sisterhood of the traveling husbands: planning is key

Today we’re tackling installment three in our sisterhood of the traveling husbands series, where I’m sharing some key tips to keeping your sanity when you’re on your own at home.

PART THREE: Planning is key

Planning can drastically reduce your stress. Afternoons and evenings can drag like you would not believe. Actually, if you’re a parent, you probably can believe it. (For me, evenings are when I totally start to lose it.) Planning ahead will save your sanity. Trust me.

Plan some activities: The first night Husband is gone on a long trip, we go to the library to get new books and movies. We have Popcorn Pajama Parties, where the kids and I pile up on the couch in our pjs and watch a movie, we’ll snuggle up in bed and read books all evening, we draw pictures for relatives and write letters, we make a Lego town, or we bake cookies or banana bread for breakfast.  Just be sure to plan something so you don’t end up sitting on the floor with your kids crawling all over you telling you they’re bored. Which never happens to me. Ahem.

Plan some outings: Some nights I need to get out of the house. Especially if I’ve been home all day with just the kids, getting out of the house for an hour or two is so therapeutic. You know the feeling. So we:

  • Head to Barnes and Noble and look at books (and pick up an nice skinny caramel latte for mama).
  • We’re lucky enough to leave 15 minutes from Ikea and the kids LOVE to go there. We can all eat dinner in the bistro for around $5. The older kids play in Smaland while I walk around dreaming of a perfectly organized house.
  • The library, as I mentioned above. Ours even has evening story times once a week.
  • Walk around the mall – you get to window shop and they get to run around, play on the kids play areas and throw pennies in the fountain.

Plan a backup plan: Pick up a movie or toy on sale and save it for when you really, really need it. If your kids love stickers, have a stash of stickers handy. My kids love to color, so I pick up new
coloring books at the Dollar Store to pull out on a particularly long night.

Plan together: Send out an SOS email – there is probably another mom who has a traveling husband too! Get together! One mom brings the nuggets, the other brings the french fries, the kids get entertained and you get some adult conversation! If you’re parents live nearby, head over there for dinner. I can’t tell you what a lifesaver this can be!!

What are your family’s favorite after dinner/before bedtime activities?

About Melissa

Melissa is founder of Girlymama and co-founder of the mom fashion blog, All Things Chic. You can also find her designing blogs at Eliza Grace Design and on Twitter as Melissa Angert.


  1. 1
    Joey Fortman says:

    I love this post!!! My hubby goes out of town once in a while-and before he returns I’m completely out of my mind. I always wonder how single moms and traveling hubby-wives do it!! Kudos to you!!!

  2. 2
    Stephanie says:

    Such an important point. My husband was out-of-town all last week and we made a trip to the library when he was gone. We especially love checking out CD books for car rides. 🙂