When my wife asked me if she could go to a conference for her company I said sure. I go to two or three trainings a year and spend thousands of dollars a year on events to further my personal and professional education. I love events where I can get surrounded by colleagues and superstars in my business. My natural response was “yes”, because I want my wife to have the same opportunity I get. What I didn’t fully realize at the time was that her being gone for 6 days meant I had to fly solo with two precious little girls during the summer in the midst of the busiest season of my work world with over a dozen real estate deals going and four construction projects on the ground. I pulled up my daddy boots and put on my house husband apron and went to work. I am thankful that my parents were able to watch the girls during the days while I worked. Without that I’m not sure I would have made it.
I’m fully capable of handling dinner and bedtime solo and hanging with the girls for a night, as a HOTONE (Husband of Thirty-One) that’s no big deal. If you didn’t know my wife is a rockstar Thirty-One Gifts consultant. She really is amazing in her business, meaning I get to practice nighttime with the girls several times a month while she is hosting parties. Comes with the territory and I’m glad to do it. Supporting your spouse is key and should work both ways. Doing nighttime and daytime for six days in a row was definitely a first. Who knew kids ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus a snack and another snack and another snack. These kids eat like teenage boys. I was never told that growing girls eat like crazy as well. Oh yeah did I mention that my six year old had just come out of the hospital for pancreatitus and was on a low fat diet. No easy out with McD’s and pizza every night. I actually had to come up with real meals and made a lot of salads. Thank God they ate them. During lunch I crammed as much fattening food as I could find to ease the pain and fill my fat food cravings.
We got so busy before my wife left that neither of us remembered to go grocery shopping. Taking two little girls to the local grocery store at 5:30 pm in the middle of the week is like running into a hurricane. Don’t people shop on weekends? What was supposed to be a quick trip turned into an hour of “Daddy can I have this, daddy can I have that ….., daddy why are you buying so much wine?” My kids are great when we go to a store about not crying over toys and other items. When it comes to telling them no about food it’s like I punched them in the gut and ran over their non-existent puppy. I was looking around to make sure no one called the police telling them I was depriving my girls of sweet tarts. I could hear the sirens in my head and the “doink doink” sound from Law and Order. Best thing to do is race to the check out and head home with boxes of non mom approved cereals (insert villianist laugh, hehehehe)
I did my best to keep up with dishes (paper plates), laundry (wear the same clothes for 6 day kids), and house work. I did nothing but work, be dad, and house work. By ten o’clock each night I curled up in a little ball in my bed with a sippy cup of wine and watched Big Bang Theory reruns counting the days till my wife came home.
Over all I really handled it well. I actually managed to get a bunch of work done with the kids which I will detail in my next post. Nothing like showing your most expensive property of the year with the little ones in tow.
The day before my wife came home the girls and I put it into high gear to have the house as clean as possible. The goal, let mom come home to a house with no dishes, laundry to be done and no toys in the living room. I accomplished this with Disney Princess and Tinkerbell movie marathons and lollipops.
I have the utmost respect for single parents everywhere. If you’re a single parent and running a business you have the absolute toughest job in the world. As a dad I’m equipped to handle a lot of things, spiders, bills, changing light bulbs, checking for the boogie monster and scaring off boys. However I’m not equipped for a week of dressing, feeding, and attempting to do the hair of little girls. I tried and had some epic hair fails, so much so that my oldest just looked at me and said, “Lita (grandma) will do it when you drop us off.”
Amidst of all the chores and girly things I had some of the best quality time I could ever imagine with my kids. We danced and played games, watched movies and stayed up late a few times because it takes me forever to get through their nighttime routine while taking calls, sending out contracts and doing dishes. I also developed an amazing appreciation for my wife. The one thing I made sure of was to do my absolute best not to complain to my wife about the extra stress.
I wanted her to enjoy her time and get the most out her trip. Making your spouse feel guilty over work trips is not going to help your marriage at all. I must say my wife has been really good about this over the years. I never felt more guilt than my self imposed guilt. After a few trips I gave myself permission to enjoy my time and really focus on my trips. The great thing is once a year we now take a trip together to attend a personal growth event.
I made it through the 6 days unscathed and the kids had a good time, but we were all super excited to see mom.