I recently came into this situation with my husband out of the state for a week, and I definitely took for granted all that he does to keep this family running on a day-to-day basis! I have to admit, I was a little bit nervous about him leaving on a trip for almost a week, leaving me to take care of our newly one-year-old. All. By. Myself.
Add in the fact that BOTH my daughter and I were sick with runny noses and a cough (thank you daycare!) and it can make for quite a nightmare. Baby doesn’t sleep, mama doesn’t sleep. That’s pretty much the story in a nutshell.
So here are a few tips to minimize the stress, and how best to prepare for when – inevitably – you or your spouse leaves for a few days. You will be thankful, your spouse will be thankful, and you will have a much greater appreciation for what it takes to keep a family functioning on a daily basis. This, in turn, makes for a much happier family!
FOOD. One of the biggest time sucks in history. Maybe because I can’t cook? In my mind, nothing is harder than cooking a full meal every night with a baby who wants your constant attention. Sometimes the baby Bjorn won’t do it, or maybe it’s just not safe to have them that close to the stove, but cooking with a baby in tow is simply a nightmare! Plan ahead, prepare at least a couple dinners to keep in the fridge or freezer and trust me, you’ll be glad you did. Breakfast and lunch usually aren’t as hard, as many a times we are eating on the go. But dinner is when we’re at home, settling down before bedtime, and trying to enjoy a hearty meal together as a family.
SUPPLIES. Stock up on diapers, wipes, butt cream, whatever you might need. I’m BIG into planning so I’ve always got a stockpile of things we’ll need for the next 6 months (just kidding, 3 months). Now is not the time to realize you have to run to the store at 8am because you ran out of diapers and baby woke up with a ten pound smelly diaper.
LAUNDRY. Is laundry do-able with a baby? Yes. Is it easy? No. I have tried putting our little one in a carrier, I’ve held her in my arms, set her on top of the dryer, put her in the laundry basket, let her roam free in the laundry room when she simply wouldn’t sit still… I’ve done it all. Bottom line is, these are tips to make your life easier while you are running the one [wo]man show. So, at least do the essentials and whatever baby clothes you’ll need for the next few days and call it good. You may have to run through your complete rotation of undies but as long as those are clean, you’ll survive.
MULTI-TASK. I know, I know. We already do this on a daily basis. But this is where you really need to hone in on your skills. While baby is happily eating, put those dishes away. While baby is dreaming about how wonderful you are, put her toys away. Otherwise, you’re left cleaning everything up at the end of the day when you’re already tired. I can’t stand waking up to a messy house!
ENLIST HELP. Whether it’s for a few hours or a couple of days, take up family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, or whoever else you trust to give you a bit of a break. Don’t be too proud or shy to ask for or accept help when you need it. Taking care of children at any age is not an easy task and you deserve time to unwind or disconnect for a little while. Happy mama, happy baby!
R E L A X and E N J O Y. Given everything mentioned above, one of the most important things to do is to just enjoy your time with the littles. They will NEVER be this young again (although they may act like it sometimes)! Use this quality time to create precious memories. Take a step back from the chores around the house and savor the moments with your babies.