Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Spills and Going Solo

I was in my room this afternoon putting laundry away when I heard Lily sing out words sure to strike fear into the heart of any parent -

'Mummy, there's a little bit of a mess in here....
It's ok, little Eli, it was just an accident...
Mummy, we are just cleaning it up!'

Uh oh???!!!!!

I came out to see this little scene....

Two little munchkins stomping on a tea towel on the ground (a tip clearly picked up from their parents!) to soak up the glass of water that had clearly been spilled while (my educated guess is), Lily was trying to help Eli drink from the glass I left on the side table. Note: Exhibit A in the right of the photo by the frame! Please also note Exhibit B - water marks on Eli's shirt!! All I could do was laugh at the cute sight (and quickly snapped a photo -wow - I am getting pretty used to this photo-taking gig!) and thanked Lily for taking the initiative to clean it up along with her brother. It was a funny moment of delight for sure - I was proud of them for taking responsibility for cleaning up their own mess! No use crying over spilt water, right?!

I had a choice today between doing a 'proper' clean of the house, or making blackberry and white chocolate muffins.... guess which one I chose?!

One more night till Mark comes home after four nights away! Well, he is back for a night then away for one more night... but still, at least we get to see him again in between and then no more travel! We are missing him terribly and I can't wait to have my man back in the house with us. However, I have to say, in terms of actually 'coping' with him gone... things have been pretty much just fine?! I am rather surprised to note this myself! To be honest, I didn't really feel nervous about him leaving and I haven't been stressed to have him gone. A bit of a shock to realise it, actually, when you assume you are feeling one way but really you aren't! (or is that just me?). The kids are fine, I'm taking things easy but the house is fine... I have been going to bed extremely late without him here to remind me to go to bed, but I am surviving!! I guess I'm a little pleased to see that I can do it?! Thankful for grace and support (like my Mum who lives near by!) and encouraging friends, thankful for growth and confidence!

It was about a year ago now that, shortly after selling our old house (ourselves) and buying this one, and Eli still under a year old, Mark (who is an economist) was working on the Federal Budget at the Treasury Dept (while also doing University part time). It was epic... around a couple months of ridiculously long hours - like leaving at 6am or earlier, working till midnight or later, working weekends - sometimes coming home for dinner for an hour then heading back to work till 1am etc. It was crazy, it was intense, it was pretty much horrendous. Mark was working non-stop while also trying to see the kids and support the family, I don't know how he survived it. I was pretty much parenting solo for that entire time and it was tough. And I did not do it all that graciously... I whined, I complained, I resented, I felt sorry for myself, I was exhausted. It wasn't so much the kid's behavior that exhausted me, but rather the relentlessness of the work they produce - the non-stop cooking and cleaning and caring! After all, at heart I'm such a lazy person, so how did I end up with such a busy life?! :)

Doing that solo for so long was a tough gig... but then towards the end I started to change my heart. Partly just from getting used to doing alone what I used to do as a team (like getting the kids ready for bed each night) and realising it was harder but it was possible, partly from a fairly large dose of self-administered 'suck it up, Princess!', and also by putting my focus on others - like Mark, who was doing 100 hour weeks only to walk straight back in the door and help with bathtime, make dinner, put the washing out. Also others who through lack of such blessed work opportunities, have partners who have to work those kind of hours just to make ends meet without a break or a choice... or those without partners at all, who as single parents have to work long hours AND care for their kids non-stop too. I needed to refocus my heart on God's blessings and the fact this time would not last forever (though it sure felt like it at times!!)... and it really helped.

As soon as that Budget came to an end, (it was Mark's first year in that particular section of Treasury), we decided it would also be the last time - at least while we have young kids. The toll on him and our family was far too great, these years of young children far too precious to take such a huge amount of time away from them for 3-4 months a year. We were seriously blessed that he was able to move to a different area right after the Budget was done. Now I am just grateful he is not heading into the same season this year!!

So, this time around... and for only five nights... it seems a lot easier to not even bother huffing around with a martyered air as I care for our children. I am grateful for my husband who longs to be home with us and soon will be. Grateful for supportive friends and family who would be there for me if I wasn't coping (and that time may surely come again! So please keep checking up on me!!). Grateful for contentment and the peace that passes understanding in my heart, that I know for sure God has put there because it is absolutely not coming from my own 'strength' or ability. Grateful for happy and generally obedient children and for effective parenting strategies I've gained that make it a pretty straightforward job to care for them. I think I am most of all grateful to know that, though I am missing my best friend terribly, I want him around for more reasons than simply his prowess in unstacking dishwashers, changing nappies and brushing kid's teeth!

Hurry home, honey! We are missing you xx


  1. I'm feeling a bit nervous as my hubby is going away for 2 weeks at the end of the month. I've done a week by myself before, but 2??? Am a bit worried about how I'll cope at nights as the little fella is still waking up a couple of times..love the photos, what initiative your kids have! And I would totally have made muffins to - they look delicious!!

    1. 2 weeks with night wakings is a big task indeed - do you have support aroudn you? hope so!!! we are cheering you on!! i have a friend with a newborn and preschooler and her hubby is away for a month - eeek!!! there should be a support group for mothers going through this! Anyway, take it easy and try to simplify as much as you can! cereal for dinner is fine :)

    2. Thanks for the support Kate! I have a sister who I will totally bribe to come and stay with me on the weekend that hubby is away so I can have a couple of hours off. And I have a feeling I'll be living on grilled cheese sandwiches, and Hogiebaby might get a couple of extra of his solids meals from Rafferty's garden!

    3. sounds like you already have good plans in place, sounds good!! glad your sister can give you some company and a break... and YAY for easy meals :)

  2. Oh that is so sweet! They look so proud of their cleaning accomplishments too:)

    I'm so nervous about "moving out of home". We have lived with my husbands parents since we got married, and are soon to move into our new home and have a new baby. It's scary stuff- they help with SO much, I have been so blessed! My husband has a lot of client meetings in the evenings, and does head interstate for work now and then... (although I usually get to see him pretty much all day every day:) The thought of night routines by myself scares me to death! I shall try to adapt your attitude... it's doable and perhaps can even be enjoyable:)

    1. Oh and the muffins look amazing!

    2. Wow that will be a big change for sure, but I bet you will do just fine!!! how cool to have had those extra hands for so long tho... hopefully you arent moving toooo far away?! Sounds like you have pluses and minuses huh, if hubby works mostly from home but then travels too. All the best w the change, im sure your very own new home will be so worth it!! yup, you can do it and its ok if its tough sometimes but you will do just fine! xx


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