I’m a stay-at-home mom with a husband that travels periodically. He’s out of town at least a few nights per month, occasionally more. I know this is not the most arduous travel schedule known to man. (Holla you military spouses, hanging out stateside during deployment – you all rock!) But travel days do not count among my favorite days. Last month, my husband went on a 5 day trip that included a weekend. Genius that I am, I called in my parents for back up. Awesome, right? Wrong. The baby decided that was the weekend to manifest full-on separation anxiety and refused to leave my side. By day three of that trip, I was losing my mind and sending angry texts to my husband at 5:30 AM just so he could be part of the experience of being in non-stop physical contact with a pinchy baby.
Usually though, I just get through travel days using an combination of careful planning and hour by hour endurance. I simply give up on certain things, like bathroom cleaning or limits on TV. Instead I focus on the basics: keeping the kids fed and dressed, keeping me fed and dressed, and getting everyone where they need to go. It isn’t graceful or impressive, but it all gets done. Like a piano piece for four hands being played by only two, it’s not harmonic but it passes as music.
What follows is the diary of a day with daddy out of town. Click through and enjoy!
Home Alone: My Diary of a Day With Daddy Out of Town 1 of 14
Click through to follow along!
5 AM 2 of 14
The baby is awake to nurse. This is when my day begins because even if she falls back to sleep, I won't. I sit in the dark, dodging her semi-conscious pinching and wish I could start the coffee using mind powers. Usually my husband does that, but he's blissfully snoring in a hotel 300 miles away with no children pinching his nose.
7:15 AM 3 of 14
I have managed to get food and coffee into the all the respective mouths in the house. I turn on the TV to entertain the kids so I can take a shower. This is exciting because it's the only time I'll be alone before bedtime.
7:22 AM 4 of 14
I exit the shower to the sound of the baby whining in her saucer in the living room. Evidently she does not find RescueBots as diverting as her brother. In sympathy to his desire to watch TV in a whine-free zone, I take the baby upstairs while I get dressed. I manage to get make-up on both eyes while simultaneously preventing the baby from eating a cuff-link from her father's nightstand. Yay me!
9:10 AM 5 of 14
We're on the way to preschool, miraculously with both snack and lunch packed. That's usually my husband's job and I barely remembered to do it. My 5-year-old rejects my attempts to listen to the news and requests Bruce Springsteen instead. I nearly burst with pride. The baby's eyes are drifting shut, signaling the end of my hopes for a crib nap.
10:15 AM 6 of 14
I am at the curb in front of my house while the baby sleeps. I wish I'd brought my laptop so I could log onto the house wifi and get some work done. I also wish my minivan had a bathroom. I text my husband my situation. Just because.
12 PM 7 of 14
The baby and I run to Target for dish soap, wipes, and a little present from the jewelry section as my reward for making it to lunch time. At checkout, I realize the cart is full and I've spent $82. How does this always happen?
1:15 PM 8 of 14
We pick up my son from preschool where we will linger on the playground chatting with other moms for an hour. This is my only adult interaction for the day. I tell them my husband is out of town. They nod and ask me which pizza place is my favorite for delivery on these nights.
3 PM 9 of 14
I realize not scheduling a playdate for my son was a strategic error. If he'd had a friend over, they could have played while I coaxed the baby down for a nap. Instead, he's circling me like a bored vulture, waiting for me to sit still long enough to pay Go Fish. I decide we should walk to the playground to burn off his energy and lull the baby to sleep in the stroller. My husband texts me a funny story about an executive at his meeting. I respond with a story about poop.
4:30 PM 10 of 14
Home from the playground, I park my son in front of the TV again and let the baby empty the tupperware drawer while I stand in front of the open refrigerator and try to conjure up a plan for dinner. My husband calls and complains that he has to go to a dinner when all he wants is to decompress after a day of meetings. I think having someone else cook would be awesome decompression.
5:15 PM 11 of 14
"Yes, I'd like a Number 2 combo with Diet Coke and a Happy Meal, please."
6:30 PM 12 of 14
I throw both kids in the bath to streamline the dual bedtime process. No one's hair gets washed. I decide that not adding shampoo to the water supply is an environmentally sound choice and congratulate myself for it.
7 PM 13 of 14
Usually, we divide and conquor for bedtime and the kids get separate stories. I attempt simultaneous stories instead with a poor outcome. The baby thinks Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs looks delicious and shrieks like a banshee when I won't let her chew on it. My son is upset because I leave after stories to rock the baby to sleep instead of sitting with him. No one is happy except maybe my husband who's probably eating a steak somewhere.
7:45 PM 14 of 14
Both kids asleep. I star blankly at HGTV for an hour before giving up the pretense and going to bed myself. 5 AM is coming soon.