Well, it happened again. The husband had a business trip. It was a short one...Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday evening. Except...it wasn't. The work there was delayed. He had to stay an extra day. The flights back were booked, so he ended up doing a lot of driving (2 hours in Arizona to get to the airport, 2 hours in California to get home).
Now, I always freak out a little bit, at least, when my spouse travels. Being a single parent is hard work. It's stressful to handle - especially now there are two of them. And I still have a job. And I don't have much in the way of a "village" (we live far from our families). So I need to have strategies for making it through - pre-cooked meals, entertainment options. Even still...I am never happy and I dread it. And lately, the baby has started waking frequently (teething?) and being hard to settle back down. This after 3 months of sleeping 10 hours.
One wake-up call came the morning my husband was leaving, in the form of a facebook post from a friend. He was asking for prayers for friends of his (nobody I know) whose < 1 month old baby daughter died of SIDS. Healthy little baby, just didn't wake up one day.
That shut down the whining really fast. There are worse things than lack of sleep. It really helped me let go and ENJOY the time with my boys instead of seeing the time alone with them as a burden and "when can I get my me time?" (Hint: I never did get the me time.)
I kept it simple and organized. Dinners were:
Tuesday: leftover enchiladas with frozen green beans (microwaved)
Wednesday: leftover moroccan lentil soup (from Saturday that I'd frozen) with bread
Thursday: repeat of Wednesday
Friday (husband home): ordered pizza
Lunches were also leftovers. I didn't have to do any cooking beyond making toast, heating soup, or microwaving. There were minimal dishes. I was able to nurse the baby 2-3 times after coming home, feed him cereal, work on homework with my 1st grader, have him do his daily reading, and read to him also. On top of that, he got a little extra TV time.
Before going to bed, I had our three lunch bags lined up on the counter: baby food, paci, and bottle in the baby's (just add the milk bottles in the morning). Nuts, orange, banana in mine (just add the refrigerated items), and same for my older son. It was very laid back and relaxing. Why? Well, one reason is that I left later. I had to stay at home until my son got picked up for school, so I had an extra 20-30 minutes (bonus is there is less traffic later also, bad part is I am too late to work for the morning meeting). Also, I just didn't bother pumping in the morning. That's another 20 minutes I gained. I won't be able to continue that though. And of course, no workouts (but I only work out Tues/Thurs during the week as it is.) These extra minutes in the morning meant most items were picked up from the floor and we were able to play games together - Uno, Connect Four, etc.
Now I'm thinking that it was so relaxing that I need to try and capture some of those habits now that my husband is back. I always pre-prepare meals, but generally at least do some cooking the night of (usually a vegetable). Can I do that ahead of time too? I will try that. Can I have the lunch bags lined up every night?
The only really big negative for the whole week was the lack of sleep. The baby was awake a lot Tuesday. The rain came on Wednesday and kept me awake. And by Thursday the baby had a cold and spent a lot of time coughing. I was awake with insomnia all three nights for at least a couple of hours. So, I'm dragging. On that note on this Friday evening, I am headed to bed. I hope to catch up on my sleep this weekend. I tried to spend some time this evening planning the week's meals. However, I found that I had enthusiasm, but not the brain power. It will have to wait until morning before the big grocery shop.