Since our twins have become more self-sufficient, my husband and I have become more comfortable with going away. It may be for the weekend with friends, or it may be for work. I realize that some families are familiar with having a parent away long stretches of time, and props to those families. You are superstars.
This past week, my husband took off for a work conference. While I do miss him and find the evenings to be very draining while the kids are up, I also do enjoy my nights to myself. “Me” time is always necessary and appreciated when I am home by myself.
Here are some tips for coping by yourself while your kids are awake, and while they are asleep.
While the Kids are Awake
During the day while the kids are awake, it’s important to make sure you have things planned. The days can get really long if you don’t have anything to do. As it is Valentine’s day this week, we made a trip to buy valentines day cards and will be making cookies to decorate as well. You don’t have to make big plans, but just something small to get you out of the house. Maybe give the kids a change of scenery or pick an activity or craft that is fun for the kids helps keep them engaged. If you can visit friends or family during the time your partner is gone, that is also a nice change of pace for both you and the kids.
Usually by the time dinner comes around, I’m way too tired to cook. If you can afford it, it’s nice to order takeout or go through a drive through as a special treat for the kids. If you have older kids, you can sit down in a restaurant to eat. With two two-year-olds, I tend to stick to something I can pick up without having to get out of the vehicle. Alternatively, you can pick up food that is easy to prepare, or prepare meals ahead of time that you can just heat up. That way, you don’t have to worry too much about dinner by the end of the day.
Once Your Kids are Asleep
After a long day with your kids, it’s nice to take a break and relax. I enjoy having a bubble bath and reading a book once the kids are asleep. Especially the first night. I always find that if I take one night to myself, I can focus on tasks that I need to complete the next day. Or just survive the kids. Other options may be to sit down with a glass of wine and watch a movie or have a special treat like pizza and wings delivered once the kids go to bed.
Whatever your idea of relaxing is, it is essential to do so when your spouse is away. Mostly so that you can decompress before you have to wake up the next day and parent again. Just be sure to take care of yourself so that you can give your kids your best self. It’s okay if that best self is you in pajamas with a coffee. And if you need a break during the day, it’s okay to turn on a movie, give your kids some snacks, and hope they sit and watch the whole video without getting into anything!
If your kids are missing their parent, here are some ideas that you can use when parents aren’t home to say goodnight! You can also check out my Missing You Books, which allow parents to be involved in the bedtime routine, even when they are away.