Flying Solo

There comes a point in most of our lives as parents, when we have to go it alone for a period of time. I’m talking about whether for business or pleasure, when you’re left keeping the home fires burning while your other half is away from home.

Knowing the drill

Over the last couple of years, we’ve become accustomed to the process of Daddy having to work away for a week at a time, maybe three or four times a year. It’s just the way his line of work has gone, and as a stay at home Mum, it’s part of my role to support the needs of the work that’s keeping me where I am too.

We’ve got used to the whole business of it – a Sunday departure and a Saturday return; in body not in mind, until a few hours in bed to get over the jet lag that is. The kids deal with it in ups and downs – the ups when they’re getting any special treatment because Daddy’s away, and the downs normally when they’ve been told off, and Daddy’s absence becomes catastrophic.

We got this

In all honesty, I don’t worry about the week ahead as such anymore; well no more than any normal week anyway. Now the Mouse is not so much of a baby, she is loads more adaptable at bedtimes, mealtimes and can understand and reason so much more than she could a year ago. Tigs is getting more independent and helpful all the time, and is actually a second pair of hands when I need them.

In fact, the novelty of it being just us gets us in a frame of mind to do more fun stuff together – it’s as though I have to make up for the fact that there is only one parent around by doing extra fun things. I’m not sure why we can’t adopt this attitude all the time – I guess it’s because there isn’t any ‘You watch the kids while I just…’ going on. When you know you hold full responsibility it forces you to step up a bit, doesn’t it?

Sometimes, when Daddy’s working away we might receive generous offers of help, dinner or company from family or friends. Do we need help? Yes and No really. We are okay going through the motions together, getting on with things, but a kind offer of help with the children or a bit of moral support is a welcome offer ANY time in my book, so we will always graciously accept and be ever so grateful.

Blue Jobs

As much as I like to moan about doing everything, when the hubs isn’t around, the things he does do stick out like a sore thumb. I haven’t put out the bins since I fell pregnant six years ago, and the bathroom doesn’t clean itself. Cat litter tray? I’d rather not go there – Still holding onto the pregnancy excuse pattern.

We deal with the sleepless nights and early starts together in an alternating system, so the week of full on sleep deprivation can hit like a tonne of bricks. It reminds me how lucky I am that I have a man who helps me survive the tiredness, even though he’s got a tough day ahead at the office.

He’ll often try and work from home to help with after school clubs if he can, and tries to be flexible around any appointments the family might have. We face the bedtime routine together, mixing up the reading to the girls and swapping over when tensions get frayed. When he isn’t here there is a definite hole.

Me time

Let’s be honest here, once the hard work is done and the house falls quiet it can even be kinda nice to have the place to yourself. Full remote control control, a king size bed to spread out in and guilt free getting on with what I fancy doing (browsing clothes shops online, blogging, watching crap, scrolling instagram, going to bed at 9pm). I know that may sound harsh, but I’m sure there is a tiny bit of him (A LOT) looking forward to the 9 hour flight alone, watching boy movies, reading books, dozing in peace. A uninterrupted week of hotel room sleep and a buffet breakfast and fine dining each day (as opposed to spaghetti bolognese plated up three hours ago ready to pop in the microwave).

Sympathy vote

Of course, we will however battle over who had it harder. Travel, jet lag, long working hours and stressful agendas vs broken nights, cabin fever, mealtime monotony and misbehaving kids. In reality, there are no prizes for the worst week competition, so a little bit of understanding has to go both ways.

Doing it my way

The funny thing about having a brief spell of solo parenting, is that suddenly you hold the reins entirely. Dinner, bathtime, bedtime happens how and when you want it done. The laundry is all in the washing bin as opposed to beside it, and the towels don’t accumulate on the bed as they sometimes have a habit of doing. The just emptied space beside the sink stays that way until you next visit it.

The evening routine isn’t derailed by the 6pm excitement of Daddys homecoming each night and as such is a calm (and early) affair. Ducks are in a row in every sense of the word, and the house runs like a well oiled machine.

BUT

Life is not a machine. A week at home without my favourite moment when we hear the key in the door is like watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in black and white. Or when I reach the furthest point of my run, and the battery dies on my phone, meaning I have to run home in silence. Same process, totally different experience.

One the novelty of having the TV to yourself wears off, on around day three, the week ahead suddenly feels long and like a mountain to climb, without the sparkle of having the other half of your team to collapse onto the sofa with in unison. No one to celebrate it being Friday evening with, and a strange sense of guilt in watching an episode of a series you’ve been glued to together.

By Friday, the morning cannot come quick enough, as we all go to bed early as though it’s Christmas eve – just to make the morning arrive sooner.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and whilst so often we wish time would slow down, weeks like these, we just can’t wait to be reunited;  refreshed and appreciative of each other’s role.

x MMT

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43 thoughts on “Flying Solo

  1. anywaytostayathome Reply

    I actually quite like it when husb works away for a bit. We have a little routine that he doesn’t get in the way of, oops. It’s always nice to watch that moment he comes home too, the special bit of excitement when L rushes to the door to get to him first #coolmumclub

  2. Beauty Baby and Me Reply

    Fab post as always honey! I do relate – when Sam is away I miss him but then I do love that I have the whole bed to myself, and that I can watch Made In Chelsea without Sam going “what’s this shit”! xx #coolmumclub

  3. amumfullofdreams Reply

    Such a lovely way to explain exactly what a difference having a supportive partner makes. Even if I would sometimes prefer to have the bed to myself! #coolmumclub

  4. Helen @talking_mums Reply

    I can really relate to this post. Luckily at the mo he jeans’ had to travel much but in a previous job he did. I felt exactly the same. Enjoyed a bit of having the house to myself and no dirty washing lying around but I could not wait for him to come too x
    #coolmumclub

  5. Sunita Reply

    Totally agree that life is not a machine. Even though we get into a bit of a routine nothing is ever the same! I’ve been the one who’s travelled away and Mr H happily runs the show at home. I know he likes the quality time he has with our Munchies and doing things his way around the house. I’ve got to respect that.
    I also remember when he was really ill last year and just couldn’t be around to help out (totally
    not his fault). I found that hard.
    So I have every empathy when parents need to fly solo. Also I have the biggest respect for single parents who fly solo everyday. #coolmumclub

  6. Donna Reply

    I’ve had a huge period of being a single mother. And also periods where Husband is pretty much at work the whole time the kids are awake. It’s tough, but you kinda fall into a pattern don’t you? Then I get annoyed when he has a day off and doesn’t do it my way! #coolmumclub

  7. thetaleofmummyhood Reply

    This is lovely, you sound like the perfect team! #coolmumclub

  8. livedwithlove Reply

    Such a true post, I find it the same, I dread it and love it at the same time! #coolmumclub

  9. franbackwithabump Reply

    Flying solo can br hard work and I’ve done it a few times when Mr J has been away on courses. He also works two nights a week and I do quiye enjoy going for a bath and watching whatever crap I want!! Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub

  10. Ursula (Mumbelievable) Reply

    I think it’s almost tougher and more unsettling on the whole family when it’s not so regular, as Daddy being away is so infrequent. How great that the girls are a little older now and can understand the novelty but also that Daddy comes home again and won’t be away forever. That must be such a comfort. I know quite a few families who run like a well-oiled machine when their other halves aren’t there because they’ve had to get used to him being away every few weeks, and actually they have to adapt to the bigger disruption when he’s home! Sounds like you are doing an incredible job of being both parents keeping everything running when he’s away. Surely you could find some burly man to nip in to help with the bins and the cat litter in his absence though….those will always be blue jobs 😉 Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub lovely. Hope you’re well Xxxx

  11. Mom Of Two Little Girls Reply

    My husband is away at least once a week usually, sometime two or three nights in a row. We have a system. It works. I definitely know & can relate to what you mean about the house running like a well oiled machine when the men are not around. It’s both easier and harder.
    #coolmumclub

  12. mamagrace Reply

    We have this regularly and I miss him terribly. it’s doable but I don’t like doing it. I do go to bed earlier though and once I’ve cleaned I can get on with a few of my solo likes. So thanks for reminding me of that. #coolmumclub

  13. Megan Bidmead Reply

    I often wonder how single mums do it – it must be so hard to keep juggling things all the time. Sounds like you do really well while your other half is away! #coolmumclub

  14. sarahsurreymama Reply

    I really struggle with flying solo but you’re right you hold the reins and I suppose you settle into a routine but I’m always so happy when hes back #coolmumclub

  15. Something About Baby Reply

    I think I’m very lucky that neither of us have to work away from home (apart from the hubby, but it’s so rare and only one night I quickly forget about them!) so whilst I often think how it would be nice to have a few nights on my own, once the kids are in bed, to spread out in the bed, watch whatever tv I like and generally not have to do anything I don’t want to. However I bet reality is very different and it can become lonely and you can’t wait for them to come home (even if they are a little grumpy from jet lag!) #Coolmumclub

  16. motherhoodtherealdeal Reply

    Sometimes flying solo can be easier but I think it’s good to have the experience so you can re-appreciate each other and your roles again! Sending lots of love from this side of #coolmumclub xoxo

  17. justsayingmum Reply

    Oh I hear you – my hubby was away all of last week – playing golf in Majorca – business apparently. I know who had it hardest – not opening that one up for any debates! The key in the door – best sound ever – love! buuuuut the bed to myself – nice! #CoolMumClub

  18. Mum in Brum Reply

    Aw what a lovely post. Sounds like you’re very lucky to have each other. The hubby goes away sometimes but only for a few nights at a time which is just about enough…To be honest all I seem to do on those evenings is blog and I get tired of it in the end – in between a few guilty reality TV pleasures! I do love having the hubby help out for bath/bedtime but it does drive me mental how long it seems to take him! It’s definitely a much quicker process when I have a night alone xx #coolmumclub

  19. pamsbakeandbabyblog Reply

    Can relate so much as my husband works away loads from mon-fri so we are used to it but same as you I miss that daddys home feeling. The kids play up all week and are angels for daddy, we play top teumps for ho has it worst too! Brilliant post! #coolmumclub

  20. Tubbs Reply

    Rev T and the Tubblet don’t go away often, but when they do it’s so weird … I enjoy the time alone as I can do things my way so if I want to watch back to back editions of Location, Location, Location whilst blogging there’s no one to complain … It’s great when they come back! Hope Hubs is back soon

  21. hjsburnett Reply

    Doesn’t it make you feel more grateful? I know it does for me!!! But I know how you feel! Definitely can relate…that moment when Dad comes in in SO LIBERATING!!!! #coolmumsclub

  22. Lucy At Home Reply

    I hate it when my husband is late home from work, never mind when he’s not around at all because he’s working away. I know I couldn’t do this parenting thing without him and I have MASSIVE respect for the single parents out there! I loved your little analogy of him being away like “watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in black and white.” #coolmumclub

  23. Nicole Roder Reply

    I am so lucky that my husband rarely has to go away for work, and when he does, it’s usually just for one night. Even those one night stints are hard for me. It really does make me appreciate all the work that he does. It also makes me think: How on Earth do single moms do this?? Great job taking care of business, mama! You got this! #coolmumclub

  24. mummyhereandthere Reply

    You don’t realise how solid and trying it is until you have to do sole X #coolmumclub

  25. Confessions of a Working Mum Reply

    Can’t live with them, can’t live without them! I look forward to Me time so much but as soon as I’m doing it I just wish I was with my family x hope you’re week going solo flies by xx #coolmumclub

  26. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... Reply

    This week I have been out twice (school meeting one night and my 2nd job the next) and Chris has had to put the kids to bed. I felt so guilty as he works hard all day that I don’t like having to take away his rest time. #coolmumclub

  27. For the love of jars (@4theloveofjars) Reply

    Sounds like you do a fab job of keeping things together. I used to spend the odd night away for work and I used to look forward to it! As you say…buffet breakfast, evening meal and uninterrupted night’s sleep!! #coolmumclub

  28. Digital Motherhood Reply

    I don’t mind my husband being away for a night, the peace is quite nice! I don’t think I could cope for much longer than that though, there’s just so much to do! #coolmumclub

  29. Helena Reply

    Thank you for letting us in to your experience of what parenting solo looks like for you. #coolmumclub

  30. Alana - Burnished Chaos Reply

    I can totally relate to this. My husband works away for 10 weeks at a time and while it’s nice to be able to watch what you want and have the bed to yourself for a few days, it soon wears off. Absence definitely does make the heart grow fonder though and I love seeing the kids when their dad comes home x
    #coolmumclub

  31. mommyandrory Reply

    I really enjoyed this post. My other half is going away this weekend – night finishing – and all week I’ve just been looking forward to having a night in alone. I can imagine how quickly the novelty wears off though! #coolmumclub

  32. Muffintopmummyblog Reply

    Sounds like you’ve got it covered lady! I’ve only got the one and the husband only stays away a night or two at a time & I find it hard. Completely do-able, but having that extra pair of hands is always appreciated! #coolmumclub

  33. Helen Reply

    I feel so lucky to have a husband who doesn’t have to work away. Like you say, when he’s away even for an evening working late- it becomes very apparent how much he does! I know my sister is often alone 2/3 weeks out of the month- I simply couldn’t do it. # coolmumclub

  34. JakiJellz Reply

    I first experienced going solo when our little one was just 6 weeks old! Wow. I was so naive when I agreed he could go on the training course – in another country! Obviously I had agreed with it before the baby arrived. There have been several occasions since that this has happened and each time it’s got easier. I think you just get used to it after a while. Of course it’s always wonderful when he comes home. I can usually be found running out of the door!! Jokes! #CoolMumClub

  35. Angela Watling Reply

    I can completely relate to this. I really enjoy the odd evening when my husband goes out to meet a friend, or is working late. But I’m always glad to know he’ll be back the following evening. On the few occasions he goes away for several nights at a time, the novelty does indeed wear off! #CoolMumClub

  36. ljdove23 Reply

    Flying solo is hard work! Gaz goes away a couple of times a year with work to Austria, and it’s a LONG week without him! I do enjoy it in some ways though, having the bed to myself is amazing and being able to lie on the couch and watch my trash reality TV shows is a bonus too! #coolmumclub

  37. Cheryl @ Tea or Wine Reply

    Yes, I hear you! I’ve recently had to do a 5 day stint on my own so can totally relate. I love having the TV to myself, but it’s a real reminder of just how hard parenting by yourself can be. Big respect to all those single parents out there. #CoolMumClub x

  38. Mrs Mummy Harris Reply

    I feel you on this! Hubby recently went away for three days and as much as I loved the nights to myself and the ability to get more blogging done without someone wanting to tell me what he did that day, I also missed it terribly. I also appreciated all the shit jobs he did for me…. though im yet to admit that to him hahahaha #coolmumclub

  39. Rhyming with Wine Reply

    I salute you Momma! I tend to have a nose bleed if my OH phones to tell me he’s missed his train let alone an entire week of having to clear up after tea and bath the kids simultaneously. It’s amazing how we all settle into our routines isn’t it. Big shout out to the mums (and dads of course) that fly solo all the time. It is blimmin hard work! Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub xx

  40. Sinéad (shinnersandthebrood.com) Reply

    Totally identifying with this post. Mine other half travels a bit and yes re the bins! And pretty much all of the other examples. I don’t mind a bit of time to myself at the same time. #coolmumclub

  41. crummymummy1 Reply

    Sorry but I definitely think he has it easier away for a week – sounds marvellous! #coolmumclub

  42. absolutely prabulous Reply

    I could talk about this with you endlessly. I have ‘flown solo’ in the way you mean (not the more commonly known naughty meaning hee hee) more than I even know. My hubby works long hours and we don’t have normal family hours as it were. Add to this the fact that he worked and lived away for almost 2 years from the time our youngest was just 5 months old and frankly, I could write the book on it. It’s horses for courses and I guess you just get on with it as you have no other choice. #coolmumclub

  43. Silly Mummy Reply

    I only fly solo these days. I am always very tired, and I do have all the jobs to do (though I always did really), but I like the evenings left to my own devices, actually. But then I’m sure it would be nice sharing the workload with someone supportive! #coolmumclub

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