Surviving and Recharging While Flying Solo

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I picked Scott up from the airport yesterday after a 3 day business trip. It’s something that happens pretty frequently, especially this time of year. Let me tell you, I have a whole lot of respect for parents who do the whole single parenting thing for long stretches. The weeks and half weeks that I’m left to manage a house, two kids, and 3 animals, (who all seem to need my undivided attention at the VERY SAME MOMENT) completely drain me.

Finding time for myself is hard enough when I’m just managing things on my own during the workday. As much as Scott tries to relieve me of all my duties and give me some much needed time to myself when he’s home, it just doesn’t alway happen with so many things going on and growing up around here that really need 2 grownups’ help.

Most weeks he’s home, though, I do manage to get out or decompress in some way, even if that means not coming to bed until 12:30. I’d say the majority of my “me” time happens from 10:30 until midnight.

But when he’s gone? Oh my. It’s next to IMPOSSIBLE. And yet, I know that’s when it’s most important to recharge myself. I’ve learned to cope, to carve out just a smidge of “me” time over the last couple years by doing the following when he’s gone:

1. The house is at the BOTTOM of the priority list. I keep this place livable, one step above gross. Beyond that, all bets are off. If I get around to the laundry, I do. We go out to eat far more when Scott’s gone just so I don’t have to deal with dishes 3 times a day.

2. I take small breaks when I really need them. Sometimes that means turning on a 30 minute show that I know will keep Kendall on the couch just so I can make myself some iced tea, sit down and flip through a magazine. I’ve even gone so far as to load the kids up in the car, drive to the Sonic, get a 1/2 price slush for me and Kendall (happy hour FTW!), and sit in the car and catch up on emails from my phone.

Laundry unfolded, kids in jammies at noon, Disney Junior on the TV... just another day flying solo.

3. My latest sanctuary is the late night bath (I rediscovered their awesomeness while looking for a little buoyant relief while pregnant). The late night part is key. If I attempt to take a bath at anytime while Kendall is awake, he, of course, expects an invitation to join me. I’ve got a stack of magazines, some luxurious bath oils, bubbles and salts, and many times I bring a glass of wine with me. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes at 11:30 at night before I climb into bed, it really helps calm me and get me ready to start all over again the next day when I will wake and…

Leyna stirs, she’s hungry, I put her in bed with me, nurse her and hear Kendall over the monitor waking.

He begins banging on his door, “Momma!! I have to go poopy! I AWAKE!”

I pop Leyna off my boob and dart for his room, hoping I get there in time to get him on the toilet and avoid changing a poopy nighttime diaper (toddler poop is so much worse once you regress back to newborn poop).

Leyna’s screaming in the other room because she wasn’t done eating yet, so I leave Kendall on the toilet, run back to get her.

ALL THE WHILE the freaking dogs are chasing me around the house, back and forth, their noses up my ass, and the cat is weaving in and out of my legs, nearly tripping me, meowing at me for food.

Why does EVERY. LIVING. THING. in this house always need me at the same exact moment?

And so another day begins, and it goes on like this for hours until I decide that I must make a little time for me for fear I might explode from exasperation.

What about you? How do you make time to recharge? What do you like to do? Am I the only one who loses her mind a little bit the first hour everyone is awake in the morning?

Remember, visit to learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors. I was selected and paid for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

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  1. I can’t imagine. I only have 1 (& a dog), but when my H is gone or working late we are much more apt to pick up Chick Fil A or pop in Barney. And I work full-time so I’m not even with her all day.

  2. You perfectly described my morning minus the dogs and add one more cat. When Brad gets home from work, he always mans the older one so I can get a little time either with the little or if he’s asleep, myself. I’ve been crocheting a lot which is relaxing.

  3. I have a 7 month old and my husband travels once a month for a week every month and has since little man was 2 weeks old!! Sucks:(((( He is on his way home as I type this but oh man is it hard. I try to have someone come stay with us like my best friend or my mom for at least some of while he is gone but I’m right there with you that I have no ME time until he is down for the night and that is exhausting especially since he wakes for at least 3 feedings overnight… sooo… tired… Anywho! I try try try to get a nap while he taking his morning nap that I fight sooo hard to get him to take but usually lasts at least an hour sometimes two and if I’m not tired I do breakfast alone and sit at the computer, just that little moment of alone time helps..
    I honestly don’t think I will have a moment truly of peace until he isn’t nursing anymore but I love being his mommy so I try to remember this is so brief!! Good luck:)

  4. I don’t know how everyone else is in the morning, but I am a pissy, hot mess.

    I get annoyed at the dog whining to be let out of the office.
    I get annoyed at the 19 month old screaming and throwing a tantrum because he wants to be held, even when I am PEEING!
    I get annoyed at the 3 year old, who won’t share his damn trains with the 19 month old and the bickering that starts between the two of them 8.5 seconds after they wake up.

    So no, you are not alone! i hate mornings. but…it will get easier as Leyna gets older. she will be more self sufficient and so will Kendall. Big virtual hugs!

  5. I have 3 kids and a job – my hubby travels in 10 week chunks (meaning 10 weeks home, 10 weeks gone, etc). I put the kids in bed and spend an hour with a beer and reality tv in bed at night after my chores are done!

  6. Sophie Winters on

    Why not make life easier for you and get rid of the dogs? Sounds harsh, but do you really need all of them?

    • Oh goodness. No, I could never do that. They were our “babies” before we had babies. As much as they inconvenience and annoy me from time to time, they are a part of our family and will be until they pass on.

    • Wow, I’m shocked at that suggestion… you don’t give up your animals, just as you don’t give up your kids…no matter how much you may want to at times….you also don’t teach your children that animals are disposable…

      Jill, I hear you… my husband is only gone for rare days every so often and I bow to the single parents and those whose spouses are gone for long leaves…

      • Sophie Winters on

        You’re shocked? No, I would never give up my kids, but I have had to give up animals because I simply could not give them the attention they required. I have better ways to use my time than to clean cat shit out from inside my shoe just because Mr Felix became jealous of the baby. Tried everything in the book. He had to go.

  7. I’m an extrovert, so I recharge by being with others. My mom has been in the hospital but I still hosted a get together with a few families on Sunday and it was the best I had felt in two weeks. It was very casual – just coffee & donuts, fruit for the kids and conversation.

    When we moved and I became a SAHM, I really wanted to find another mom to trade off a morning each week. I couldn’t find anyone who was interested. I find I don’t really click with other SAHMs – they don’t seem to be worried about ‘me time’ or anything like that. If we get together, it’s always about the kids, whereas for me, I want to have some adult conversation and the kids can go hang out while we do.

    My parents now pay for part-time daycare which has saved my sanity. Turns out it was a(n almost literal) life-saver with both parents being in the hospital at different times in 2011. Having two fee days a week for appts, etc., made all the difference.

  8. I was kinda surprised to see this was sponsored by Crystal Light. I always thought of it as full of chemicals, but that doesn’t jibe with what I know about you. Is there more to it that I don’t know about?

    • This was an opportunity through Clever Girls Collective (a paid one) and Crystal Light is a brand they are partnering with. I don’t have any extreme aversions to Crystal LIght and drink it from time to time, especially in the summer. In general, we mainly drink water around here, but I don’t mind indulging in something like Crystal Light from time to time in moderation.

  9. I have a 10 week old and a big ol high maintenance dog. I take my showers at 6:30pm when my husband gets home. They are hot and steamy and last at least 20 minutes (unlike other things?) and yet I still don’t shave my legs.

  10. I recharge through sports. I picked up rugby last year and it’s my outlet on Tuesday and Thursday nights. My wife knows that Isaac is hers for bedtime on those days. Plus, on Saturdays, Isaac gets to watch his dad hit people and get hit.

  11. Do you ever feel guilty for wanting “me” time? I know that I sometimes I need it, but because both my husband and I work full time, I feel so guilty taking any time to myself in the evenings so I never do (even though I have a great husband who pushes me to). I know it’s not healthy, but if you (or anyone else) feels guilty about me time how did you get over it??

    • Right there with you Jaime. I feel guilty too. I can count the number of times on 1 hand that I’ve had a non family member babysitter. They are only young once and I figure I’ll get time to myself when they are teenagers and don’t want to hang out with me. Right now they still like me and want to be with me so I am soaking it up.

    • No, I really try not to. I’m a better mother and wife when I’m happy, and I’m happier when I have time to focus on me. I do my children no good being there every second if most of those seconds I’m annoyed, tired or stressed. Scott gets his alone time when he travels (yes, for work, but he’s not working the whole time) and when he runs. I need some of the same. Not sure if I’d feel differently if I worked outside of the home, so I can’t speak for that.

      I will say, though, I really don’t think any mom should ever feel guilty for wanting “me” time, no matter how much she works out of the home. We have to put ourselves before our children sometimes. It’s not only important that they see us make ourselves happy, but it’s also important for them to know that they need to put *themselves* first from time to time and learn that by example.

  12. Time to myself? I have no idea what that is? You describe it well and it sounds great but I can’t even stay up past the kids. Sometimes I even fall asleep before they do.

    And like Jaime says above, I feel guilty for having time to myself because I work full-time and they see their teachers more then they see me so I feel like the weekends are for spending every waking moment together.

    You talk about gray hair that no dye will adhear to? You have no idea Jill, lol

  13. My morings are pretty crazy and I don’t even have kids yet…so I can’t even imagine. Much respect to you mothers!

    Jill! Have you even done a post about how you deal with your pets while raising your kids? I often wonder what it’s really like dealing with babies, dog hair, food bowls, chewing on kid toys and the litter box.

    • I haven’t, but I keep meaning to, and the comments on this post are sparking some ideas. I just might have to do a pets post next week, you know, if find the time.

  14. Jill, I always look forward to reading your posts!! You are such a real, relatable woman and mom. I almost always find myself laughing and feeling like we must be long lost relatives. I have a 17 mo. old, no pets, and a husband that never travels for work and I STILL am exhausted at the end of the day. Thanks for sharing your life with us and for Baby Rabies!!

  15. Find a dirt road with lots of cows/horses/whatever your kid likes, and drive down it, and up it, and down it again. The first time it may take some work, “look out your window, see the cow?” “look out sisters window see the horse?” but after a few trips you can turn your radio on and enjoy the ride.

    Disclaimer: this doesn’t work as well on rainy days when you need an escape the most.

  16. Okay, I read the comments thinking I would gain some tips for finding me time. Didn’t get that so much, but somehow feel better about my struggles knowing so many others have trouble too. My husband is gone 2-4 nights every week and I’ve got a 5 year old, 3 year old twins, a high maintenance dog and I teach 2nd grade part time. I REALLY struggle with finding me time, but so desperately crave it. The best I can throw out there is that all of my girls look forward to going to child care at our gym. The days I don’t work I live for my time where we are all free of each other. Sometimes in the summer I drop them there and sit by the pool for 30 minutes instead of exercising. I wish I could get that time without it having to involve exercise, but at least it’s a break, and hey, I am getting exercise.

  17. Another great and funny post, esp. about the animals always having their noses up your ass and everybody wanting you all at the same time. It happens here too! I am not able to stay awake and coherent past 10:30 so I can’t do the late-night me time. I have to squeeze it all in during the day when everybody’s at school.

    And my house is also at the bottom of the priorities list – however I feel guilty about this – and you don’t seem to and I envy that.

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