I admit, I put up a great front of a spouse who’s got it together. In fact, I’m holding down a 50+ hour a week job, I drive carpool three times a week, and I never miss a school activity. But seriously, I cut corners like you will not believe.
Today, I give you some of my craziest deployment confessions of things I have done to survive my husband’s absence. In fact, I don’t even know if he’s aware of all of these himself. Oh well. Survival of the fittest?
I ate steak and rice for four months straight.
Mini Me was less than two years old and Hubby was on his first TDY overseas when I was in a severe car accident. Luckily, kiddo was at daycare at the time, and I walked away with only a nagging back injury. But afterwards, I struggled to continue working 40 hours at a job I enjoyed, while making sure to take care of my daughter, feed, bathe and nurture her. So at the end of the day, I ended up heating up pre-cooked steak strips and minute rice for my dinner – a 5 minute fix just so I could say I ate something. I was too exhausted to want other food.
I paid someone to do my laundry, because I couldn’t.
Hubby went TDY for training when Mini Me was 6. We were looking forward to moving back home to Colorado, but before we could, we had a house to sell and pack up. All of that responsibility was on my shoulders, not to mention work, parenting, and other life stuff. So to reduce one less stress of keeping the house spotless, I hired someone to do our laundry. And it was absolutely worth it. It is the one chore I really can’t stand and never seems done (ha!) so to me it was the turning point in keeping the house spotless (no baskets looming around with unfolded laundry).
Occasionally still, when I get too overwhelmed and look around, I will notice the baskets piled up and ask myself if I need to take them to someone who can clean and fold them for me. If it will reduce the stress on my shoulders, I do.
I hired a lawn guy, even though he wasn’t cute.
I grew up with green thumb parents. You should SEE their gorgeous gardens, but me? Put a plant within 10 feet of me and it’s sure to die. It’s best to save the exterior maintenance to the professionals. For $25 a week, I make sure I maintain HOA standards, my sprinklers actually work and my trees are still growing. I was happy that he wasn’t just a neighbor kid, he’s a reliable landscaping guy who owns a business and always comes to my house at the same time each week. He knows trees and shrubs and recommends when one needs more TLC. He keeps everything looking green, even if they are within 10 feet of my touch. This one is husband approved.
I participated in carpool, for different reasons than you think.
Yes, this one was already stated and it sounds very practical, but it goes beyond taking my kid to school. I have built a village that surrounds my family. With my hubby away, I have other people in my daughter’s life that she can turn to for advice that isn’t mom, but who looks out for her best interests and mine. After school, they make sure she gets home, but they also check in on how her day went and can give me a heads up if I need to dig a little more deeply. They aren’t spies, but they are friends. My cul-de-sac looks out for everyone, not just us. And it’s a community that has been so welcoming since we arrived.
I take time for myself, everyday, but I’m not selfish.
When Mini Me was little, I would feel guilty if I left her once a month for a pedicure or a haircut. Necessary maintenance for a woman. She would be home with Hubby or a friend. she was fine, but I was not. It took me probably 9 or 10 years to realize that if I was going to be the best person I could be to her, I needed to be a good person to me, and that wasn’t once a month or once a week. That was taking a moment everyday for me. Maybe that’s first thing in the morning when I watch a show on my iPad, or after she goes to bed and I can work on a project. Or it could be going out with the neighbors while she’s hanging out with her friends.
Whatever it is, each day I have to take time for me. A year ago, I read a book by Jessica Turner called Fringe Hours. It is all about capturing extra time, every day, just for you. And not to feel selfish about it. [Read my review here]
I hired a babysitter just so that I could sleep.
Back when Mini Me was a toddler, we had an amazing gal at her daycare who would babysit on the weekend. She adored our daughter and was really wonderful. So occasionally, I would have her come over and watch Mini Me for a few hours while I caught up on necessary sleep. Oh it was bliss to know the kiddo was being looked after and I could take a nap and a shower without fear our little one was in peril.
As our daughter got older, this was upgraded to switching off with other parents with sleepovers, “you take the kids one night, I’ve got the next.” They can get a much needed date night, and I can get a much needed “me” night, complete with a rated R movie on Redbox, wine in hand, and laundry in the wash. Totally worth it.
Macaroni and Cheese never killed anyone.
I may have fed my kid Mac and cheese for dinner for seven days straight. Cereal could have substituted for a salad and I likely became friends with the pizza delivery guy. But it’s food and she survived. Totally not healthy, and full of preservatives, I know, but it was for a few months at a time when I just needed to put food on the table and then move on to the baths and sleep. But eventually I learned the power of pre-planning meals and how amazing a crockpot really can be. And Pinterest. I learned what Pinterest was and we survived.
The big thing I learned is kids are resilient and if you let a few things slide and need to cheat a little, it’s OK. It’s temporary and then you get back to a better groove and find your normal again. No one is perfect all the time, and you will have great days where you totally have everything in order, and then you will have days where heating up chicken nuggets and not overcooking them was your best accomplishment. I get it. I really do. But don’t be too hard on yourself. You got this!
Do you have any deployment confessions to make? Share it now!