I’ve mentioned before that this time of year is crazy in the Garland household. Mr. Garland often works late nights or has to be away for overnight trips, and it can get extremely overwhelming for me to keep up with taking care of everything by myself!
One thing I have learned in the last couple of years of dealing with these busy seasons is that it’s so important for Jackson and me to have routines that make our time alone a little more fun and special. We’ve developed a few traditions of sorts that make those nights where I’m alone a little bit easier, and I can definitely say that I don’t mind the late nights so much anymore – sometimes I actually look forward to them!
Here are a few things Jackson and I do to make things a little more fun when Mr. Garland is out:
1) We have a fun dinner. It’s become a tradition for us to have pizza most nights that Mr. Garland is working late. This doesn’t work if he has to work late several nights in a row, but our general rule is that if he’s out, Jackson and I are eating something quick, easy, and fun. We also usually eat on the couch – when dad is gone, all bets are off!
2) We look for opportunities for fun. A lot of times our weeknights can turn pretty routine and, dare I say, boring. We do the same thing day in and day out, and the routine feels comfortable and good when Mr. Garland is here, but on the nights where he’s working late it’s hard to get into the rhythm of our regular routine. So, I look for ways that I can spice things up a bit – we spend some extra time playing in the backyard, we have a dance party in the kitchen, or we run around the house playing hide and seek. We occasionally do all of these things when Mr. Garland is home too, but I make it a point to seek out more opportunities to be silly and joyful when he’s gone, or else we can both start to feel a little sad about him being gone!
3) I keep it low-key. When Mr. Garland is gone and I’m doing everything on my own, I try not to stress about getting everything done that normally gets done. For example, the house might not get fully cleaned, the laundry might not all be done, and Jackson may accidentally stay up a little later than normal. I put very little pressure on myself to meet any certain expectations for myself when Mr. Garland is gone, and I refuse to allow myself to feel guilty if all I can do after Jackson goes to bed is crash on the couch and watch Gilmore Girls!
4) We go on adventures. If I know ahead of time that Mr. Garland will be out on a weekend day, I always try to plan something fun for Jackson and I to do. We have taken a road trip, spent long days at the park, and just ran a few fun errands – the point is that we work to get out of the house and do something fun that we might not do on a typical day. I also have found it works really well if I can schedule some time for us to hang out with friends.
5) I plan ahead. If I know there’s something that needs to be taken care of on a night or weekend where Mr. Garland is going to be working, I do my best to take care of it before he leaves. When it’s just Jackson and me in the house, it’s so easy to forget the little things that need to be taken care of – so I try to grocery shop early, take care of important errands, and deal with anything major ahead of time so I can relax when he’s gone!
6) Don’t forget to ask for help! It hasn’t been as hard this year as it was last year, but there were several weekends last year where I enlisted my parents to hang out with us and help out on the long weekends when Mr. Garland was traveling. We would often just go out to eat and spend some time together, and just that was enough for me to get a smidge of my sanity back and have some adult time! If he was gone for more than a few days at a time, I would probably plan on having someone take Jackson for an afternoon so I could have some quiet time to myself!
. . . . .
Overall, I can definitely say that our busy season this year has been much easier than it was the first time around – I’m getting the hang of taking care of things with Jackson on my own, and we’re falling into a routine that works really well for us. We still have our days where it’s a struggle, but as a whole I have learned how to handle the solo time much more easily!
What are some ways you make it easier on yourself when your partner is working a lot?