Friday, 4 December 2009

On my own...

The Doctor has gone away to New Orleans for the weekend. Somewhere I'd love to go, but don't particularly fancy dragging two small boys around while my husband attends a conference, so we've been left behind.

This morning I dropped him off at LaGuardia Airport, a trip only made vaguely exciting by the Dodgems aspect of the Long Island Expressway on the way back, including a few potholed expressway ramps where people were inexplicably parked or performing random U-turns. For some reason the nearer you get to New York City, the more both the road, and the driving, deterioriates (which must mean I am getting used to Long Island driving - scary thought).

I wouldn't really mind very much except for the fact that these medical conferences are always at the weekend. And I never feel you can bother anyone else for their company at the weekend, because weekend is Family Time and you should not intrude. In London, I have a lovely friend whose husband is a jazz musician and is always off playing gigs at the weekend, so I always had someone to huddle with on those weekends when The Doctor was on call, or away. But here there is no-one like that, so I am faced with a weekend of entertaining the Littleboys by myself. This requires endless energy levels and patience, neither of which I seem to have in great supply at the moment.

What is more, this particular December conference occurs every year and it is always on the same date - right around Littleboy 2's birthday. (Apart from three years ago, when the conference had to be hastily cancelled for his unexpectedly early birth). Which is also a shame. And unless he drastically changes career, it will happen every year for the foreseeable future.

Things always seem to go wrong when The Doctor is away. Last time, I spent the whole weekend liaising with the local garage about what was wrong with the Evil Dodge (diagnosis -thousands of dollars worth of Wrong) and then trying to get hold of The Doctor in Barcelona to sanction it being mended. This time, snow is forecast for tomorrow night and I am dreading being snowed in at the top of a vertiginous driveway with no idea how to shovel myself out. I realise this is rather pathetic, but I am a City Girl totally unused to any extremes of weather and although in a way I am looking forward to seeing the first snowfall here, it's bloody typical that it'll probably happen while I'm here alone.

Anyway, him being away always brings home to me that it's unbelievably hard work on your own with small children. It doesn't happen to me very often and I realise I'm lucky. So, this one goes out to all the single mums out there (including my fabulous sister) who deal with stuff on their own ALL the time, and don't whinge about it at all. You rock.

16 comments:

Nicola said...

Great to get a shout out! I do feel for you - a weekend alone is a chore. I am facing one too. Such a shame we aren't in the same vicinity. Then again, next weekend The Doctor will be home and you will be back in Family Mode and I will be left twiddling my thumbs where socialising and entertaining 2 offspring alone for 48 hours...well, not actually, I won't see my kids for dust as they will be with their dad so I get plenty to time to recharge the batteries. (Turns out it only seems to take me 8 hrs max to recharge these days and that the rest of the time is pretty much wasted on wondering what they are up to and what I am missing out on...but still, just wanted to clarify that in my case at least I am not home alone EVERY weekend.)

Hope you have fun and don't get snowed in! We had our first smattering of snow on Thurs. The boys were so excited! Their mother? Much less so, believe me.

Mud in the City said...

Snowed in Houston today - utter chaos!
Sit tight. Snow on your own + Littleboys isn't fun, but the Dr will be back soon for snowballs and child entertainment!

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

I hate those weekend times alone. Especially when you are low on energy and patience. Good luck. I'm joining you in the big respect to those who have to do the alone weekend much more often that we do. They are amazing.

PS - on the snow front, it is MUCH easier to clear if done straight away, so make sure you clean a pathway out as soon as you can. Leave it too long it gets compacted and very icy. Learnt this the hard way last year.

Almost American said...

I feel your pain being alone on the weekend with the children for the whole weekend and not having The Doctor around. That's so not fair having the conference on a weekend!

I second Fraught Mommy's comment about sooner being better than later regarding shoveling the snow. It looks as though your forecast is only for a couple of inches with sun tomorrow so, especially if you have a nice paved driveway, if you can get it cleared off fairly quickly in the morning, the sun will do a better job on the inevitable bits you don't get. For a couple of inches, just use the shovel like a broom - pushing the snow to the side of the drive.

If you have to buy a shovel, do it today. Get the little boys shovels too - or let them use their beach ones. (My kids like making snowcastles with their buckets and spades!) Don't get a shovel that's too heavy. The ones with the ergonomic, bent in the middle, handle are quite good. A strip of metal across the tip of the blade helps the shovel last longer.

Buy some ice-melt to throw down on the inevitable patches of ice that will remain. There are eco-friendly kinds you can buy.

If you're tempted just to drive the car out over the couple of inches of snow, remember that it will compact the snow and if it then freezes, you will have solid ice tyre tracks that will be harder to remove.

How long a driveway is it? Does the landlord arrange to have it ploughed when you have bigger snowstorms (or can they recommend someone to do it)? With two little kids, it might be worth paying someone else to do it for bigger storms. If they bring a snowblower they'll be done in a fraction of the time it'll take you with a shovel. (And the boys will enjoy looking out the window watching the fountains of snow!)

Around here as soon as there's 6+ inches of snow predicted the stores empty out of milk, chips and salsa, and the video stores are mobbed!

Iota said...

Hear hear, re your final paragraph.

Yes, see if you can employ someone to clear your drive for you. This is America. You can always pay someone to do something.

When Husband was a parish minister, I used to hate w/es. I had a good friend who lived 45 mins away, married to a policeman who often had to do w/e shifts. We both had toddlers. We only worked out that it made sense to spend Saturdays or Sundays together just as I was moving away. It was a shame.

You'll get through, and I hope you avoid any disasters.

Mwa said...

I tend to over-organise these times. I go to see family and friends with the kids all the time so I don't have time to get bored or overstressed. I end up exhausted.

nappy valley girl said...

Nicola - it would be great if we were in the same city! I'm glad you get a chance to recharge occasionally. x

Mud - the Doctor says it is sleeting and freezing cold in New Orleans, too.....must be unusual.

Brit in Bosnia - thanks, I am going to heed you!

Almost American - thanks for all the advice. Our landlady does have people to come and blow the snow, although how often I am not sure. And she has supplied a shovel and grit, so hopefully I am well set up! Will follow your tip and use like a broom.

Iota - thanks. Hopefully it won't be that much snow - at the moment it seems to be mainly rain.

Mwa - yes, I tried to do that at home. It was tiring but at least it made the weekend go more quickly...

Millennium Housewife said...

My weekends are alone a lot too- and it's bloody hard work, especially after doing the same thing all week. Chin up!

angels said...

Like you, I've been home with the children this weekend. And, like you, I've spent some time imaginging what it might be like to be always looking after the children on my own. I find it really tough whenever work takes OH away, and I am 1) going to get a lie-in next weekend (why oh why a 5.30 start this morning?) and 2) be even more thankful that I don't have to do it on my own very often. My arms ache! So does my head.

Paradise Lost In Translation said...

Yes, it's a major down side of living abroad, especially initially, not having a support network to help out, you're much more on yr tod. Although conversely, espec living in a developing country where there aren't so many ex pats, people are MUCH more up for doing stuff together at w/es so it doesnt seem as taboo at all to suggest doing something at w/es with other families, whereas it was in the UK, it seemed. My husband used to travel a lot when the bairns were smaller & it was hard work being alone. I too have great respect for my friends who never have a break, can never hand over the bed time routine once in a while, or take a break.

A Confused Take That Fan said...

Here Here! (to the shout out to single mums) I often think that when I am left alone dealing with the children. I recently had to do 5 days on my own and found it so hard. The weekends are the worst as everyone else is doing 'family' stuff. I know exactly what you mean about needing even more patience. It is very difficult speaking in a repetative kind voice 24/7.
Hope the weekend has been ok and you didn't get snowed in.
You will always have your cyber friends listening out for you xxx

Expat mum said...

You might be surprised at how many moms/kids might be interested in doing something at the weekends. A lot of the suburban dads work (sorry if this is generalising but it's my experience.) The moms were pretty much on their own with the kids anyway. Just send a shout out that you're going to the local --- (fill in the blank) and see how many people join you.
Reiterate the advice re the sbow and ice. Don't let it accummulate and put the salt down (the stuf they sell in Home Depot.) The worst thing is when it melts during the day and then re-freezes at night. Death trap.

Almost American said...

Did you end up getting any snow at all? Our forecast was for 2 to 4 inches and we barely got a dusting, so I'm thinking you probably just got rain.

Thames said...

Well the weekend is over ... did you survive? (I hope). Go ahead and whinge away, that's what blogs are for.

-A Modern Mother

Elisa said...

I hear you! My husband traveled a lot the first 3 years of Stella's life, after we had just moved to New York.

Oddly enough, his travels bug me more now, because there is absolutely nothing to do here, especially in winter.

maybe we should get them to take us along? :-)

nappy valley girl said...

MH - you're spot on; it's because the weekend should be respite from doing it alone that it seems so hard....

Angels - with you on the aching, I've done my back in now...

Paradise - I think it's just the lack of friends I've known forever, really. You can't presume on new friends too much.

Confused - speaking in a repetitive kind voice? I don't think I managed that ANY of the weekend....

Expat Mum - I am hearing you and am ready to tackle the ice! And yes, there are probably others in the same boat, it's just that I don't know them all that well yet...

Almost American - yes, it was just rain in the end. Dull, but safe....

Susanna - I survived - just about! With a sore back and an extremely messy house....

Elisa - I'd love to go along, but I know I'd just be stuck with the kids while he worked, and I might as well be doing that at home instead of in a hotel!