As I get ready to head out for three nights and almost 4 full days away from my kiddos there are a few things that I have done to make life a bit easier on my husband. Yes, he’s their dad and is totally capable of caring for them without me but he doesn’t spend nearly as much time with the kids as I do and I like to try to make life a bit easier on him.
I got a special craft for the kids to do with dad that’s not something they have done before. They have yet to make those little concrete stepping stones with their handprints in them and I thought this weekend would be a perfect time for them to do that. It’s a nice reminder of how small their hands are at 3 yrs old and it will be special for this to have been a project they did with daddy. I didn’t tell the kids what their fun craft was going to be but they were very excited about it. DS even said “That’s a good surprise mommy!” By giving them a surprise to look forward to while I’m gone I have given them something positive to focus on instead of letting them focus on the negative aspect of mommy is going away. I talked to them several times about the fact that I’m going on an airplane for a short trip and will be back in a few days. They wanted to know details like “Are you going on a big plane or a little plane?” They surprised me and responded with a simple “Okay Mommy.”
I like to list a few meal suggestions for my hubs while I’m away also. I don’t do this because I don’t think he’s capable of feeding the kids but because I know how frustrating it can be to devise a meal when our three year olds have sucked all of your emotional energy out of you! It’s also a nice reminder to stay away from dairy since this is a new change in their diet. Including them in meal preparation can also make things go much smoother. Now that the twins are 3 I’m not as concerned that they will fall out of the chairs they stand on to help “cook”. I’m sure that paranoia has been replaced with another though….
I remind hubs of the distraction techniques and turn around techniques I use with the kids when meltdowns begin. For example, sometimes there will be a meltdown about going potty after I’ve requested that they go (usually before we leave the house or before a meal). Rather than drag them kicking and screaming to the bathroom (which doesn’t work because you just can’t make a kid pee if they don’t have a bladder bursting at the seams) I remind the kids of those times when their pee was “sneaky” and even when they didn’t think they had to go, when they tried, their pee surprised them and came out! If that doesn’t work, then I remind them that if they want their fish tank they have to work really hard at making all their poops and pees in the potty. (This is our agreement. When they are all done with diapers – even at night – then we get to go to the pet store and pick out fish for a fish tank.)
I’m also leaving a med list to remind hubs of who takes what, even though he knows. It’s nice to have a reminder of “Give DD her probiotics”. Hubs frequently request what dosage the kids need so it’s just easiest to write it down.
What are your tricks for mommy free time? I’d love to hear about them in a comment!