The following is a story of survival, and how I did it. This is what happens when your other/better half goes out of town for a few days to a Bachelor party (in New Orleans!) while you are at home with two very energetic kids and are 32 weeks pregnant.
I am a pretty lucky girl, and I sometimes feel like I’ve won the husband lottery. Not only is he tall, dark, and handsome, but he is also a great dad, does all of the cooking, the majority of the cleaning, most of the laundry, and most importantly, he loves me and all of my imperfections. I still do my share of things as well, so please do not think that I hang around the house in my silk robe while I’m catered to all of the time. We, like many relationships, each have our own roles and tasks that we’ve organically fallen in to as our relationship has progressed over the years. While Mark takes care of a lot of the house work tasks, I take over when it comes to finances, making sure bills are paid, setting up appointments for us and the kids and the pets, some of the household chores, and most importantly having beautiful babies and keeping them alive, occupied, and entertained while Mark is busy spending time doing what he does to keep the house in tact.
When Mark was invited to our future brother-in-laws Bachelor party in New Orleans, it was still 6+ months away. I was excited for him because I know how much he loves NOLA, and I knew that he would have a much needed getaway with the guys. As the trip got closer, and I became increasingly aware of how pregnant I was, I started to panic a bit about how I was going to keep both my side of our lives up as well as all of the stuff Mark does. But, like with everything else, I knew I could do it and I would do it MY way. Mark’s dad and my friend Tara both offered to lend a hand if I needed it, but I wanted to show that I could handle it. I am a good/capable mom and I could manage a weekend without my hubby around.
I am a good mom, but I am imperfect. If I were a perfect mom like you see all over the Internet, hear about in your Moms’ groups, and try to act like in front of your friends, I would tell you how magical the weekend was! I spent three perfect days with my children, felt great the entire time (I almost forgot I was pregnant!), and managed to get the entire house clean and fresh. We went on a special date Friday morning, had a picnic in the evening, had some bath time fun!, played monster, sang songs, had our favorite foods, got some end of the summer ice cream, and all took great naps! We were excited to see Daddy when he got home, and all decided to go in to the airport to surprise him when he arrived!
All of that is true. We really did have a great weekend, but let me show you how/why we were able to accomplish all of that and my tips for surviving. Of course, it all revolves around being ok with being imperfect.
Special date on Friday – I took the kids to Target Friday morning to pick out a special present. Harlow has been difficult recently with going to bed at night, taking naps, and staying in bed in the mornings. I’ve been bribing her with varied amounts of coins for her piggy bank each time she goes to bed/stays in bed. Since she’s been doing a good job and earning enough coins, I told her we would go use them to get a special present. I was lazy (and a sucker) and didn’t feel like going to the bank to cash in the coins nor did I want to lug an entire piggy bank to Target, so I let her pick out what she wanted and we left with a $25 Sofia the First Mermaid doll.
Picnics – We had a wonderful picnic on a blanket in our backyard on Saturday night! The kids had a fun time eating outside, the weather was beautiful, and it was a fun experience with Mom! Here’s the kicker….we ate McDonald’s. I did not have the time or energy to make a fancy organic well balanced tofu based nut free chia seed homemade platter of 100% of their daily recommended values of x,y, and z. I did, however, get to spend time with them outside, in the sunshine, while they didn’t fight me about eating dinner. We then scared off monsters in the yard and sang Disney songs. It was perfect.
Grocery Shopping – Usually Mark goes grocery shopping alone on Saturdays after he goes for a run. He goes while I hang out with the kiddos at home, get them dressed, etc. I had to do it this weekend, otherwise we wouldn’t have important staples for the week (like milk and coffee). Shopping with two kids under 3 is difficult, especially being 32 weeks pregnant, but we did it! I didn’t want to put them in the cart with two side by side kids’ seats because it was just too hard to maneuver. So, I put Jacek in the kid seat on top, and threw Harlow in the basket with all the food. She thought it was fun, and liked being piled with groceries. I only got the essentials and figured we could stop by again during the week for anything I might have missed. I wanted to keep things as low stress as possible! Harlow did mention that she liked to lick the frozen food boxes that were on top of her……you can’t win ’em all.
Clean House – My house is the cleanest it has been in a while! All the floors have been mopped, the bathrooms are spotless, the microwave is clean,the floors are vacuumed, everything is dusted, and the random stuff we had piled up is taken care of. It was a really busy weekend, but it all still got done! How did I do it? I outsourced of course! I found a Living Social deal for a local maid service and had them come in and clean. It was amazing, AND I got to spend time doing things with my kids and not feeling stressed about the state of my house. When Mark got home, I didn’t think he even noticed until we were in bed last night and he casually mentioned how nice the house looked. I said “thanks” and didn’t tell him my secret until this morning. 🙂
Keeping me humble – And, with any time spent with a three year old on a consistent basis, fun stories come out of the chaos. This weekend, I tried to quickly get dressed while the kids were occupied. Mark was coming home that evening, so I thought I’d put on a cute thong as a little treat. Harlow walked into my bedroom as I was about to put on my dress and said “Mom, are you sure those are underpants?” I said “Yes, why?” She then said, “Because your butt is showing. I don’t think it’s right.” yeah….maybe she has a point!
Surprising Daddy! – Isn’t it sweet that we actually all went in to the airport to surprise Mark and wait for him as he got off the plane? It sounds sweet, but it wasn’t the plan. I planned on swinging through baggage claim, having Mark jump into the car, and being on our merry way. I did not want to get the kids in and out of their car seats one more time that weekend. After chasing the kids around all weekend and taking them in and out of the car multiple times, my back was hurting pretty bad and I was starting to have contractions on and off all weekend. As we were pulling up to baggage claim, Mark called and said he was still on the plane waiting to taxi in. I decided to just do circles around the airport while we waited…..until Harlow said she had to go potty. I asked her if she REALLY had to go, or if she could wait until we got home. She said she REALLY REALLY had to go. Ugh, fuck. The last thing I wanted to do was pay to park, get the kids out of the car, trudge through the airport with both of them (on 9/11, too!), and then chase them around until Mark got down to baggage claim. But, Harlow is doing a great job potty training, and I needed to be a good mom and take her to the bathroom. When we got in there, I think she peed like 2 drops and was done. TWO DROPS.
Oh well, afterwards the kids and I hunkered down with videos on my phone until Mark found us and it was a very happy and cute reunion. It wasn’t what I had planned to do, but really, what plans actually ever work when you have lots of little kids?
In the end, I survived the weekend and did things my way. The most important things that happened were the moments we spent laughing and not stressed out over little things. My two biggest tips that helped me survive were : Outsource what you can, and be ok with being imperfect. Your kids are going to remember your McDonald’s picnic more that they are going to remember you consistently ignoring them as you slave over a Pinterest worthy meal. Figure out your priorities and everything else will fall into place!