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Tuesday Talk!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hi friends!! Happy Tuesday!!
I hope you're week is off to a great start!!

Soooo....a couple weeks ago Aaron was out of town for 5 days for a conference in North Carolina. It was the longest time he had been away from me and the kids since we've had Marshall and while I knew I would be totally fine...I was a smidge apprehensive with how sane I would be feeling when he got back from his trip. HA!

The kids and I ended up having a great time, everything went really well- the kids were rockstars and I am happy to report I didn't even think about having a meltdown. HA!

I am not a stranger to flying solo with my kids...Aaron works A LOT and we have never lived by family- so it really has always been that way for me!  Also- when Aaron was in medical school, his 3rd year, he was gone for four month-long out of state rotations- so it was just me (I was pregnant with James) and the girls. 

Anyway...I guess what I am trying to say is that- I have found my "groove" to not only surviving while Aaron is gone from home- whether that be long work days or business trips- but actually thriving and enjoying my time when it's just the kids and me! 
I thought I would just share a few things that help me stay positive as well as decrease the usage of my "scary mom voice." HA! 

1) Light candles- I know this might seem silly- but when my house smells good...it just makes me happy. And when mama's happy- everybody's happy. HA! Seriously though- When I know I have a full day ahead of me, staying at home with the kids- I want to create a calm, positive environment...some yummy smelly candles burning throughout the house totally help creative that "vibe!"

2) Eat well/drink lots of water- I don't know about you- but it is REALLY easy for me to ONLY drink coffee- nothing else- and realize around noon- that I haven't eaten any food or had any water to drink. And then I wonder why I completely flipped out over my daughter forgetting to put away ONE stray barbie. Hangry much!?!? HA! Normally, I work really hard to make sure I fuel my body with good, clean foods and drink tons of water- but when I am flying solo with the kids- it can be really easy to let that fall to the wayside because I constantly getting distracted taking care of someone. When Aaron was gone recently, I make a concerted effort to make sure I was eating well and staying hydrated and it made a huge difference in my overall attitude!! 
3) Plan 1-2 activities for the kids- I am not the type of parent that feels like I constantly need to be providing entertainment/activities for my kiddos- but I find that when I have 1-2 "planned" activities for my girls (the boys are too young to care)- it makes our day go so much smoother.  This not only applies to when Aaron is gone- but also on the weekends when they are home from school! Activities my girls enjoy are play-doh, painting, necklace making, tea-party with their dolls and a special snack tray made up by me, trip to the library, baking cookies/muffins, playing cards...nothing BIG. They just LOVE knowing that I have something planned for them to do- and it helps with them being more willing to play independently.  I will say, "You go play for 30 minutes in your room- and then we are going to be bakers, wear our aprons and make sugar cookies!" Obviously nothing earth shattering...but it works well!

4) Serve EASY meals- when Daddy is gone...I am NOT cooking. I am not a huge fan of cooking in general...and the mess from cooking stresses me out- so when it is just me and my kiddos- we are eating grilled cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, scrambled eggs and pancakes and pizza. I don't stress about whether their meals are "balanced" or if they had the same exact dinner the night before- my goal is to feed them and not have a massive mess to clean up afterwards! HA!
5) Focus on keeping the house "picked up" versus "clean"- I have finally let go of the fact that in this season of life with young kiddos, my house is never really going to be SUPER DUPER clean. I do my best on a regular basis to keep up with mopping the floors, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, etc..but I definitely wouldn't pass a white glove test. HA! Especially when Aaron is gone, I just don't stress about if I have had a chance to clean a bathroom or dust our family room. My goal is to keep our house picked up and organized.
 I always make sure my kitchen is cleaned up after every meal and throughout the day- I am picking up around the house. My kids are responsible for picking up after themselves and they do a really great job with small chores like sweeping, emptying the waste baskets and clearing off the table after we have eaten. After everyone goes to bed, I like to circle through the house and make sure everything is tidied up- because it makes me happy knowing I am going to wake up to a "picked-up" house. NOT necessarily clean- but at least not messy :)
6) Set a couple of goals each day to accomplish- I am a goal-setter :) Even on days when I don't leave the house- I still set goals for myself...it helps me stay organized AND it is encouraging to know at the end of the day, I did in fact DO SOMETHING. HA! 
"Goals" for me could be washing all the dirty laundry and getting it put away, prepping dinner ahead of time, spending intentional time playing with the kids, returning emails/making phone calls...nothing HUGE at all- but when I write down a few things in my planner that I want to accomplish for the day- it gives me direction and helps me plan out my day as to when and how I want to accomplish my goals. I always like going to bed at night, knowing I got a few things DONE other than just keeping my kids alive. HA!

7) Keep things in PERSPECTIVE- This is the BIGGEST tip I can share with anyone- whether you're husband travels a lot, you're getting used to being a stay-at-home mom, you are a working mother, balancing your roles at work AND home, whatever the case may be....taking care of babies, toddlers, young kids, or older kids can be A LOT- especially if you are doing it on your own frequently. 
BUUUTTTT....HARD does not equal BAD. 
I entered Aaron's last trip away from home with a mindset of wanting my kids to know I LOVE being a mom- yes- things get crazy and they are annoying- but I wanted them to see that amidst all of that- LIFE is GOOD and nothing is really that big of a deal.  
Because- as you all know- there is so much HARD stuff people are going through...my daughter spilling her milk everywhere at dinner? Annoying- but NOT a big deal. My son throwing an epic tantrum while I have to change a gross diaper on him? Frustrating- but it's over in about 2 minutes. 
Yes- on day 5 of Aaron being gone, when all the kiddos were up before 5 am...did I feel like being a grouch and was more than ready for him to be home? Sure! But guess what- I said a prayer to be calm and peaceful AND I thought about my sister-in-law who's husband is deployed in a war zone for at least 9 months and I got over myself very quickly. 
Perspective is EVERYTHING and it really helps keep me grounded and in a positive frame of mind!
Okay...I feel like I have really rambled on and on today. HA!
I just want you all to know- I hope you don't think I am acting like some parenting "expert" and acting like I have it all together....because I sure don't. 


For me- it's all about gratitude and grace. 

I am SO grateful for my messy, loud, never-have-a-minute-to-myself life as a mom to 5 kiddos and I would not be able to function without God's grace that he so freely gives me- even though I am totally undeserving.  

I would love to know your thoughts...does your hubby travel a lot...do you fly "solo" quite a bit? What works for you??

Hope you have the BEST day!!!

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Full Hands Full Heart

19 comments:

  1. Oh I wish we were closer! We are so similar when it comes to our parenting style! Have a great day, friend!

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  2. I love posts like this that are full of tips and tricks. You have some great advice. I really like how you talk about perspective. Have a great day!

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    1. Thank you for your encouraging words Jenna!!

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  3. FIVE DAYS as a single parent?! Nice work, momma! Sounds like you rocked it. And those are great tips for getting through it with a positive attitude! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks so much Tina!! I appreciate your kind words!!

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  4. Oh Justine! This post is just what every mom out there needs to read. Brian doesn't work out of town a ton, but he does have conferences every so often he attends. But he does work the night shift. So the girls and I are home alone a lot. We do really easy meals the nights Brian works. A lot of times it's waffles or pancakes or grilled cheese. I really don't like making big meals when he isn't home.
    Also, I still tend to stress when Alyx makes a mess in the living room with toys because unfortunately we don't have a playroom. I'm getting better at letting her make a mess and then picking it up when she's done. I struggle with that! haha

    I hope you have a great day!!!

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    1. Thank you so much Johannah!! I know you fly solo A LOT with Brian's jobs as well as managing your crazy work hours! I think it's so important to pick and choose what's really worth the effort- and when daddy is gone- big meals are not a priority! HA! And I think it's fun for the kids every once and awhile to get a "break" and have "easy" dinners :)

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  5. Yessss! I love these tips. Great to keep in mind even when the days just feel really long. With the shorter daylight hours, kids who are up at 5:30am and a husband working 4 ten hour shifts I sometimes feel like the day never ends. I will definitely put to use the 1-2 planned activities idea!

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  6. I have a very similar post coming up in a couple of weeks. My husband travels at least once a month and I'm doing it all and some times it's an easy week and other times, it's a hot mess. But your tips are spot on.

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  7. What an encouraging post to read!! I'm saving this to reread to myself again and again. I love your tips and think you're the best mom. It's smart to figure out what you need to do to take care of yourself so you can be your best for your kids. I really loved your goal of wanting your kids to know you loved being a mom. I also love your tip about planning a couple of fun things to do with the kids to break up the day. We love doing special projects and it seems like our days go better when I throw in a few planned things. High five to all of your hard work and your sweet family!! You've always got the best mom tips - like get moving or out of the house when things feel crazy, the effort is always worth it to take your family places and all the fun traditions you have set in place for your family.

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  8. These are such great tips for managing everything and still finding some joy while your husband is gone. When the kids were little, Michael worked offshore a lot for weeks at a time. I was definitely ready for a break when he returned, but we usually got a good routine going and did ok while he was gone. I would say some kind of outing or plan for the day was the best thing that helped me get through the days. Just a trip to the park or library or an "expedition" to the store could make a big difference in our day. Now Michael's not traveling as much, but I still remember those days.

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  9. You have such an encouraging and sweet blog. Thanks so much for sharing. I always enjoy checking your new posts.

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    1. Kate- I truly appreciate your kind words!! Thank you so much!

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  10. Loved this post! My husband travels quite a bit also, and it took me a LOOOONG time to find my groove when he's away. I HAVE to be organized and on top of things, and things work so much smoother!

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    1. Yes! I couldn't agree with you more Cara! I find that if I stay 2-3 steps ahead of what needs to be done next and keep everything organized...we do pretty well. I really try to hustle and get as much as I can done while my boys nap, in the morning before my kids are up and at night once they are in bed. I don't always feel like it- but it's always worth it when I feel like I am herding cats out of the door when we leave to go somewhere! HA!

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  11. First, all always, you are just precious and your gratitude for your life and family always shines through on your posts. That is something really special about you! Secondly, my husband travels for work and is gone about 5-10 nights a month depending on his schedule and although I agree with many of your tips, the biggest amen comes to dinners. I do NOT cook when he's not here! It's pizza, "brinner" (bfast for dinner), Chick Fil a etc. I'm not fighting over kids eating veggies on night 4 of daddy being gone.

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    1. Aja- you are so sweet and I appreciate your kind words so much! And girl- I FEEL you on not fighting the kids over what we are eating for dinner!! It's just not a priority of mine!! HA!

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  12. Thank you for this post. It was just what I needed right now! After weeks of being "too busy" to visit my favorite blogs, here I am surfing for a few minutes and I come upon THIS post.

    This is the first day of a 3-day trip for my husband. He travels 60-80 days a year...not horrible, but not fun. We have 6 children, and they are home all day since I homeschool. Also, we live in the country, so any trip (to lessons or the grocery store) is a 20 minute drive each way. I'm at the point where we will need to either change MY half of the equation (no more homeschooling) or HIS (different job). It's hard. But your post is helping me stay sane in the meantime, at least. Thank you for your ministry!

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  13. I never comment, but wanted to today because I loved this post so much! I am just about to be solo for a night for the first time since I had my third baby two weeks ago, and I'm going to use a bunch of these tips!

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