When The Cats Are Away, The Mice Have Dirty Teeth

Family responsibilities are always a juggling act, right? Maybe that's just a crazier way to say "it takes a village." But after five years of working and parenting, I think I've just accepted that it takes more than just me and Billy to keep this ship upright.

There are also occasions where Billy or I travel. This throws a kink into our precious work-life-parenting-everything else balance. So we regroup and readjust.

One such week last year, I dropped my daughter off with my parents for the week. Her parting words were, "Bye, Mom! I will not miss you, but I do love you." Gee, thanks!

Then, a couple days later, Billy flew out to Las Vegas for a work trip. It felt like my family was doing our own reenactment of "5 Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed." (Here's a link if you now need to see that in animated song form!)

My hype-nature naturally wanted to post Instagram photos of Isaac and me at drive thrus with my own, self-created hashtag like #leftbehind. Of course, then I'd have two major worries to consider:

#1 - What if I got a call from or about Kirk Cameron?

#2 - Every dire email forward my father has ever sent me assures me this kind of online activity will get me murdered.

Billy, conversely, was posting openly about his trip on the world wide web. He was apparently unaffected by rumors of my impending death.

Still, I was amused at all the ways our day-to-day changed without the other half of our family here. There were a few notable things that never happened after Gabriella and Billy left:

#1 - Cooking any sort of meal. (You want fries with that?)

#2 - Brushing Isaac's teeth. (Was this really so time consuming I couldn't do it alone?)

#3 - Giving Isaac any type of bath. (Hey, if teeth are skanky, does it even matter?)

On the other hand, there were a few things I added to our routine:

#1 - Spending 2 hours a day transporting Isaac to and from daycare. Thank God for audio books! (Choosing a place near Billy's work seemed like a good idea at the time...)

#2 - Purging Gabriella's room like a maniac. (How does one child acquire so many half-used sheets of stickers?!)

#3 - Enjoying peace and quiet. Oh, Isaac - my rock star sleeper. To this day, it is still Gabriella who wakes us up in the night. Isaac started sleeping through the night at two months, and that was that. Also... still takes naps. I'd forgotten what that's like...

So how about you? What do you do differently when your family is out of town? Does your cooking completely unravel like mine? Do you find a few moments of peace in the upheaval? 

This post originally appeared in my monthly e-newsletter last April. If you'd like to join up and receive super fun updates and stories, complete the form below.

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