I've had this post idea for a while but didn't (and still don't) know how to go about writing it. Obviously, this is a very personal subject and everybody's ideas will vary from one another.
With that said, here are some of the thoughts I have on how to MANage a home as a woMAN.
- Find your own routine.
- Don't try to stress about keeping the same routine you had before your husband left for deployment or even a week on the road for business. Four hands are always better and more efficient than two. What used to take you 20 minutes, may now take you 30. That's okay! Adapt!
- Don't stress the small stuff.
- You take an extra day or two (or more) to mow the grass, you don't make it to the grocery store on your usual day, you let the dishes pile up, you let the dog hair rule your home. So what?! As long as you're taking care of yourself and your babies, nothing else matters. Maybe you'll feel more motivated tomorrow to tackle some of the big stuff on your to-do list.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- I have the hardest time with this one. Hands down. But it's an important one to remember. Those people that are in your life, you know... your friends (and if you're lucky enough to have family close by)... They love you. And they would be happy to help you but sometimes they don't know what you need unless you ask.
- Receive help when it's offered.
- I'm so blessed to have such an amazing support system around me who, at the very least, acts happy to cook us meals on the occasion and is willing to come out to the house to visit during the afternoon (or evenings) to give me a break from my usual tasks. If someone takes the time to offer to make you and the kids dinner or some other chore, take them up on it and thank them up, down, and sideways. One day when you have less on your plate, you can return the favors.
- Take advantage of this time on your own.
- This is your chance to catch up on your chick flicks, girly television, & multiple unquestioned trips to target and the craft store. (Or whatever else you feel guilty dragging your guy along to do).
- Simplify your day.
- There's no need to be making gourmet meals for your picky kids when they'll just be throwing it on the floor to make more work for you. Instead, find some healthy freezer meals that you can pop in the oven a couple hours before dinner time or crock pot meals that can cook all day with plenty of leftovers.
- Don't be helpless, try new things.
- While Bryan was gone, I built him a work bench as a surprise to come home to. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it was something I knew I would be proud to show off if it turned out (or happy to burn if I messed up terribly).
- The lawn mower needs an oil change? You Tube it and give it your best shot! Chances are, these tasks that our guys do so well for us can probably be done by you if you put a little muscle (and googling) into it!
- Know your limits.
- Picking some small projects to occupy your mind and time are great but don't attempt knocking out walls, tiling a large space, or rerouting some plumbing if you're not comfortable doing these things. The last thing you want to do is have your hubby come home to a half-wrecked house and expect him to put it back together for you. Know your limits and pick things that you'll excel at.
- Decline obligations if you feel overwhelmed.
- If you feel stretched to the max, now is probably not the best time to start volunteering at the animal shelter. Same advice goes for hosing a neighborhood block party or starting up a large play date group for your kids. Try to keep things simple and small.
Bottom line: take care of yourself so that you are better able to take care of your responsibilities. Don't try to be a super woMAN, but be brave and take yourself out of your comfort zone when you can, to attempt new tasks. If you get overwhelmed by your kids and his absence, know that this is a normal feeling to have. Try to simplify the rest of your day and pick back up tomorrow.
I hope this helps anyone who is dealing with a deployment (or frequent business traveling). We are lucky over here to only have short deployments. So many other families are dealing with multiple-month deployments, and I can imagine that would be a whole additional set of "guidelines".
Enjoy your weekend!