My husband travels a lot for work. He loves his job, even though it does require sacrifice.
We made the decision as a family that it was worth it. He is a VERY present father, so his absences do not outweigh the good times we share.
I have been extremely ill lately, and currently require substantial help around our home. My amazing parents have stepped in, and put in over-time when Richard is gone.
Before HG hit me though, solo-parenting was a regular occurrence. My parents still lived in Texas, and we had just moved to Washington. I was quite literally SOLO.
Here are a few habits we formed that have helped our children adjust to their Daddy not always coming home.
Develop a way to communicate when the other parent IS or IS NOT coming home that evening.
I had to be creative with this one. My daughter Lani asks me every single morning “Daddy?” She expects me to say one of two things:
“Daddy work” OR
My answer sets the expectation for her day. She may not always like the answer, so I give her the space to process. Then, she is much calmer the rest of the day.
Libby does not ask for her Daddy, but she certainly feels his absence HARD. We knew we had to give her a way to tell me that she wanted her Daddy. I made her a visual to ask to call him.
Instructions on how to make/utilize visuals can be found HERE.
Some times my husband is in different states and different time zones, so this makes contact very difficult. So, we always prepare ahead of time.
We use the app called Marco Polo. Richard prepares videos each day of him talking to the twins. He also records songs and prayers from their nighttime routine.
The twins love it. Marco Polo is a great back up for when FaceTime is not available.
Lower the bar
The longer Richard is gone, the more I know I have to allow for grace. For ALL of us.
The twins need more space to let me know how much they miss Daddy. That often looks like longer, or more, frequent tantrums.
When I would usually dish a time out, I have started asking them “Do you miss Daddy?”
Almost every single time it disarms them.
Instead of screaming at me, they cry with me.
Then we look at pictures or videos Richard has sent us and they completely turn around.
I usually like a clean house, empty sink, and running dish washer when I go to bed. By night 3 or 4 of solo parenting though, I give myself the grace to not get everything done.
Dinner at McDonalds? Sure. Throwing all the toys in one bin instead of sorting them? Why not.
Enjoy the perks
Traveling for work does come with perks.
Whether it’s airline miles that you get to collect for personal use, or a free hotel stay, make the most of it!
This week, Richard was working a conference that was within driving distance from us. We figured out the one 2 hour break he had in his schedule, and we made a trip to visit him.
It was SO fun! The twins giggled the entire time! They watched boats come in, and geese take off from Daddy’s hotel room.
We will make longer trips with their Daddy once I recover from HG. For now, this was absolutely perfect.
It may be chaotic to travel with three kids under 3 (once baby E is born), but seeing the girls light up around their Daddy is worth every bit of it. They are so proud of him, and so am I!
This is what works for our family. I would love to hear from other parents that hold down the house solo.
Let’s share ideas, funny stories, or ways to stay positive about this “different” kind of lifestyle!