I’m quite used to looking after my 3 kids on my own. Rolando, my husband, looks after the kids every Thursday while I’m in the office. As he is self employed he often works at the weekends to make up the time. Even so when Rolando decided to go to the USA for his best friends 40th birthday I definitely felt a bit of trepidation. I knew that it was going to be a challenge to get though the 8 days that he would be away.
Knowing that I was going to be on my own I made more of an effort to be prepared. I did a detailed menu plan for the week. I try to menu plan normally but I’m not great at sticking to it and often find myself winging it by dinner time. I also did a big supermarket shop to avoid any last minute dashes to the supermarket with the kids in tow and di little stock checks before heading out to pick the kids up from school.
I also got absolutely everything ready the night before. I know I should do this anyway but by the end of the day I’m often really tired and regularly slack off with this. It really helped to have everyone’s clothes laid out ready and bags packed. I’m going to keep this up until the end of term as it made mornings much less stressful.
Rolando usually drives to school/preschool 4 out of 5 mornings a week while I do most of the preschool/school pick ups. Because I was going to be doing all of the school/preschool runs I dug out our double bike trailer (which I hadn’t used since last summer). In the mornings I cycled with the boys in the trailer while Sofia scooted along side us on the pavement. It worked out really well, Sofia enjoyed it and the boys didn’t need to be in the pushchair too much. I’m going to try and keep using the trailer a couple of days a week.
I decided to reward myself with little treats through the week – taking the kids to my favourite cafe on the walk home from school (it was pouring with rain), buying nice ice cream and having popcorn and movie night with the kids. I realise long term this would not be great for my waistline but for a week it gave me some little boosts!
My friends were so lovely asking how I was getting on and letting me know that they were there to help if I needed it. It was really reassuring to know there were people that I could call on if I got stuck.
The not so good
I was beyond exhausted! I took one day off work as annual leave but apart from that I worked my normal hours. By the end of the week I was dog tired. I had intended to get some early nights to keep myself going but with so much to do I ended staying up quite late most nights. I really started to feel it towards the end of the week.
The weather was not our friend – it rained for most of the week and we had lots of walking home from school in waterproofs!
I had a couple of mishaps along the way. Spilling a cup of tea on my laptop was probably the worst moment. I rushed it round to a man in our village who does computer repairs and luckily he was able to replace the keyboard section. The chain also came off my bike while I was out with the boys. I had no clue how to fix it and started to panicked about how I was going to get us all home. Luckily two lovely people stopped and helped me get it sorted out
The evenings were so quiet! I really missed not having Rolando here to hang out with and chat to at the end of the day. I watched less TV than normal, mainly because the endless referendum build up was getting me down and there was a lot of football on. I did watch some pure trash TV though that Rolando would hate (so not all bad!)
I did have a couple of moments when I felt a bit overwhelmed by the responsibility of having 3 young children to look after on my own. I started to worry about what I would do if we had a house fire or one of us had a serious accident. I had to rein in my racing thoughts and just calm down (copious amounts of tea were consumed in the process).
Overall I’m really proud with how I coped with my solo parenting challenge. I completely take my hat off to single parents. It is so tough! Physically and mentally I’m not sure that I could do it long term. Having a week on my own made me appreciate afresh what Rolando does for us and we all really missed him.
Within an hour of Rolando getting home I may have headed out for some much needed me time!
The multiple coffee photos give you a good idea of how I powered through the tiredness!