I know I normally write about family travel destinations, but there’s another aspect of travel makes me a little cray to the Z every month and that’s when my husband travels for his job.
Ever since we just had one tiny baby, Mr. YT has been leaving me for 2-3 nights per month. I know some of you have a husband that travels much more, so I shouldn’t complain. In reality, in 7 years it’s never gotten easier but it has gotten more manageable.
While Mr. YT was away this week, I realized that in years past I could have used a little advice on what to do on days when he wouldn’t be home in the evenings to give me a little relief.
5 things I do to maintain my sanity (and a little bit of order) whilst the husband is away:
Sleep (or lack thereof) is super important.
You have to take the age-old advice and nap when baby naps. If your kids are a little older, don’t feel guilt overturning on the TV or sending them to their rooms so you can get a little shut-eye. I can go from Mommy Dearest to the Wicked Witch in about 17 seconds if I haven’t had enough sleep, so I KNOW that if I am going to make it through the marathon I have to close my eyes to the mess and just REST.
Eating is my favorite. No, really. Mealtimes with little ones are stressful at best, downright chaotic at their worst. I’ve noticed that in order to help with my own sanity I will eat my meal while I’m cooking for the kids. That way, if I’m getting up and down a lot while they eat, I’ve already suppressed my own hanger (#notjoking). Before your husband skips town, grab a frozen pizza, mac n cheese, whatever convenience foods you’re going to need to make dinner time be easy. “Snack lunch” is a personal fave of mine- cheese and crackers, grapes, single-serve applesauce, yogurt, those type of things that are easy & easy to get on a plate. This is not the time to be Julia Childs. You can also use lunch time to do read-aloud… I read and drink coffee, they eat in peace. Winning!
There is only one of you, so start early. My kids always try the stall method 20x worse when Daddy isn’t around. Be kind, but firm– You’re just down the hall. I’ve found that calling Daddy right before book time can give them a happy little assurance that they can go to sleep and all is well.
Plan ahead for adult time
I’m an extrovert by nature, so being inside with 3 kids for 3-4 days can be a little hairy. Think of simple ways to speak to adults without creating a lot of work. Playdates can work (pick a neutral place so you don’t have to clean). A Skype date with a faraway friend. Asking a child-free friend to stop by after work for a coffee date. These are all things to refuel that don’t require a lot of work. If you have babysitters that can do daytime, this may be the time to spend a little money and head out on your own.
Lower your expectations
My #1 piece of motherhood advice is also the most important for the weeks my husband travels. This is not the time to be a screen-time martyr. This is not the time to start the Whole 30. This is not the time to dive into painting or reorganizing the house. Get up. Get dressed. Be present. Having a husband that travels is not always easy. Try to connect with him positively – now that mostly involves my kids sending him Snapchat videos of our day or me texting him in the a.m. to remind him I miss him.
Does your husband travel for work? What things do you do to save your sanity?