I have the utmost respect for single parents!
I really don't know how some of you do it! Although I will say this. I am at the end of day 4 (of 8 days) and I have come to realize a few things:
1. Your normal routine will change BUT you must have a routine!
2. Truly pick your battles!
3. Help is great and necessary BUT sometimes can be overwhelming!
4. YOU must give up for your kids!
My kids have been great while their dad has been away, even though I know both of them are merely missing the day to day interactions they have with their dad! You know like wrestling at night, being crazy, eating dinner together and on and on. Despite the multiple questions from my almost two-year old like, "where's daddy?" and statements like, "I miss my daddy!" He is doing swimmingly!
The routine has changed, however there are a few parts of the routine that I would not negotiate. First yes, eat what you want! Not just go have at the sweets (if we had any in the house) but what choices do you want for dinner and let's go shopping to pick it out!. That seems to have worked. However, bedtime, the actual time for bed (non-negotiable) needed to provide for some structure and of course both boys are adhering to it. In fact both of them are almost putting themselves to bed.
I always choose my battles with the boys. I don't have someone else to rely on to support me so the buck stops here. But I am reevaluating what my intended goal is. Is it to just enforce rules? What rules? Why is that particular rule so important or should I focus on what I want to have happen and if there is an alternative way of getting to that end result than what I originally thought of is that altering my idea of parenting? NO.. so go with it. In the end it will save you time, and frustration.
I have help for sure. I have my mother in town supporting the kids and making sure I am able to get to work and the kids picked up and dropped of to the places that they need to be at. I have planned for additional help (sitter) for the latter part of this week. Of course, this help is both necessary and wonderful and at the same time setting up for it, getting everyone on the same page and not forgetting something is difficult and overwhelming.
I have pushed the stuff I like to do aside, I have given up the TV shows I like and traded them for the Disney channel and Pixar movies and I have not had an adult conversation or "me" time until the very end of the day if at all because I am so exhausted. So yes give up for your kids. I do this partly to spend time with them and give them some normalcy but also to make sure that they are learning through this process.
I am only walking in the single parent shoes for 8 days, but in the first four I have learned a tremendous amount. I only have two kids and the juggling act is ridiculous. I have a new found appreciation for the time it takes single parents to plan, get kids where they need to be, hold down a job and constantly being needed. It is a huge responsibility. Some make it look so easy almost like there is no effort being put into it, but for me it is a struggle. I love my kids, I love my work, I love my husband and I see an end.