This past week I was in Chico visiting family. We normally go to Chico for major holidays, but my sister in law and I planned a spontaneous trip. This was a big deal for me because it was also the first trip I would be taking without my husband and that means I had sole responsibility of three kids.
I am by definition a stay at home mom. I spend a major portion of the day alone with my kids. I know that I can handle my kids by myself. When you have three kids you become the queen of multitasking and anticipating what everyone needs next. I do it and I do it damn well. BUT…
I always know when my husband will be home. I can count on the familiarity and the comfort of his being there to help relieve some stress from the day and to give me some breathing room. I can count on his warm embrace and excitement to be home. I can count on the kids’ faces lighting up when they see him and they are anxious to play with their dad. This is especially welcome when you have a clingy ten month old.
While my family is wonderful and it was a really fun trip, it really made me realize all the little things I miss and appreciate about my husband. He is my partner and when he is not there to help I really feel it. As much as I appreciate all our family does to pitch in and help take care of the kids, there really is nothing like having your partner present.
There were multiple times I wished he were there just to hold the baby. When Em was having a whiney moment (for the tenth time that day) I reached inside for that extra ounce of patience and told myself ‘you got this’. There are so many times I lack the patience and find myself saying, “Jason will you talk to your son? Or talk to your daughter?” But when your spouse is eight hours away it’s all on you.
That means, making sure everyone eats, goes potty (diapers for the baby), takes baths, gets dressed, isn’t outside in the yard by themselves, nursing and feeding the baby, brushing teeth, getting everyone to bed at a decent time, and the hardest at times: discipline. It might not sound like much, but with three kids, and going back and forth from my mom’s house to my in-laws, it can feel overwhelming.
There was a moment when I was having a glass of wine sitting outside and my kids were running around the yard (my in laws have a pool) and I reminded myself multiple times, Jason is not here, do not mentally check out. It made me miss having another set of eyes and hands to protect our children. And while I have helpful family, I still felt that burden that the responsibility is on me.
I believe it is healthy to spend time apart. I believe it does show us the little things we take for granted in day to day life. And I know being apart was just as eye opening for my husband (or at least I hope it was) and made him realize all the little things he appreciates about me. After taking this trip it is nice to be home with our familiar routine and my partner by my side, but I also appreciate the way time apart shows me how much I have to be thankful for.