing some days is saying “NO!” and “Stop that!” and I constantly feel like the bad guy. So I decided I needed some ways to keep things balanced and encourage them (and me!).
Sticker Charts: Each child gets a piece
of paper with their name on it and we hang them up on the wall of the
kitchen. They earn stickers by:
- being loving
- doing chores
- playing nicely
- staying in bed all night (sometimes they get double stickers for this one 🙂
Its inexpensive – just a piece of paper and some cool stickers – and with young kids, its a great way for them to see how the week is going. At the end of the week when Daddy comes home, the kids are
thrilled to show him all of the stickers they earned! Occasionally when their charts are really full (or Mommy reallyneeds a break), Daddy will take them out for a hour or two on Saturday to ‘celebrate’ their sticker charts. Mommy likes this.
Kisses for Kindness: We have a jar on the counter filled with Hershey Kisses. When I catch one of them doing something extra loving
or unselfish, they get ‘kissed’ for being kind. The only rule is they
cannot tell me they did something – we have to catch them in the act.
Not that they don’t try. (“Mom, I gave Grace my favorite toy! Wasn’t
that so super kind of me?”) Its a great way to give immediate encouragement when kids are being loving and making good choices. Its been great! It has made the girls much more
aware of being kind and unselfish towards each other. And cuts down on the fighting. Because the fighting leads to yelling and no one likes the yelling.
Does your husband travel? What do you think are the positives about it?