I know that he is working, but sometimes I wonder if it looks a little like this...
And my life at home feels a whole lot like this....
I know it's not completely true, but it feels true! Will has traveled to India, Guatemala, Honduras, USA, Cuba and many trips to the campo of Costa Rica in recent years. We've developed a method here at home that has become quite routine for us when Will is away...especially for long periods of time. Here are my thoughts on surviving at home:
- Go on a "fun" grocery run- Obviously I blogged about this yesterday and you can read about that here. We go to the grocery store at the beginning of the week that Will's gone and, as Emma says, we buy a whole bunch of things we don't need. That just means we buy food that we usually don't buy. The kids think this is so much fun and plays well into dinners of Lucky Charms and frozen pizza. Win/win.
- Complete one achievable task- This doesn't mean clean out every closet in your house or repaint the kitchen. Keep it simple. Clean out one closet, organize a few pictures, write some blogs (obviously that's mine this time around), or wash the car. It will make you feel slightly productive without it being overwhelming.
- Read a mindless fiction book- Think about what you would want to read on the beach or find something you can escape into. I would not recommend mysteries or thrillers! I figured that out the hard way. Then you just can't sleep at night.
- Watch a show your husband won't- I always have big plans to watch an entire series on Netflix, but that doesn't seem to happen with small kids and that seems like an overwhelming task to me (remember #2). So I stick to shows like Gilmore Girls, Downton Abbey, Ace of Cakes and 19 Kids & Counting.
- Eat off Paper Plates- That's especially huge for us here with no dishwasher. Cups and silverware are much easier to quickly wash at the end of the night without scrubbing. Side note: Will's favorite joke - "How do you fix a dishwasher? You slap her". Hahaha...well, he's the one who washes dishes at our house so the joke's on him.
- Have something to look forward to at night- Save that dessert or glass of wine for after the kids go to bed. You might even want to save your whole dinner for after the kids are in bed! I did that last night and skyped with a friend while eating. It was wonderful.
- Don't make beds that week- This is my kid's favorite rule. When Dad's away, we don't make beds. Why? I don't know. Just thought that sounded fun and different. Will actually couldn't care less if we ever made beds around here.
- Have one family event planned- We try to do one different/special/easy-to-manage thing while he's away. Last time we went to visit some friends in another town. This time we had a jammie day all day on Saturday. I also promised that we would go to the park every day this week at 4:00. The park is next to our house and that really keeps them from asking me all day when we can go. It has also kept them from asking if friends can come over. If they want to play, they can meet us in the park at 4:00.
- Keep activities simple and low-key- Do the things you normally would do and it's okay to cut some things out if life gets out of hand. I opted out of attending women's bible study this morning because it felt like we had been rushing around for the past two days. I just wanted to complete one full day of uninterrupted school with Emma. This also means don't add crazy things like a camping trip or Disney World.
- Dinner can be foods that seem like snacks- Popcorn, peanut butter sandwiches or frozen waffles can be a dinner. Or make things that your man wouldn't eat. For some reason, mac & cheese with sausage in it sounded really good to me the other night so I made it. Will would hate this, but the kids and I loved it.
- Exercise- This keeps the depression away. Even just a little bit helps.
- Call one friend a day- It's difficult for me to jet out and see anyone, so sometimes just calling one person a day keeps loneliness away and let's you have adult conversation. For me, I like doing this at the end of my day. So nice right before bed.
- Talk to the Lord- Life feels really out of balance when Will's away. But this sense of weirdness makes me remember to talk to the Lord constantly throughout the day. And I have always really enjoyed reading my Bible right before bed, and I'm able to do that when Will's gone. Dependence on the Lord is key and reminds me why we're here.
- Leave a few lights on & take a Tylenol PM- I leave the hallway light on and a light in the den. This just makes me feel better when I'm up with the kids at night. I also take a Tylenol PM which helps me sleep so I don't freak out when I hear a cat walking on our roof. I only take one because this is inevitably the night when a kid will wake up puking.
And that's my complete list. Please share some other ideas if you have them!