When we know that Chris is going to be gone for awhile, we try to make it as easy on me as possible. Like, going to Costco and stocking up on anything and everything. One less outing with four kids is a blessing. I also try and schedule any appointments that could come up. Like a well-check for the kids. I call and move that bad boy up a couple weeks so that Chris is here to watch one or two, or three kids. Same goes for teeth cleanings, and doctors appointments for myself. Just knock it all our before hand. So all you have to deal with is ER visits. I mean, I hope you don't have to deal with them, but my crew is notorious for breaking an arm or dislocating an elbow when dad is out of the state.
Chris eats more than a small group of adolescent boys after school football practice. We save a shit ton of money on food when he is not here. I am talking I spend a fraction of what we normally spend in a week. So I make sure to put that money to go use, like on my sanity. I am a recovering OCD germ freak. I say recovering because, I had kids. It takes all of me not to lose it with the constant state of messy that my house is in. So I do myself a favor and I bring in some help. Just for a deep one time cleaning so that I feel like I can tackle the upkeep on my own. I know that kind of seems crazy, but trying to clean bathrooms with four kids is a joke. Like a sick joke. It would take me all day to finish one. So having someone come in and get my house to shine right before I am a one woman ball of crazy, makes me feel a little better. I know it may be a splurge for some. But I feel better knowing my house got a good deep cleaning before I let it get torn to shreds.
While we are talking about cleaning, lets just make it real easy on ourselves. Paper plates. It's not something we do all the time, but when Chris is gone they are my saving grace. So much faster to get the kitchen clean after dinner, and be able to just sit down once the baths and bedtime routines are complete. I also hate walking in to a dirty kitchen in the morning, so I stock up on the paper plates.
To go along with that, one pot meals that last a couple days. Or if you are really good at this mom thing, freezer meals. But, I'm not so we just go with a pot of whole30 chili, turkey burgers, or spicy turkey stir-fry, soups, and homemade chicken fingers. These are just some of the recipes that I can get away with serving the kids two nights in a row and they don't look at me like I'm crazy!
Call in your village. Now, I don't really tell anyone when Chris is gone. I mean, safety first. But I do tell my closest friends because more than likely they will be at my house and notice it is still clean and there aren't multiple pairs of Army boots thrown around. But make weekly dates with them. After school drop off coffee and play-date with the kids. Plan a Target run together. Dinner dates are a life saver as well. Anything to break up the time. Any adult conversation even while being interrupted by small beings can work wonders for your sanity when you are in the depths of no communication with your husband. And your own mother can only listen to you for so long.....
I am really from the school of thought, that you just handle your shit. Murphy's Law my friends. Anything and everything will probably go wrong once your husband is out of the same state, and without cell phone service, so hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Kids in the hospital, you got this. Car problems, make sure you have that roadside assistance! Also to be noted, make sure all your ID's are well within their expiration dates, as well as your power of attorney. Chris and I cut it real close this time and got all my stuff updated about 18 hours before he left. We like to live life on the edge.
Chris and I also have a very strict, need to know, don't ask don't tell policy when it comes to him being away. I do not really tell him much of the overall craziness that ensues because honestly, he can't help me anyway. And it will probably make him feel worse that he is away and I'm losing my mind. I mean, he does all this to put a roof over our heads, he wouldn't choose to be away. So with that in mind, I just kind of keep the crazy to myself. I mention little things like, yes the kids weren't feeling well, not OH MY LORD THE STOMACH BUG FROM HELL HIT US AND I WANTED TO MELON BALL MY EYES OUT. I pretty much down play everything that is not an emergency because I do not want to cloud his head. I make little mental notes of it all, or write down funny things, or sit and blog about it. When he gets home it is like a little soap opera breakdown. And by that time most of the chaos has become funny to me, when in the moment if I would have told him about it all I would have sounded like a real bitch.
This last time was the first time I have been alone with four kids and a four month old puppy for longer than three days. It was nothing short of insane. But empowering! I always have a renewed sense of self when we have completed another separation. Like, yes! You go Glen Coco!
Then the second that man of mine gets settled in I run out of the house like I am running from a pack of wolves!
May the force be with you, peace!