Sir Monkeypants has been down in Southern Ontario for a couple of days, helping his sister move. I can count on one hand the number of nights I’ve had all three kids without Sir Monkeypants being here. Those of you with spouses who travel regularly just threw up a bit, didn’t you? Trust me, I know how lucky I am.

A year or so ago, the thought of him going out of town would have caused me to panic. It wasn’t the physical work I was afraid of, the shlepping around of three kids to various events, the complex juggling act of getting all three into bed at a reasonable time. Rather, it was the mental stress that scared me – no one there to give you a break when you’ve reached the point of exhaustion, no one to get up at night with the third kid after you’ve already seen two of them, no one to tell you to step off, lady, when you’re turning into Mommy The Grouch.

This time, though, I knew everything would be okay.

Saturday was our day to carpool to soccer, so I loaded up one boy from each of the houses beside ours, plus one boy and two girls of our own – thank heavens for the minivan! – and took everyone to soccer. The boys were good, the girls were bored but we managed. Everything was fine.

When we got home, my lovely neighbour Lori, mother to one of the soccer boys, told me she hadn’t realized I was on my own this weekend, and now she was worried about us. How long would Sir Monkeypants be away? How was I managing? And did I want to send the kids over on Sunday, so I could have a break?

And you know what I told her? I was okay. And I really was. The kids were so good. They played together happily. They listened when I talked. They were happy to give me some computer time while they invented new games and created imaginary worlds and laughed uproariously while shooting each other during a video game.

I told Lori all that and she was amazed. Your kids are good, she said.

Trust me, I know how lucky I am.

This post is part of Brie’s Monday Moments series over at Capital Mom. This week’s prompt was Absent.

14 thoughts on “Absent

  1. Yay – so glad the weekend went well, despite hubby’s absence! I’m with you on the traveling spouse thing. Mine doesn’t and I too can count on one hand the number of nights I’ve had just the one Little Man on my own. And for me too, it’s the mental battle that gets to me.

    And, happy belated birthday!!! 🙂

  2. Ed doesn’t go out of town all that often for work, but I have been on my own with the kids on a few occasions. I found it really hard when the kids were younger, but in the last year or two it hasn’t been quite so bad. The routine is easier now…I know how things work when I’m on my own now. The kids tend to behave themselves better than usual, too. They like to show that they’re helping me out when dad’s away. Also, when Ed’s away I know all the parental stuff is up to me. There are none of those moments where the kids ask for a snack and I look at Ed and Ed looks at me, each of us sporting looks that say, “can you get it this time?” When I’m on my own I know it’s up to me to do that stuff, so I just buckle down and parent.

    1. EXACTLY. I was thinking about this a lot while Sir Monkeypants was away. When I know it’s all on me, then I do everything cheerfully. When he’s here, there’s constant negotiation as to who is going to do what. Not that I liked him going away or anything, but it did surprise me how much more work I did while he was away, and yet wasn’t all that extra tired – I guess you just find it inside yourself to get it done.

  3. So lemme get this straight: someone offered to take your kids for a bit so you could have a break and you didn’t take her up on it? *feels your forehead* The answer to that question should always be “HELLS YA BITCH, I’ll be in the bubble bath with a glass of wine and some peanut M&M’s!!”

  4. Glad to hear it went smoothly for you. I agree it’s the mental part that’s hard, knowing I’m all on my own with no back-up. The hardest part? When Jeff calls in the midst of chaos and tells me about the wonderful meal he had, or the interesting sightseeing he did between meetings or — and this is the worst — his great night of uninterrupted sleep.

  5. I understand completely, being left alone with the kids scares the bejeezuz out of me – and it’s strictly the sanity that I worry about. It doesn’t happen often, but somehow it’s never *quite* as bad as I expect. Sounds like you survived – kudos 🙂

  6. I find the lead-up worse than the actual time away. Like, I’m super bitchy in the days leading up to my husband being gone, but I turn into super mom when he actually is gone.

  7. nadinethornhill

    The Man of Man rarely goes away, but I always dread it when he does. In fact, during his last trip, I realized that wasted more energy anticipating stress than I did taking care of The Green Bean.

    Next time, I need to take a page from your optimistic book and dive into Temporary Single Parenting with the best expectations. 🙂

  8. I have to admit that I can handle business trips better than other reasons for absence. I think it is because I usually get a fair amount of notice when a trip is coming and i can plan, cook ahead, ask for help all of that stuff. I am mentally prepared. Not that I like it, but I can deal. Now if DH unexpectedly is out 2 or 3 nights in one week, that pushes me over the edge. 🙂

  9. My husband is Mr. International. When the kids were little it was really hard, but now we usually have a great time. It’s actually the recovery that’s hard, when he gets home and I have a massive adrenaline withdrawal because I’m not the only one on any more and the kids have to get back into the old routine (he’s usually gone at least a week). Then we just get back to normal and then we’re gearing up for him to leave again. This is the part I have to address.

  10. That’s great and I hope you have the same success next time he’s out of town. Taking care of three kids on your own and keeping them all happy must be tough!

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