Sunday, September 14, 2008

Anything but routine

It seems to me that no matter if you have one kid, two kids or five kids, having some basic routines down makes it a hell of a lot more manageable. Sure kids are constantly changing and you have to adapt and be okay with the occasional wrench in the works, but it is a huge help having down your general time schedule - how you do things and when. And the schedules help the kids too. Kids love repetition and a routine. It gives them a sense of security and confidence. As a mother I love a plan and a routine. They are life-saving.

So imagine the trepidation with which I enter this week. Mark, my co-pilot, is off to Sacramento for a business trip. And here I am without a second set of hands and my best friend with whom I share the details of my every day. It’s just me and the boys for five days, 24-7. Sighhh….

I know I can do it. I am a fully capable mother who manages two vivacious, young boys for long stretches of time all by myself. It’s just… MY SCHEDULE!!! Every morning I get my shower before Mark leaves for work so that no one goes unsupervised while I bathe. CAN I NOT SHOWER? Every night Mark does the dishes after I make dinner. WILL WE HAVE CLEAN PLATES? Every night we bathe the boys together and then Noah and Mark “do a story” while I put Ray to bed. CAN I GET BOTH BOYS TO BED ALL BY MYSELF? And when Noah wakes up in the middle of the night Mark typically goes to comfort him so that I’m not downstairs with Noah when Ray wakes up to nurse. WILL WE GET ANY SLEEP? And every night after a long day of kids, kids, kids I talk and relax with my husband. CAN I GET THROUGH A WEEK OF LONELINESS?

Thankfully I have been able to enlist a few friends and family members for some help and visits. I’m hoping to transform it into a fun, adventurous week rather than a “let’s sit around and pine for Daddy week.” But I may have already made a huge mistake. Worried about putting the boys to bed separately and having to run up and down the stairs between them in the middle of the night I told Noah he could sleep upstairs in my bed this week. Now I’m thinking they will just keep waking each other up. I pray the sleeping Gods are kind to me.

Mark is such an involved father. He really is invaluable. I am thankful that his job rarely requires any overtime and that this is his very first trip away from us. When I think of how single parents do it, or even parents whose mate isn’t very involved I am flummoxed. Which brings me to politics. Ahem. Bear with me. I have a lot of stuff backing up about this because I’ve been trying to be good and not spout off angrily too often. When Palin was first announced I was blown away that a mother with a newborn baby would head out on the relentless 24-7 campaign trail. And then someone asked me if that was sexist and I said No – I don’t have much respect for a father of a newborn that would take that much time away from their family at such a critical developmental stage. To which someone reminded me that JFK had very young children. Uninvolved fathers were de rigueur in the 60’s but that doesn’t mean I think it’s acceptable now. I guess family values means something altogether different to me than Mrs. Palin. Of course I’m NOT an NRA member, pro-capital punishment, anti-equality, endangered species hating, BUSH doctrine following, pro-life creationist either. Ahem.

So… Mark leaves very early in the morning. Send positive thoughts to me. Oh and sleep. Plenty of sleep. That makes everything easier to handle.


juliloquy said...

You'll be fine. Exhausted, but fine. Feel free to call us if there's an emergency. Hope the slumber parties are fun!

lonna said...

We both go away for work trips, and like Julie said, everything gets done and you'll fine, but boy. The funny thing is you always want to say after that fact that it really made you appreciate what the other parent does, but both you and I are very well aware of what the other parent does. That's the scary part to me. I honestly think that it would be worse for a SAHM because you so desperately need the break. My main problem is work load. I would think that for a SAHM it's workload and sanity. I know when I'm alone with Dermot for a long time, I get away by myself as soon as I can, and the same way with Ethan actually. As soon as the other parent gets home, the boy is theirs. Good luck. You will do great.