To be honest I had no idea what it going to be like when we signed up for this FIFO lifestyle. I knew it was going to be tough…like actually tough, not like “husband came home for work later then expected and wife had to do all the supper prep, bathe and put kids to bed solo tough”…I guess it is like that, except for 8 days straight. To be honest we have it pretty good, I know people whose husbands work 3 weeks on and 1 week home. Some have worse rosters then that, like 8 weeks away and 2 home…heard of someone doing that this week. I know I wouldn’t sign up for that, ever, you couldn’t pay me enough.
That said, you (as in our loyal readers….are there any of you still sticking around?) may wonder how I “survive” those 8 days as a single mother to a baby and a toddler when Tim’s away.
Every other Tuesday Tim leaves around 4:30am (I’m only semi-conscious at this time so I’m not sure exactly when he leaves). The night before we tell Eden that Daddy is going to work and he won’t be home when she wakes up in the morning. Normally when she wakes up that next morning she asks where daddy is but she seems to understand now and doesn’t really get upset when I tell her he’s gone to work. Often that first day is a little rough for Eden, she’s used to the extra attention that Tim gives her when he’s home so I try it keep our day pretty low key so I have time for extra snuggles and playing with her.
We just tried out a new play group today and it was fantastic. I think we’re going to start going regularly on Tuesday mornings as there were a lot of kids Eden’s age and a lot of really friendly moms! I’m really excited to get to know some people in my suburb!
I try to have a meal plan made for the time when Tim’s away. Often the night before he leaves he runs out to the grocery store for the things I need. I like to have some stuff in the freezer as well for those days I don’t have leftovers and I don’t have the energy to cook. We love having a stock of frozen pancakes (currently we’re out…) and some easy meals like fish and french fries (chips) and frozen corn and peas. I also freeze some leftovers like chilli and soup when I make big batches. I have some great recipes for freezing slow-cooker meals altogether so you can just throw the bag in the slow-cooker in the morning and at supper your meal is ready. I’ve done this a few times and it’s great, I really need to make up a few to have on hand again. The problem is that we have quite a small freezer so I have to be very careful with my space. Summer is coming so I’m going to be stocking up on smoothie ingredients as well. Having food and a meal plan really helps keep me organised for the week and confident that I can feed my family without a lot of stress.
Every morning we get up sometime between 6 and 6:30 usually. I normally wake up to the girls chatting away in their room (they’re sharing now!) sometimes Eden is singing songs which I absolutely love. We recently had to take all of the books out of her room because she kept ripping them apart for some reason. I’m sure we’ll eventually put them back. Then it’s diaper change time and breakfast. Every breakfast we read a chapter from the Jesus Storybook Bible, which is a fantastic children’s bible. It’s a really nice way to start our day together as a family (whether Tim’s home or not). Then normally I settle in my chair with my tea, my iPad, and Kate and she nurses while I drink tea and check emails/Facebook. Sometimes Eden asks to watch a DVD and I normally let her. She likes Franklin (mom sent one over and it’s a big hit around here), Play School (my favourite), Barney, and Wiggles. Most of them are under an hour long and that usually gives me a chance to nurse Kate and get ready for the day while she’s occupied.
I have noticed recently that she has more “freak outs” the mornings she watches tv so we may have to rethink this routine but for now it seems to be working. At least I have the chance to get things together while she’s happily entertained for a while.
We normally head out of the house some time between 9 and 9:30 to various activities. Mondays we have church play group, Tuesdays we have our new playgroup, Wednesdays is Jazzie Cazzies (a music and movement class), Thursdays we stay home because we have a cleaner come fortnightly…an amazing treat that I’m a little embarrassed about but it’s seriously awesome, Fridays is storytime at the library, Saturdays are free, Sundays are church. All of our activities end around noon so we return home and have lunch.
After lunch is nap time and if I’m lucky both girls sleep at the same time. Eden pretty regularly sleeps for about an hour and a half which is great! After nap time we have a snack and then play time at home (outside or in) until supper.
At home Eden likes to play in the sand pit, paint, play with play dough, play with toys, colour, puzzles, play in soapy water in the sink, cook in her play kitchen…and if I feel ambitious bake cookies or muffins .
At around 4, sometimes earlier, I start getting supper ready and we often eat between 4:30 and 5. Yes it’s early but I find that if I put it off I’m just asking for tears and stress. Between 5 and 6 we tidy up the toys, have a bath (not every day), brush teeth, pick out bedtime stories, and get jammies on so that when 6 arrives both girls are all ready for bed! Tim finishes work at six and we chat on FaceTime (basically Skype for Apple mobile devices). We often chat for about 20-30 minutes, so Tim can see the girls and say goodnight.
Since the girls started sharing a room we’ve been reading stories on “mommy and daddy’s bed” and I nurse Kate while we’re doing that. She tends to fall asleep (if Eden is semi calm) and then I can lay her down in her crib. I have a snuggle with Eden and we pray together and then I carry her “like a baby” into her room and lay her in bed. If everything goes perfectly then she just rolls over and goes to sleep. This is around 7 usually. If Kate doesn’t fall asleep while we’re reading we all go into the girls room after the stories are finished. Eden climbs in bed and “gets cozy” and I sit and feed Kate. Eden often requests that I tell a story (or 5) so I’ve been doing that a lot lately. After Kate falls asleep I crawl into Eden’s bed with her for a snuggle and some kisses and then leave her to fall asleep alone.
I then wash the dishes, finish tidying up and make myself a tea.
To be honest I really enjoy my evenings when Tim’s away. I like that time to myself to do whatever I want. It may sound strange but I think I’m going to miss that time when he works his regular office hours. Don’t get me wrong, I do love having him home!
We chat on the phone before we go to sleep every night and I try to be in bed by 10!
So that’s it, my life while Tim’s away!