Disclaimer: I am about to whine about solo-parenting while my husband is away. I can only imagine what single parents go through every day. My hat is off to you if you are a single parent.
Have I mentioned that my husband travels for work? A lot? When he started this job almost two years ago, we anticipated a few trips to NYC, maybe Montreal and Vancouver a couple times of year. Then they hired a new CEO who loves to travel and loves to travel with my husband. Apart from 2 or 4-day trips here and there, I can expect him to be gone most of the week for an entire month at least four times a year. I just spent part of my evening updating my giant colour-coded fridge calendar with his business trips for the next three months. Then I had a big glass of wine.
You’d think I’d be used to it by now. I mean, it’s been almost a year of this. And yet, when he has a small break from the road like the past 3 months, the beginning of another period of solo-parenting fills me with dread. John left yesterday for Florida. Yes, in the middle of winter. For a conference in Hollywood Beach. Life’s tough.
Like dogs, I honestly believe that kids can smell fear. As his departure time approached, I could feel the panic building up in me, the anxiety about dealing with three kids on my own for five days with no pinch-hitter or respite from the grind. The minute his car pulled away from the house, the kids went berserk. I don’t know if I can accurately describe it but imagine a play-date that has gone horribly wrong, “punks gone wild” or something similar. I had just over an hour to cook dinner, feed the animals and corral them into the minivan to get my son to a play-off hockey game. Gah.
When the game was done, we were home and the kidlets were wrestled into bed, I had the revelation that the kids feed off my stress. If I’m freaking out inside, I’m not going to be parenting the way I want to be. The kids will take this as their cue to behave like miscreants. And then I’ll freak out even more and then... You get the picture.
Looking at my calendar, I have to psyche myself up, keep calm and carry on, get and stay organized and most importantly remember to have fun with my kids. I know that when I hit my solo-parenting stride, things run surprisingly smooth and I feel like I can handle (almost) anything.
Still...it’s going to be a long three months.