What Happened When Daddy Went Out of Town? A Better Mommy Emerged (Eventually)

Photo: Thinkstock / The Bump
Photo: Thinkstock / The Bump

Last week my husband went out of town for work (the nerve), and he took all sanity and order with him. Here’s a diary of how the week went, and what I learned about the parent I am and the parent I’m not (but need to be).

Day one: I have this image it will be fun to do a sleepover with the kids in my bed. Fun! Ha! They party in my bed until I finally, after, like 17 warnings, kick them out at 10pm. Yelling and crying (from all three of us) ensues. Not a good start.

Day two: Daughter wakes up with a hoarse voice from crying so much the night before, just before she is to narrate the year’s most important play at school. But with my magic warm honey water elixir and encouragement, she pulls through! So proud and relieved, I cry (again).

Day three: Worrying about things going wrong and breaking while genius, engineer husband is away. Dear friend delivers an anxiety-busting blended mocha to my door, like a fairy godmother. I’m so exhausted from long day at work and keeping up with chores alone that I crash in bed before the kids fall asleep…at midnight.

Day four: Serve macaroni and cheese in the pot it was cooked in, with three plastic forks for dinner, and we eat it on the floor picnic style. Kids think I’m the best parent ever, but I harbor guilt over not serving a single veggie even though I’m usually the veggie-pusher of the house. Sane husband not here to talk me out of guilt.

Day five: Have epiphany when I realize as parents, my husband and I have our good cop/bad cop roles down to a science, and I’m struggling because I have to be both cops when I (thankfully) so rarely have to be. Vow to get in touch with my inner mean mom.

Day six: Practice using a new “do as I say or else” voice today when the kids are incessantly fighting. It works! I can do this!

Day seven: Get over my pride and call a babysitter to help me out for a couple of hours so I can go to the grocery store in peace. Feel slightly ridiculous paying a sitter for this but relish the time on my own and push the cart extra slowly down each aisle.

Last week taught me that while disciplining is not my strong point (I’m the one kids go to for affection, advice and healing their physical and mental owies), I can and will do better to be a more well rounded parent. I don’t regret the mac and cheese picnic, though.