Friday, April 26, 2013

Tips for surviving your partner’s business travel

Are there words more dreaded than “required business travel” when your partner starts a new job? We have a good division of labour in our household so his absence during these trips is strongly felt. The highlight of his last trip was making my daughter cry as I yelled at her to “Just get in the @*&$^ car!” I’ll pick up my Mother of the Year award later, thanks. In my defense pregnancy fatigue does not increase patience. Still, that’s not her fault. I made a promise it would be different for his next trip. Here are steps I have taken to make things easier on all of us:

Planning, planning, planning!
The meal plan features simple, one-pot affairs. Everybody’s laundry was done over the weekend because who wants to discover a wet, musty bathing suit when it’s time to leave for swimming class? The gas tank is full and I have enough cash for the week. Sure, surprises still happen (Hooray! A birthday party… this weekend!) but it’s easier to roll with the punches when there are fewer of them. 

Identify and eliminate potential points of FAIL!
Before I retire for the night I do EVERYTHING for the morning - including washing fruit and pouring cereal and breakfast drinks. It only saves a couple of minutes, but if the FaceTime call with Daddy fails I want those minutes to cuddle and dry tears instead of having to hustle, hustle, hustle.

Respect the routine
The Husband and I handle different parts of the bedtime routine (except when I'm pregnant, when he does the lion's share. Because he is awesome.) It’s tempting to skip steps when I’m on my own, but it’s not fair to expect a little kid to adapt to change in the who AND the what, so I complete all steps in the bedtime ritual. OK, maybe I skip a few words in the bedtime story... This practice will end when she learns to read. 

Know when to ditch the routine
I am a public transit evangelist who eschews the car for the daily commute because I respect the environment, dammit! Except while The Husband is out of town, when the planet can go to hell. Rather than berate myself for running late and then driving to daycare and work, I just budget for parking and carry on with my days. The relief is sweet when I hear about multiple subway delays. 

Revel in the one-on-one time
The baby will be here soon. I don’t have much time left to give my firstborn baby all of my attention. Thanks to advance planning, dinner prep is quick and the dishes can wait until after bedtime. We have time to cuddle on the couch and tell silly stories about My Little Pony.

So far, so good! Got any tips you'd care to add to the list?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Facing Reality

I belong to an online "Mommy Team" of women due in June. Earlier this week one of the members was put on hospital bed rest for the rest of her pregnancy to treat pre-eclampsia. That ended up being a shorter stay than she planned because they had to deliver her baby yesterday. Due two days before me, that's a 29-weeker making her grand debut. Technology has come a long way and that little girl has a 90-95% chance of survival. If there is a God I hope he's in her corner right now.

M was home sick with me on Thursday. I worked from home, including moving a meeting I was chairing to a conference call. With an almost four-year-old it wasn't all that hard to do. "M, Mommy has to make an important phone call for my work. I'm going to put on a 'My Little Pony' and get your snack. Can you be really, really quiet for a little while?" She nodded and smiled. She also let me get almost a full day's work done with occasional breaks for meals and snacks and the all-important application of nail polish. She's a delightful little girl and being her mom gets easier all the time. Or at least less hands-on.

I'm due at the end of June. Moms due at the beginning of the month are getting awfully close to full term. Those babies are going to start popping, and so will mine. Oh. Right. There is going to be another baby in the house really soon. I've finally gotten one kid to the point where she doesn't need me for everything and I'm heading right back to the helpless newborn phase. What the fuck was I thinking?!?! Excuse me while I hyperventilate for a minute.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Things I forgot about pregnancy #8

I have reached the summit of Mount Laundry. When the load in the dryer finishes, if I get around to folding it - and I should because it's all towels, a.k.a. the easiest stuff to fold - ALL of the laundry in my house will be washed, dried, folded and put away. The last time this happened, it was tweet-worthy. Why yes, that IS July 22, 2012. Yup, nine months ago. In my house reaching the top of Mount Laundry takes as long as growing a human being from raw materials. Told you my housekeeping skills are lacking!

As I exhausted myself hauling laundry baskets up and down the stairs yesterday, I remarked to The Husband it's distinctly possible the nesting instinct has kicked in. He laughed as he pointed out that in recent weeks our bedroom has been outfitted with a new furniture set, M has a blackout curtain from her playroom to the sleeping area, and with nearly 12 weeks to go (unless he's a little early, and I'm totally cool with a little early) there is not a single thing left to buy for the baby. Apparently it kicked in a while ago. He assures me this happened last time too, though I have no recollection of it.

In my defense, biology is only partly to blame. I am nothing if not a control freak. In uncertain circumstances I tend to keep a really firm hand on all of the things I *CAN* control because it takes some of the fear out of the things I can't.

UPDATE: Laundry? Done!