I was asked by a local SAHM to write about how to help yourself thrive when your husband is away from home a lot - such as working long hours as an Emergency Room doctor, travelling for work for weeks at a time, or even on a military tour.
Being a SAHM can be tough enough, but when your husband is travelling or serving our country, it becomes even more important that you have strategies in place that support you as a SAHM and keep family life humming along.
So if you're holding down the fort (mostly) solo, I've got some strategies for you to keep your head and your positive attitude.
1. Make a plan. Preparation is your friend, my friend. When your husband heads out for a week-long business trip, let's say, ALWAYS over plan your week. I mean, I plan your meals, activities with the kids, chores ... everything you can think of, and yes, that includes the kitchen sink. You'll see (below) that I don't suggest that you schedule by time, especially when you have little ones. Instead, try to go by a Daily Rhythm - one thing just comes after another.
Note to Self: Don't put pressure on yourself to follow your plan to the letter. It's a guide, and if you can't squeeze in a walk around the block because the baby just had a major blow-out, adjust your plans. Be gracious to yourself.
Here is an sample week-long plan for a SAHM whose husband Joe was away for a week in August. She homeschools her three children, so you'll notice that she needed to schedule that into her week as well as the normal SAHM activities we all have.
This may seem like overkill to you Type B-ers, but could you see yourself taking 30 minutes to sit down and schedule out your week? Would it be worth it to you to not have to figure out what to do with your days? I hope so.
2. Schedule time for yourself. This may sound a little selfish, but when your husband is away, have a BLAST in the evenings. When the kids are all in bed, watch Downton Abbey, paint the walls, collage, or eat BBQ chips. (All things that make your husband gag.)
With evenings to yourself, you can do whatever you want at home and not have to worry about what your husband wants to do. Add your time for yourself to your week-long plan. That way, you make sure you have the time and energy for it, and you don't have to think about it once the kids are asleep.
If your husband is on a military tour, let's say, then this suggestion has to be modified a bit. Still schedule time on your calendar (not in your head) to do something fun or relaxing either at home one evening each week - OR - ask a family member to come over and stay with the kids while you go out - OR - swap baby-sitting with another mom you trust.
3. Have a Night Before Routine that Works for YOU. A Night Before Routine sets you up for success tomorrow. (This is how you can get a shower in every day!) If your eyes are crossing at the idea of having to do any housework in the evening, read THIS (baby steps for the Night Before Routine). But if you want to know more, you can download (for FREE) my entire presentation on this topic below.
4. Physically Take Care of Yourself. Stuffing your face with Blue Bell ice cream, no matter how delicious it is, will not actually help you thrive when your husband is away. It will actually make his leave of absence harder on you. Staying up until 2AM reading about Justin Bieber is not going to change your life when you need to be up with a toddler at 6AM. (Sorry, Justin.)
I'm not saying go on a strict diet (I know I never have), but DO be reasonable about your health and DON'T binge on caffeine, alcohol, junk food, staying up late, or anything that'll make it difficult for you to physically perform your job as a SAHM.
5. Consult with Me! Not trying to get sales-ey on you, but I recently launched consulting services for SAHMs! It all started when a SAHM approached me and asked me where she could schedule a consultation with me ... and I said, "Oh! Let me whip that right up!" So, now I"m consulting SAHMs!
If you would like to have a phone consultation with me to help you create personalized strategies for thriving when your husband is away a lot (or any other SAHM-related snag you've run into), you can schedule a talk with me HERE. The cool thing is that you don't have to hire a baby-sitter or pay for parking. It's all over the phone, from home, and is based on what you want help with.
I really love working with SAHMs, and helping them be happier at home.
Does your husband have to be away from home quite often for work? Can you relate to wanting to create a home life that is still happy and fun, even if you have to do a lot of it on your own? If so, which one of these tips will you do TODAY to make your life easier? Tell me in the comments below.
If you're digging this material (I know I included more than usual today ... but if you ask me to help you with a specific issue, BAM!, I'm going to be there for you) sign up for my newsletter so you don't miss a single post.
And if you'd like to hear even more from me (like, in your ear on the phone!), schedule a consultation with me, girl!
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