Keeping Your Sanity when Your Spouse is Out of Town

My evening duties are pretty light around the Kiddio house--we eat dinner, I clean the kitchen up while Daddio plays with the little ones, then he gets the two older ones to bed while I take care of the easy one baby. 

Most of the time.

Like a lot of husbands and wives, though, dear Daddio has the occasional business trip or works late, meaning the evening duties fall to me at the end of an already tiring day (and take so long that they really cut into my evening quiet time!).  Through the summer these trips went from short and occasional to long and frequent, making me an authority on keeping the household together while the spouse is gone.  Here are some ideas to keep you going when you're flying solo!  (image via eyetwist)

  • Don't cook: Sure, I love putting a nice dinner on the table when Daddio's there to enjoy it with me, but when he's gone I draw from my list of 'kids-eat-free or cheap' restaurants.  This saves the effort and frustration of cooking dinner with the kids, not to mention the need to clean the kitchen after dinner.  Better yet, find a friend who'll go out with you and keep you company while the kids entertain each other.  Best of all, pick someplace far away to burn off a little time as you drive!
  • Plan an afternoon out: When Daddio's coming home for dinner we really need to be home by 4:30.  When he's not coming home our priorities change!  There's plenty of time for a late-afternoon trip to the museum, errands I need to run, a playdate at the park with friends (at least when it's not getting cold and dark by 5!) and a stop for a fun, cheap dinner.  It wears everyone out enough that bedtime's a snap. 
  • Yay for Movie Night! I avoid letting the kids watch more than a little TV every day because it leaves them all wound up and bickering (not worth the break), but a late afternoon-evening movie night complete with an fun, easy dinner (pb&j, frozen pizza, mac&cheese from a box) and popcorn becomes an event that takes up the whole evening. 
  • Spend extra time putting the kids to bed...early:  Our kids are usually in bed by 7:30 or 8.  When Daddio's gone I've been known to move that up by an hour or more, drawing it out with extra books, a long bath, etc.  They're usually so wound down that they're ready to go to sleep extra early, giving me a few more minutes of peace and quiet in the evening.  
  • Take it easy on yourself:  Single parents do more than anyone gives them credit for.  Get to bed early, don't make yourself do more than you have to, and know that he'll be back in no time!
What do you do to keep it together when you're on your own?
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