My husband was on his annual 2 week Reserves training the last two weeks. I was panicked before he even left. 14 long days with my two toddlers and being 6 months pregnant, working full time, and having after school and weekend activities. It was a situation where it made me realize that yes, I need help and support to get through the 2 weeks.
I’m not one to ask for help, though. I guess I feel like I’m short of being a good mom if I ask people for help. This is going to sound bad but I almost feel like it’s better to pay my nanny to help me than to ask my friends for help. Why? They all have jobs and they all have their own families to tend to so I didn’t want to burden them with my problems.
But over the two weeks, I learned a few of things.
- It’s okay to ask for help from your friends!
- If I plan in advance and have room for flexibility, everything works out well.
- The crock pot became one of my best friends.
Friends are your friends because they support you. You’ve built a relationship with those individuals and they have offered to help you. They wouldn’t offer it if they didn’t mean it. So, one day I had one of my girlfriends come over and just hang out. It was just nice to have another adult in the house to have a conversation with, to help get juice for one of the kids or to just cuddle with the kids because my lap is getting smaller by the day. She didn’t care that my house was a complete disaster. She didn’t care that the kids were eating a meal that didn’t have vegetables. She didn’t care that I was in my pajamas (she actually showed up in her PJs!).
Use your friends for play dates! This helps BOTH of you. 🙂 You get adult time and the kids get kid time! It’s awesome because the kids wear each other out and the kids are usually tired after playing for a couple of hours. It helps with socialization skills for them as well. Win-Win for everyone!
One of the things I did was refer to our community’s calendar to figure out what was age appropriate for my kids. One of the sites I use is Macaroni Kid. It’s a great way to find things to do with your kids during the day (for me, on the weekends). It’ll also allow you to get out and explore the city/county in which you live! We love going out and doing different things. With two small kids, I’ve chosen activities/events where I can “control” where the kids run around. For example, a zoo on my own may be a little too stressful because one child may be interested in the monkeys while the other wants to run over to the giraffes. But if we went to our local children’s museum (which is not that large), I am confident that I could keep an eye on each child. So, make sure you think about your ability to keep up with your little ones before choosing your activity/event. There were so many fun things happening but I had to pass them up for the sake of sanity and stress.
We spent a lot of time at the playground near our home. Thank goodness we have enough to rotate through the various ones in our community but if you don’t, just do different activities at your park such as chase, treasure hunting, kicking the ball, riding bikes, etc. The same “boring” place could become a new and exciting place with just a little bit of a change in activity. My friend’s daughter is in the same ballet class as my daughter so we have started a standing play date and picnic after class. The kids love grabbing a quick lunch and having a picnic in the park together. Then they play on the playground or at our house.
I recently purchased the Fix It and Forget It cookbook which has over 1,400 recipes for the slow cooker. I went through and chose recipes that had 5 or 6 ingredients in it because those would be the “easiest” to make and prepare in the mornings. This allowed me to have dinner ready for the kids and myself as soon as we walked through the door! It’s like having your own secret chef. It also decreased the dishes (don’t forget to use a slow cooker liner!) and the amount of time you had to spend in the kitchen slaving over a healthy meal.
I also took advantage of Trader Joe‘s frozen meals such as their fettuccine alfredo, or their chow mein, etc. These 15 minute meals were so quick, decent tasting and also a life saver! We also went through the drive through at Presto Pasta and ordered our food at local restaurants a couple of times.
The final thing I took advantage of was our local grocery delivery option. Going to the grocery store was a trip I refused to take with my two little ones as I knew that “entertaining” them for an hour while I was trying to gather food for the next two weeks would have been a disaster. The best part was that I could take my time during my break at work to order what I needed. The website allowed me to have free delivery since it was my first time (yay for saving $13!!) and to take advantage of online coupons as well as my savings card. Then the grocery delivery guy showed up the next day, brought all the groceries into my kitchen and left. It was so easy and stress free! I had almost everything I needed.
These two weeks ended up being not-so-bad although I must admit that by the end of it, I was tired and ready for my husband to return. I am thankful for my friends and for the local community resources available to me. If it weren’t for these things, I wouldn’t have been able to keep my kids busy and happy. I did have many loads of laundry sitting in our living room waiting to be folded, floors that needed to be mopped and vacuumed, dogs that needed a bath, etc. but I was calm and not over stressed. It was a successful 2 weeks!
What do you do to help save your sanity when you’re alone?