I’m actually a little more behind than I usually am when George goes back to sea. On the other hand, Danielle (Brett’s wife) had the sort of first day I used to have when George would leave. Run errands, go to the bank and grocery store, clean the house, exercise….and all completed by the middle of the afternoon! That definitely doesn’t describe me this time around; I’m already exhausted and it’s only been a few days.
This is why, though, when George leaves and it’s just the kids and me at home once again, I drop most of my usual activities. I just have to empty my plate of as many obligations and committments as I can because I need to conserve my energy for the family and the household.
I don’t agree to do much of anything if it occurs after 5 p.m. or if my kids can’t come along. We take this time together to bunker in, take our days slower, and end them a little sooner. I also get up at 5:30 a.m. each morning to have an hour of “quiet time” before the first little one wakes up and begins to look for me. I use that time to read, make notes, and generally get focused before the day begins.
This morning I came across this pasage from the book I’m reading, “All I can say is it helps to keep things simple. That’s perhaps the greatest survival tactic for moms. The word ‘stressful’ means strained. It’s a condition of tension caused by too much pressure. To relieve the strain and reduce the tension and pressure, simply things.”
I’ve made several choices to simply things since our family has grown and George is at sea. When you are the partner of someone who’s entirely gone for long spans of time, you have to know yourself well enough to make the hard choices that support your lifestyle.
For example, since I don’t feel comfortable asking for babysitters all the time or staying out late, I don’t accept many invitations that require it. (When people want to come here, however, I love it. The more the merrier!) Last year, when the location at which I used to teach Jazzercise got too demanding and took too much of my energy in the middle of the crab season, I quit and began teaching at a different location. Sometimes I have to flat out say “No” to dinners and activities, even when it’s tough. I just have to hope people understand. If they don’t, I can’t worry about it.
After all, we know what is best for our own families. For me, it feels good making the decisions and setting the limits that will keep our unit going whether Dad is home or at sea.