Flying solo

Matt's gone to San Francisco on a creative workshop conference. For 12 days.
It's kid of work, kind of a self improvement exercise, kind of a holiday.

It was applied for and booked without me being consulted at any point. I guess because I am the one who is responsible for the boys 90% of the time then it's just assumed that it's ok. It's taken me a long time to be ok about this particular trip. Not that I would ever, EVER have forbade him from going, in fact, I think it's an amazing opportunity for him, a much needed boost for his creative juices and a different challenge from running a business day-to-day.  I daresay his business partner has also felt similar to me at some points as he has been left with the other baby ;-)

Anyway, this isn't a husband-bashing by any means, just another 'mums get the bum deal when it comes to doing what they want to do' rant. Turns out, he is having a fabulous time, really learning lots and challenging himself, and me and the boys are getting along with things quite nicely. And we *should* get AMAZING presents on his return, right. <<<<<< Matt this bit is VERY IMPORTANT.

I also wanted to point out, that I am under no illusion that I am having a 'single parent experience', far from it. Yes I am doing things on my own for the 12 days, but at the end of that Daddy is back in the fold. Just in case you were thinking 'God what a moaning bitch'. Well actually, I am, but you will have to find another reason to call me it.

So here are my top 5 tips for surviving a flying solo experience.

1. Have a word with yourself.
Much like the summer holidays - which I was dreading - I had to have a little word in my own shell-like before they started, in order to not end up with a permanent blood pressure problem. I decided to not sweat the little things, to walk away when it got too much (I mean, you know, into the kitchen to inhale chocolate buttons behind the cupboard door not to go to Mexico and change my name), and to not shout (as much). It really worked. I said 'yes' more times than I have previously, and didn't come down on Joe like a ton of bricks like I usually would. Me being calmer immediately made the kids calmer = less shouting. Except of course on some days when I couldn't help my fishwife genetics (non proven).

2. Use bribery.
There's a reason this word exists, and that's because it is a thing. You tell something they can have/do something if they do something else. Otherwise it would just be treats. However you look at it, it's a *fairly* successful way to get kids to help you out a bit. I don't even care anymore, I'll literally bribe myself through an entire day 'If you get dressed now, you can have a babyccino on the way to school', 'If you eat your tea, you can have an ice cream', 'If you stop hitting Cass, I'll give you some sweets', 'If you hoover and tidy the house and put the dishwasher and washing machine on everyday for the rest of your life, I'll pay for you to go to University'. Ok well, maybe not the last one... yet.

3. Relax the rules
They don't have to have a home cooked meal every single day. Give yourself a break. I'm only adding this as last night, Cass had a Weetabix for tea (to be fair he always has a late tea at nursery so never hungry) and Joe had a crumpet followed by scrambled egg on toast. It wasn't unhealthy, it just wasn't my finest hour, but then, I had a busy day and they wanted tea fast. If you want to see what proper feeding of children looks like and be absolutely in awe - check out Feed the Team's blog. Proper meal plans and proper home cooked food...every.... day. #Goals.

3. Get help
Send for reinforcements as much as you can. The second weekend he is away will be mainly me making my very best friends come and help me entertain the kids (although they are so fresh and good at it, they make me feel bad for being reluctant to sit on the floor and build a lego *insert random building*). Matt's mum and dad were already down for babysitting on the first Saturday night, as we were going to a friends 40th and staying overnight. Turns out it was a masterstroke, as it was also the night the clocks went back, so I just went with my friend and got absolutely hammered... which leads me to....

I *just* about made the 12pm train home the next morning, after the landlady of the B&B had sent rehydration sachets back up to our room with my friend on her way back from breakfast. I then spent the rest of the afternoon at home with the kids bouncing Hallowe'en balloons off my head whilst I mainlined crisps and lucozade. Dinner was pizza on their knees in front of Strictly, and bed time was moved forward 30 mins when I couldn't cope anymore. Basically, every day since then I've been like Mary f**king Poppins in comparison.

So basically, for the next 7 days and counting, I will be doing my best bribery, unparenting, quick meals and relaxing of the rules until Daddy gets home. And then I will worry about how I undo it all.

Right after I have booked my 12 days away.

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