flying solo: how I cope for weeks on end
Since we met, William has always worked away, it’s how we work best. Last year he got a job at home working Monday to Friday which we thought would be so much better… it wasn’t. He didn’t enjoy it and we felt like we seen each other less! So over the summer he got a new job but now we have 2 kids… I was so nervous! The last time he went away Abel had just turned 2 so still didn’t really understand exactly what was going on but now he is nearly 4 and of course we have little Freida. Would I cope with the 2? Would Abel be OK? Would Freida be alright with William when he got back?!
That first 8 week trip has been and gone now so I can happily report that we survived but needless to say it was TOUGH. For all of us. I’ll write more about how we cope with the long periods being apart in time but for now I wanted to share some things that I found really helped when I’m flying solo as I often get asked how the frick I cope lol.
Sleep This was something I was really worrying about, I can remember being so knackered with Abel so how the hell would I be with 2 of them, being on my own AND the nursery being on summer break?! Luckily Freida only gets up twice most nights BUT usually one of those is about 4/5am and Abel gets up at 6am. Queue TV babysitter, I used this a lot for an extra hours sleep and it really helped. Mum guilt can GTF. Also closing your eyes but remaining awake if you are really desperate does help slightly through the day.
Getting ready I found just getting up and ready ASAP worked best although don’t feel too defeated if you decide f*ck it and just have a lazy day. After Freida has got up before 6am whenever it may be I’m usually pretty lucky that she will sleep til about 8am so I either take that opportunity and just get up before she does or get ready in the living room where I can amuse the 2 of them and attempt to sort my face etc. Showering before bed helps and my hair only needs washed once a week thank god (just don’t come too close on day 6…).
Days out Be prepared. Wherever you go make sure you have enough food, clothes, nappies, amusement and whatever else. Don’t be scared to eat out, I went out for lunch myself with the 2 of them a few times and it wasn’t that bad! I always made sure I had our ergo and the pram with Abel’s board thing as he still gets tired. Always take enough snacks for you and kids.
Social life This is a tough one. People are willing to take 1 child but 2..? I did get one night out when I managed to sync babysitters but most of the time it was lunches or doing child friendly things until William got home. My whatsapp group of mamas kept me sane a lot of the time!
Housework I am a very tidy person so having kids has been testing in this department to say the least. I still find it hard to leave dishes overnight or leave the house with shit lying everywhere but over the last few months it’s definitely got more normal! I tidy as I go a lot and use baby wipes more than I should. I do a wash everyday basically and try to have the place reasonably tidy before I go to bed as it helps my mood the next day and I thank my past self. Getting Abel to “help” keeps him amused. Baby wearing helps early on too!
Food I found this quite hard because unlike when Abel was a baby and I could just eat whenever, he needs a routine to stay in place so I had to keep up with meals. Letting meal times slip by an hour or so each way isn’t the end of the world and making food in advance whenever you get the chance helps. Make enough so you have some leftover and do online shopping. We do a lot of home cooking but when William is away I try to buy things for quickness.
Bath time This can me MENTAL. I did attempt a bath with all 3 of us and it didn’t go to badly. Usually I either have a bath with Abel and sit Freida at the side or bath with Freida while Abel watches some TV or if I’m really lucky I bath the kids in the day and when Abel is in bed and Freida is happy I get a bath alone, bliss.
Bedtime Possibly the hardest thing when alone. Abel usually goes to bed around 7 and at the same time Freida is starting to get tired. I usually try and feed her enough to keep her happy or wear her and do Abel’s story etc then hope he stays in bed while I then get her to sleep. There have been many nights where he just won’t settle so I don’t get Freida to sleep til late but I just try my best to stay calm and go between the 2. I won’t lie bedtime is so unpredictable with a baby as it is so with a 3 year old as well you just need to take each night as it comes.
Staying sane and getting me time I’m quite a patient person but I will admit I did break a few times either through lack of sleep or Abel doing his best to annoy me. There were times where I just had to remove myself from the situation and take 2 minutes alone in another room to breath and pull myself back together. It’s easy to criticise yourself and feel bad for muttering under your breath “f*ck saaaaake” more than once but we are doing a bloody hard job whether it’s alone or otherwise. Accept the help, have a glass of wine at night, eat too much cake and chocolate, watch crap TV once the older one is in bed. Whatever makes you feel relatively human again, do it.
I hope this helps someone out there whether you too are facing a long period of solo parenting or are just feeling nervous about your partner returning to work! You can do this and remember there is a whole bunch of mamas online that are there anytime you need them too.