My husband has a really amazing job that he loves, which is totally tough to come by in this day and age. We are so lucky that not only is he employed, but that he enjoys what he does and he gets paid enough for me to work only four days a week at a job where I can bring Greyson with me. Unfortunately, his job requires him to travel somewhere between 1-2 months per year. Before I had a child, I didn’t mind his traveling at all. It was like a little me-time vacation to have dinner with the girls or to stay home and catch up on Keeping up with the Kardashians. However, after Grey was born, his traveling became a little less of a vacation and little bit more like mommy overtime hours.
When my husband is getting ready to leave, I have to mentally prepare myself for tackling my parenting solo act for several days and nights. I mean, there are women who raise children by themselves so clearly I should be able to handle a few days. When he calls me from wherever the hell he is that particular trip (which I can rarely keep track of), I give him a nice little speech about how we can get through it, it’s not that bad, and it’s just a few days. Then I hang up and attempt to believe that what I just told him is true.
On the first night, I convince myself that I am a positive, supportive wife and mother who can handle anything. I can not only take care of the baby while nannying for two other children during the day, but I can also keep the house clean and maybe even toss in a load of laundry after the baby goes to bed.
I have a few rules that I attempt to stick by on a normal day. I typically try to keep it to two cups of coffee. I try to encourage the baby to eat new foods and to have some veggies. I limit TV to a little in the morning and a little before bed. However, by day two on solo duty, I slowly begin breaking these rules one by one. I pour myself a large glass of wine and turn on the television. A little extra Elmo never killed anyone, right?
By day three, all hell breaks loose. At this time, I am usually exhausted from getting up with Grey during the night by myself. I typically look like a strung out, crack head mommy from the amount of caffeine I’ve consumed in the last three days. The baby wears PJ’s for the majority of the day because I’m too worn out for a little dressing wrestling match. On night number three, I opt for a making a strong cocktail over cooking a meal. I let Grey eat toast and yogurt for dinner in front of the television that has been streaming Sesame Street for several hours.
I can’t imagine how people that parent alone at all times get through more than three days without losing their sanity. Maybe it’s because I am with my child and two others all day that makes it difficult. I am literally on the mommy clock at all times for several days straight. Maybe it’s because I don’t have family close by that can stop over and give me a break – or at least give me another person to talk to. Not that I don’t love talking to Greyson, but he can only answer me with a total of about four words (dog, more, please, all done…).
Now that you have an idea of what three days and nights look like at my house when I’m alone, you can imagine what happens after that. It’s a slow progression towards parenting pandemonium. My husband’s next trip is planned to span five days. My mom decided to take her vacation time from work and to come into town to stay with me while he’s gone. And thank God for that. By day five, I’m afraid I would be doomed to overdose on caffeine, cocktails, and Elmo on DVR.
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