Everyone once and a while, we all need to hit the reset button. That was true for my husband. After being laid off and doing some contract work, he needed a break to think about what to do for the rest of his career. Being a supportive, loving wife, I told him to book a trip to England to visit his parents and some friends. I told him to think about what he wanted to do and to come back motivated to make it happen.
At first, he thought I was crazy. He didn’t want to leave his full-time work at home and stay at home wife with two children - yup, you guessed it, me. Yet crazy me insisted. I’ll be fine, I told him. You need a break. Go.
He left and those 2 weeks didn’t go by fast enough! I don’t know how all the single working moms do it. In fact, I don’t know how I did it! Working from home full time with my 8 month old son and 5 year old daughter with me at the same time.
Here is what NOT to do when you’re home working and watching your kids full time at the same time when your spouse is away:
- Don’t get sick. Easier said than done, right? One night I was nauseated and developed a migraine. At bed time. Then I was up all night with my son at the same time. The sickness stayed a few days but the job and the kids remained. Seriously, do whatever it takes to not get sick.
- Don’t sign up your child for an everyday activity. My daughter had 4 weeks of swimming lessons, 4 days a week for 30 minutes a day. Carting both children and their gear every day plus checking work during said lesson is not easy at all. I’m still trying to decipher what I was smoking when I thought that was going to be a good idea!
- Don’t bother cleaning. By the time I finished my work hours and the kids were asleep, I was so exhausted that I couldn’t imagine cleaning my house. Therefore those two weeks, we got by without visitors because I didn’t have the energy.
- Don’t drink. I was eyeing that bottle of wine in the fridge. I wanted to chug it. Usually that desire hit me at 10am. But the one time you pour the glass, your son’s teething gets out of control and you need to hit up the local pharmacy for infant motrin. Put the glass down. Inevitably you’ll regret it.
- Don’t do things half fast. Feed the cats? No biggie. (3 days later) Oops, forgot to cover up the bin of cat food. Regardless of what you do, there is no other adult present so double and triple check stuff. I forgot to cover up the cat food, botched the home alarm system, and accidentally left a candle burning while we were outside playing all day. I know, I’m such a klutz.
- Don’t buy candy. Regardless of your lack of time, Dove chocolate covered cranberries are not healthy, nor are they a substitute for a good lunch. Neither are Raisinets or ice cream. Plus it will only worsen symptoms of #1.
- Don’t make promises. Oh, you want to have a play date? Dinner at mine? NO. Don’t make any plans or promises. Two sets of plans made, were canceled in the matter of five days. Shit happens and it’s easier to just not leave the house!
Those things you don’t want to do. But what should you do?
Plan a day off when your spouse is back. Check.
Make sure your mother or a family member/friend is available to help. Check.
Borrow your neighbor’s husband for odds and ends. Check.
Praise every full time single mother you know. And often!