Surviving Husband's business traveling - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 07-25-2006, 01:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm wondering how other SAHMs "survive" being a "single" Mom when their husbands are away on business. How do you keep from going crazy? I have 4 kids - 9, 6, 4, and 12m - and homeschool. I need ideas to keep me sane while my husband's away for several days/nights at a time. I'm so used to his help with the kids, etc, esp at bed time but also at dinner time....

Thanks,
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#2 of 21 Old 07-25-2006, 03:56 AM
 
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I posted a similar question a week or so ago. Scroll down and you'll see it. My children are a little younger, so things are different here.


My advice......have things planned. Buy most of the food you need ahead of time---planning my meals has helped a lot. Have a routine and go to sleep when they do ---you need your rest!
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#3 of 21 Old 07-25-2006, 04:03 AM
 
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definitely think of ways to increase your stamina for those times he'd be giving you a break. I keep meal time simple, and take them outside to ride bikes, swim, play tennis or the park before bedtime. nothing worse than having them bounce off the walls inside when I'm losing steam at 7 pm! we try to make night time special by making popcorn together, watching movies and playing card and board games. just having them think we're "doing" something keeps their energy focused, and there's less bickering too.
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#4 of 21 Old 07-25-2006, 09:48 AM
 
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Hugs to you, mama! Wow! I can hardly imagine taking care of 4 by myself. :
My DH is away right now and has been since last Friday morning. But I only have one little 8 month old to care for! I couldn't read and not post though. I send you patience, strength, increased energy, and cleverness. Good luck!
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#5 of 21 Old 07-25-2006, 01:15 PM
 
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all good advice so far.

I would add that you should do your best to remain calm and not appear stressed about it in front of your kids. For me, the days leading up to his leaving get me all wound up, as I naturally anticipate the worst. Actually once he's gone and we get into a rhythm, it's not so bad. But I notice my son senses my stress beforehand and starts chewing his nails and getting clingy etc.

Also, it's sometimes good to invite friends or family over during the time he's away. Keeps everyone's mind off it...

good luck!

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#6 of 21 Old 07-25-2006, 07:12 PM
 
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I keep dinner as simple as possible. The end of the day is when it gets bad and we/I am losing steam as someone said in another post. I usually plan ahead and have my mother or sister to come over in the evening to help me out or just keep me company and help keep me sane. When Dh is away I still pick up stepkids for evening activities soccer/piano etc. so I enroll the help of mia and fia they will often drive the kids one way ( step kids live 1/2 drive away) - I don't know if you have extended family but enlist some help so you are not so alone. or just get on mdc and vent if necessary !
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#7 of 21 Old 07-25-2006, 08:12 PM
 
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I find the evenings the hardest, so I take the kids to the park or pool after dinner. They get to burn off engery and I get to rest.

Have the 3 older ones help clean up from dinner (or assign one of them to keep the baby happy while the other 2 help clean up dinner). Knowing that as soon as the kitchen is tidy we are going out is very motivating to my kids.

Make of list for them of what they need to do to get ready for bed and add pictures for the 4 year old. Here's ours:

1. 10 minute pick up time.
2. Put on jammies.
3. Brush teeth.
4. Read.

It is hanging up on the wall outside their rooms. It helps them get through the steps more independantly. I actually set the timer for 10 minutes and we all pick up and then we quit when the timer goes off. It doesn't get the house actually clean, but does keep things sort of under control.

My DH is out of town this week and I don't feel like doing a thing.: I don't know what is wrong with me! He travels a ton so it really isn't a big deal for us (we have a simple routine that works for us) but I'm just lethargic this week. May be it's the heat.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#8 of 21 Old 07-26-2006, 08:18 PM
 
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My DH also travels for work, but my little guy is only 3 months. My best advice is to keep things simple for the time he's away. I know that sometimes with all the preparing of his bottles etc I don't have time to eat a big meal. Meal replacement or protein bars are a staple on those days. I can finish one while the bottle heats up and it gives me that extra boost.

I also rent dvds while he's away. I know thats not everyones cup of tea, but I love curling up and watching a movie with little DS.

Since your are a bit older maybe you could make one of the nights a game night? Let everyone pick their favorite game and play!!!

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#9 of 21 Old 07-26-2006, 08:57 PM
 
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Keep meals simple. I cook a bigger meal at lunch and then dinner is toast or sandwhiches. Something quick and easy.

Get out of the house. But do not over do it. I try to do one or two things a day (including shopping and errands) because if I cram it all into one day like I do with DH home, I crash at 5pm. Yeah...and when bed is 3.5 hours away, we get grumpy LOL

Let it go. I slow down the cleaning. So there are dog hair tumbleweeds and the shower walls try to converse with me....I will get it done eventually.

Fun things. We watch movies, snuggle in bed in the morning and read, sit in the wading pool, eat fun things and treats. Some of which are used as rewards for being nice to each other We pile blankets and don't clean up, sometimes it is just not worth the struggle.

Friends. Invited them over. I have a few who know what I am going through and will watch the kiddos while I have a nice long shower. Cause my showers alone are quick with 'mom ears on'.

I also let them know that while Daddy is away, we all have to try our hardest to get along. Because we are all happier when we get along.
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#10 of 21 Old 07-26-2006, 11:14 PM
 
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Keep busy!! There was a previous thread recently and I posted on that with a longer reply. Keep in mind too that it could be worse. (I always feel better when someone has a situation similar to mind so I can commisserate).


My DH is deploying to Iraq. Again. I'll be alone from Aug 10 until Jan 2007. So... you could have it much worse. Alas... I could be an army wife, and have to deal with year deployments. I really admire those wives.
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#11 of 21 Old 07-27-2006, 12:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cardinal
Keep busy!! There was a previous thread recently and I posted on that with a longer reply. Keep in mind too that it could be worse. (I always feel better when someone has a situation similar to mind so I can commisserate).


My DH is deploying to Iraq. Again. I'll be alone from Aug 10 until Jan 2007. So... you could have it much worse. Alas... I could be an army wife, and have to deal with year deployments. I really admire those wives.
Yep, I'm in the same boat. Except my DH is Army. He was gone from Feb 05- Feb 06 with only 2 weeks home for our DD's birth. Now he is gearing up for his second year long deployment starting either in October or January.

The time apart went by fast as I stayed busy working, growing a baby, and then being a full time mommy. I stayed with family for most of the time, but will NOT be doing that again, lol. I know this next deployment will be more difficult since DD will be an active toddler, so please keep the tips coming!
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#12 of 21 Old 07-27-2006, 01:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelarbp
I'm wondering how other SAHMs "survive" being a "single" Mom when their husbands are away on business. How do you keep from going crazy? I have 4 kids - 9, 6, 4, and 12m - and homeschool. I need ideas to keep me sane while my husband's away for several days/nights at a time. I'm so used to his help with the kids, etc, esp at bed time but also at dinner time....

Thanks,
I have 3 kiddos and homeschool too. My youngest is 5 so that does make it easier. When he's off I do some fun things at home....cook easy stuff...have sandwiches for dinner, take out, rent movies, have friends over, stay up really late and watch a movie, take a nap next day...
Think of it as a time for YOU to do something and fit it in. With a baby it is challenging I know...been there...I always figure I can indulge a little while my dh is gone because I'm SO saving us money by not going with. You know... no extra plane tickets, hotel and food costs...I'm such a martyr that way.

My dh is actually away on business right now and my schedule goes to hell (I love it BTW!) .... Gotta run!!! I have a repair guy coming in 45 minutes and I am not even dressed, sitting at the puter and still sipping on coffee.... Life is good.
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#13 of 21 Old 07-28-2006, 07:06 PM
 
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Chocolate.


My dp is home two nights/one day each week. So she is away 5 nights/6 days each week for work. I've only got two kids and we don't do any type of school so that is easier, but still it is hard.

-I sneak chocolate during the day. Perhaps it is the caffeine, the sugar or just that fact that it is forbidden and I have it, but it does make me feel better. I'm pretty fit right now, so I feel no guilt about the extra calories.

-When the kids get busy with something, I will put my walkman on with a book-on-tape and do my thing- dishes, laundry, cleaning, whatever. That is the only way I get to do any 'reading' and I feel like I've escaped for a bit.

-If the kids haven't got busy with something on there own, and I need a break, I'll set them up with books on tape. My 5 year old can listen for hours if I let him. My 3 year old listens for 15 minutes but in the meantime always seems to get busy with some little cars or something that keep her going for another 15+. (Sometimes I debate about getting dvds from the library to set up on the computer, but I haven't gone that far. Yet)

-Give yourself the credit you deserve! Your self talk makes a difference, stress the positive, not the times you blew it! Not "Geez- I really lost it over the jelly on the wall." but "I did pretty well when the 3 oldest were clamoring for xyz." I know I remember the times I lost it forever, but hardly acknowledge the hours and days when I was a pretty darn good mother alone!

Me.  With 1 spouse, 4 kids, 16 chickens, 74 matchbox cars, 968,562+ legos, a dishwasher waiting to be emptied, a washing machine waiting to be filled and a lost cup of tea in the house.

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#14 of 21 Old 07-29-2006, 05:26 AM
 
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One more thing...go shopping! Yesterday I did. So liberating!!
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#15 of 21 Old 07-29-2006, 10:42 AM
 
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yeah, shopping and chocolate help. so does a glass of wine after they're asleep.
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#16 of 21 Old 07-29-2006, 02:12 PM
 
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yeah, shopping and chocolate help. so does a glass of wine after they're asleep.
Oh yea...WINE! That's what I've been missing this week!!!

My dh will be home tonight....hopefully I can get the kids to bed at a decent time they were up till 2 last night....our schedule is WAY off!
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#17 of 21 Old 07-30-2006, 08:49 PM
 
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another thing we do a lot (my memory is now jogged since dh is away in Bratislava and Prague for 2 weeks) for those critical night hours is to put music on and have dance parties and "performances." I put out a big tub of musical instruments and I just let them have at it-we sing, get crazy, and have a great time.
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#18 of 21 Old 08-01-2006, 11:12 PM
 
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My DH travels a bunch and I have a 1 and 2 yr. old DDs. My advice is that it gets easier with time. If his traveling is a rare occurrence, then don't sweat it, cut some corners, and just try to relax as much as you can. I usually try to plan dinners well in advance, and prepare anything cooked (if it is elaborate) earlier in the day. Otherwise, we mostly just eat things that have been previously frozen with simple side dishes such as steamed veggies.

Also, the closer you stick to schedule and try not to dwell on DH's absence, the better the kids will be - which means your day will be easier. If I'm upset about my DH's travels, it seems to have a huge effect on the kids. One idea would be to treat it like a holiday of sorts. Serve up a special dessert, or eat something unusual/untraditional for breakfast that the kids only get when daddy's away...it might take the edge of of their's (and your) anxiety.

Good luck.
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#19 of 21 Old 08-01-2006, 11:58 PM
 
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I'm also a homeschooling mom of 4 kids, and my DH travels occasionally for work. I agree with the others about keeping busy in the evening- that helps so much! We'll go to the park or for a bike ride so that the kids don't go bonkers inside the house. I always plan my meals, so that's not anything new for me, but I'm sure that it helps to keep me from getting overwhelmed. As for bedtime, we follow the same routine whether DH is here or not, so that's not too much different.

Another thing we do sometimes is we go on vacation when DH is travelling. My DH will be going out of town in a couple of weeks, so the rest of us are planning to go camping for part of the time that DH is gone. That way we're not sitting around the house waiting for him to come. The kids have something special to look forward to.

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#20 of 21 Old 08-02-2006, 01:11 PM
 
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You have gotten superb advice. Simplicity and organization help us the most. Also counting blessings....it is DH's job (travel included) that afford you the ability to be at home with your children. So there is a silver lining to it.
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#21 of 21 Old 08-03-2006, 03:20 PM
 
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I don't have four by myself when DH is away but I do have two. One two year old and the other is one. It's pretty tiring. Especially when DH is the one who gives DS his evening bottle (He's not ready to give it up, and I am NOT making him) and while I am rocking DS after said bottle DH is usually rocking DD. It was hard but my best friend came over and spent the two nights with us that DH was gone this week and helped pick up the slack. She is NOT my sister but I call her that and the DC are her niece and nephew. I am so glad I have a friend who is willing to help. Is there somebody like that who you could call on for help?
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