Let's just call 2015 the year Jason traveled... a lot.
When we first got married Jason traveled for work all the time. It was nothing for us to see each other as he came home and I walked out the door.
Then our oldest son was born and Jason took a new job. A wonderful job. But last year his job began to require more and more travel. In our childless days, it was no big deal, not perfect and I missed him, but it was just me.
But now I have two little boys who thrive on a routine and are crazy about their daddy. So there were times last year that were just rough. Guys, I cannot fathom what it would be like to have to parent alone all day every day. I just can’t fathom how hard that would be. So if you’re parenting alone, believe me, you have been in my prayers.
Also, I am very grateful for my husband's job because it allows me to be at home with my boys, so please note we are very, very thankful. And luckily the travel isn't as frequent anymore.
However, we have had to adapt. And we've all learned a few tricks to make those traveling days easier on all of us.
1. Develop a good night time routine
Mornings are no problem. Jason leaves for work very early, so we are all used to Jason being gone when we all wake-up.However, afternoons and evenings require a little more work. So it's important to keep our home routine running the same way.
After naptime we have afternoon play, we read books, we feed our chickens and gather eggs. Then it's supper, bath, books and bed. We do this the same way every night whether Jason is home or not. My kids go to bed between 8 and 8:30 p.m. every night. This keeps things moving and keeps meltdowns (mine!) to a minimum.
2. Be flexible
Jason usually travels at a moments notice. On Monday at 3 p.m. he might get a phone call telling him he will be flying out a 6 p.m. for a four-day trip. So that means weekday plans might shift. This was annoying at first because I would buy groceries for the week and make a meal plan and then I would have all these groceries and no husband to eat them.
So a lot of our meals go into the freezer. There is a degree of flexibility required.
3. Eat together
We keep meals simple and healthy, but I make sure we all sit down together. My kids eat a lot of sandwiches and steamed vegetables. I am not even kidding. They will get scrambled eggs for breakfast and then a sandwich (smoked chicken or PB&J) for both lunch and dinner with a side of steamed peas or broccoli and a fruit. They also love rice and beans, I really lucked out there because it’s so easy!
So find a few meals your kids would love and don’t feel bad letting them eat that over and over. You can mix things up by giving them a variety of fruits and vegetables, but don’t feel pressure to make them a full Pinterest perfect meal every day.
It’s not gourmet and that’s okay. Everyone is fed and happy.
4. Find a community
It took us a while but in May, we finally found a church that felt like home. We connected with a Sunday School class and I felt comfortable telling them when Jason traveled so that they could pray for me. It didn’t take long for a few families to reach out to me and let me know it was okay to call them if I needed anything while Jason was gone.
I urge you to reach out and find a community, whether in church or a moms group, who will minister to you and help you out. It helps you feel less lonely, but also, there is someone there if an emergency arises.
You may even find a few moms in your same position and you can help encourage each other.
Also, get to know your neighbors. Mine have been wonderful!
5. Don’t be afraid to go places
For so long I was just too stressed to take my kids places while my husband was gone. We would just stay home because I knew I wouldn’t get a break that day and let’s face it, taking kids out in public can be EXHAUSTING. My sons are 4 and 2 and sometimes they can be a handful. In order to avoid stress we just didn’t leave the house. While I am a homebody, this made my house begin to feel like a jail. So I started venturing out. We go to the park, the store, the skating rink. We play with friends and take walks. We go on picnics. It’s been wonderful.
6. Take time to relax
It’s so easy when you’re a mom to push your needs to the back burner. But it is so important to take time for yourself. Just 10 or 15 minutes to take a shower, light a candle or read a book. You can take this time to pray, talk to a friend or watch a funny YouTube video. Just remember to care for yourself.
7. Keep your home well stocked
This is a piece of advice from a reader and it's been invaluable. Thanks to Amazon Prime I am able to do so without even having to think about diapers, toilet paper, and coffee. Make sure you have extra diapers, cleaning supplies and milk. Also, she recommended having extra school supplies.
She said, " Who wants to take 3 kids to Michaels at 8 p.m. to get poster board for a project that's due tomorrow? "
8. Tell your children's teachers
This is also advice given to me by a reader- if your child is in school, his or her teacher might need to know that one parent is often gone. They need to know that if your kids are having trouble you're doing everything you can by yourself.
9. Look for delivery services
Remember how I said I LOVE Amazon Prime? We end up buying a lot of our dry goods that way, that way I only have to get perishables at the grocery store. But see if there are grocery services in your area that deliver or let you order online and then offer curb service.
10. Find a hobby or part time job from home- just something for you
Take up knitting, start a blog, open an Etsy shop. One finds something that's just for you. That's why I started doing YouTube, to connect with other moms, but also because I just missed making and editing videos, something I did for a past job.
Who knew that would become a part of my business?
11. Keep extra cash in the house for emergencies
Even if it's just $20 or $30 that you keep in your sock drawer. It's important to have extra cash if something arises.
12. Spare key
Need I say more? Mom brain means at some point you will lock your keys in the house. Make sure someone you trust has a spare.
13. Find a good handyman
If you're not handy yourself find a handyman or have a running list of plumbers and electricians. Emergencies always seem to arise when Jason leaves town.
14. Protect family time
When Jason is home family time is family time. I try to be really protective of it when he has been traveling. I say no to functions or visitors. It may mean less of a social life but it's more family time.
What about you? What would you add to the list?