A couple of weeks ago, the hubby and I were out at Kiawah Island to run an errand. We parked our car and went exploring at the Sanctuary, one of the resorts on the island. We didn't spend more than half an hour there, but it was a beautiful night and the waves and sand were perfect. Most of our shore excursions require a 15-pound stroller, two huge bags and at least fifty pounds of kid, so it was liberating to stroll on the sand with nothing but the basics.
It's liberating, of course, but not nearly as fun, especially when trips to the beach are usually greeted by this:
* Because I know you'll ask, Gravy Too is wearing an iPlay swimsuit with a built-in swim diaper and carries with her a Sophie the Giraffe, the standard teething toy and baby shower gift for this generation. She lounges on a Leachco Podster pillow.
The hubby traveled out of town for work last week. Any mom with young kids probably knows what I felt in the days leading up to his trip: sheer, utter panic. But this panic wasn't the kind where I was running around flailing my arms and yelling. I usually reserve that for less important matters, like when that Royal Baby will be born already.
No, this panic was more quiet -- the kind that percolated under the surface, bubbling up only once in awhile in moments when I would watch the hubby doing something, like loading our dishwasher, taking out our trash or getting the bath ready for the kids, when I'd realize that OH MY LORD I HAVE TO DO THIS BY MYSELF. For a WEEK.
The hubby and I decided that the only way I'd manage both kids while he was gone was if I had an extra set of hands in the evenings so that I could do the mad dinner/bath/bedtime dash and not lose my already-scattered mind. To that end, I spent two weeks trying to find a babysitter to help us out.
Then, at the last minute, my mom -- the kids' "puo puo" -- came to the rescue. She volunteered to stay with us, and oh Nelly, did we ever breathe a huge sigh of relief. The week went as smoothly as it could have possibly gone, and by the time the hubby returned, the house was still standing, no animals had been harmed, and everyone still had their limbs and sanity intact.
The kids, of course, were thrilled with the hubby's return, and immediately demanded we make a pile of family on our bed.
We were only too happy to oblige.
Tips on Surviving When One Parent is Away
Ask for help! In the absence of nearby family members who can pitch in, websites such as SitterCity.com and Care.com allow you to post your job requirements, and both sites provide background checks and references for applicants.
Accept the inevitable. Laundry stays in unfolded piles, papers are scattered, and bills will have to wait. I used to stress about it, but now, it's the least of my concerns. As long as the kids are bathed, cleaned and fed, the rest can wait until later.
Communicate, communicate. FaceTime and Skype are great ways to give kids interaction with their traveling parent. We tried every night to give the kids at least a few minutes of "daddy time," even if it meant tears when it was time to end the call.
Do something special. The Gravy Baby loves playing with his water table, and so, weather permitting, he got to play with it every single day while the hubby was gone (usually it's reserved for weekends and special occasions). Fun distractions made our week fly by.
Use your slow cooker. I cannot tell you how many times I seared a hunk of meat into my slow cooker, made a salad or some side vegetables, and called it a day. For some of my favorite slow cooker recipes, check my Pinterest board here.