We have four kids. And my husband travels. So when he tells me he has another trip planned, all I hear is, “Honey, I get a four-night get-out-of-jail-free-card at bedtime this week.” Then I mark a tally in my closet for the number of foot rubs he owes me when he gets back.
And while I would never want his job, I admit that at times, there is a lack of balance in our lives with raising our kids when he’s gone. Especially if it’s a week someone (or two or three) is sick like last week when the sick person was me.
Now don’t get me wrong, as a stay-at-home mom, I do not have the pressure of providing financially for our family. But I have the pressure to provide an emotionally healthy environment for my kiddos when he’s gone. And sometimes that can be harder than it seems when it’s just me with our children day after day. So today, I wanted to share with you my 6 favorite tips for raising babies with a partner that travels.
1. Plan Ahead the Night Before
It seems one of the most stressful parts about having a husband that travels is that you end up functioning as a single parent when they are gone. This means you are responsible for getting everyone dressed and ready in the morning, as well as out the door without any help. (P.S. Single parents deserve a special badge for their awesomeness because it is not for the faint of heart.) So I have learned the importance of planning the night before for anything the next day when my hubby is gone. It helps eliminate the stress of feeling like I have to juggle all my children’s needs at once. And it helps me feel more organized, which takes away my sense of feeling overwhelmed.
2. Plan Convenience Meals
When the hubby is away, I take it easy on meals. Because the children do not care what we eat, I look at his trips away as an opportunity to grab easy take-out or cook something simple that the kids like. There is no sense in cooking a large dinner when there is only one adult home to enjoy it. Am I right? This is why I try to look at his trips away as a break from cooking for me. Cereal for dinner, everyone!
3. Meet Up With Friends
I think another aspect that is hard about a partner that travels is that you lose adult interaction. This is especially helpful when dealing with little children all day. If you are an introvert, you may enjoy your time alone. But even most introverts can appreciate an adult conversation every now and then. So I have learned the importance of planning dinners or meet-ups with friends when my hubby is gone. I try to be intentional about getting time with adults during the day, so I feel recharged for my constant time with littles.
4. Ask for Help
If you’re in a position to ask someone to come over and help, I can’t stress this enough. If you have a grandparent or a friend nearby who is willing to help, don’t be too proud to ask for help. My mom is amazing and will come and help at bedtime sometimes when my husband travels. That one hour of help can be amazing for keeping my sanity and energy when my husband is gone. If you’re a new mom, maybe it’s asking that person to come over during the day so you can catch up on sleep from a long night. Whatever it is, don’t feel guilty about utilizing someone willing to offer support. It can make a world of difference.
5. Hire a Sitter For the Evening
If your husband travels once in a blue moon, you may not feel a need to utilize this. But if your husband travels regularly, I think hiring a sitter from time to time can be SO helpful. You may use the sitter to help with the evening grind or to stay home after bedtime so you can grab a late dinner with friends. But for whatever reason you choose, it can be a refreshing backup when feeling worn down.
6. Give Yourself a Break
It’s hard to be alone, but there are some advantages too. Namely, you can utilize your evening time to do the things you prefer without answering to someone else. So watch a chick flick that you love from college. Or let the kids sleep in your bed as a fun privilege for nights that Dad is away. After all, if you have to experience the challenge of doing things on your own, you might also find the benefit in it. Am I right?!