Last weekend I did my first solo parenting gig since I started working from home in September, and I fully expected the usual insanity/exhaustion from being the only adult on tap 24 hours a day. It wasn't until late Sunday afternoon when my husband called me to say he'd be home later that night instead of Monday like he originally planned that I realized—based on my breezy "Cool, see you soon later!" response instead of something like "OH THANK GOD PLEASE SAVE ME FROM THESE FERAL SOUL-EATING CHILDREN"—that we were actually doing just fine.
It definitely helps that the kids are older, and I don't have to get up with a howling kid all night long or strategize naptimes with sweaty, military precision. The boys are so, so, SO much easier than they used to be. (Sometimes I forget to marvel at the little things, like how I can totally just put a plate of food in front of someone, with no need to laboriously spoon things into their mouth! I can just drive to a store without packing diapers, a stroller, and forty thousand burp rags! Hell, if someone's attitude sucks, I can send them to their room!)
I think, also, that I'm so much more used to being on my own with them—since that's what I do all week long—and it's not as draining as it used to be. I know how to chunk up the day into manageable pieces. I know how to keep things moving, how to get out of the house if the walls start closing in, and how to occasionally use favorite television shows as a temping little behavioral carrot.
So everything was fine, not nearly as rough as I thought it would be, and it turned out that the weekend was a great opportunity to carve out some special time together. My kids are both bigtime Daddy's boys, and to be honest, I sometimes (okay, a lot of times) feel bruised over not being the favorite. It was just really nice to have them all to myself for a couple days, and pick out a bunch of fun things to do as a threesome. We cashed in Riley's piggybank so he could buy a new toy, we went to the mall and rode the carousel, we played Hungry Hungry Hippos for hours, we snuggled on the couch and ate potato chips while watching Ponyo.
"It's Mommy and Dylan and Riley weekend!" the boys kept shouting, fists in the air. Yeah, maybe I only briefly bought them with junk food and treats, but I'll take it.
What do you do differently when you're on your own with the kids? Do you find that it's harder, or easier, or about the same?