Every once in a blue moon, a rare thing happens. The stars align and a mom of 3 children is allowed to travel away from her kids, the chaos, and the never-ending car pools.
In fact it’s a delicate recipe of multiple ingredients, stirred, and carefully combined in just the right amounts and with perfect timing.
Here's a copy of the recipe:
- A husband who is traveling to Spain for work three times in a short period. (And, how exciting—you get to tag along with him for the second trip!)
- Frequent flyer miles; enough to fly grandma (my mom) IN to care for the kids while you’re gone! (Or if you’re luckier than us, grandma lives nearby in the first place!) And she conveniently heeds the mayday call and comes right away.
- Children who aren’t so little that you worry about leaving them home, and yet who are old enough to make their own school lunches and walk to and from school, so you don’t stress about making grandma do too much.
- A GPS device. (This literally saved my mom’s life!)
- Writing down the dreaded family schedule:
* If your family is anything like mine it will take you several hours and you’ll still forget to list the early morning, student government meeting the 5th grader has on Fridays and the Tuesday Cub Scout meeting for the 2nd grader (don’t forget his book!).
* You will make a resolution to get back in the meal planning game when after three nights in a row you suggest grandma go pick up pizza (since it’s what you’d do those nights).
*And it will make you sad when you realize that you take the oldest to school at 7:40 a.m. and don’t see her again before 6 or 7 p.m.
*But once ‘The List’ is complete you’ll realize it’s not so scary after all. And grandma has a lot of daytime downtime while the kids are in school, right? (So why does MY daily life seem so crazy all the time!?)
6. Finally you will definitely, absolutely need to figure out Skype. With a 9-hour time difference it will be hard to connect at all, much less really SEE each other. And you can tell yourself it’s only 7 nights away, but after the 2nd night you will miss your kids something fierce—you’ll miss all the Good and the Crazy—and video chatting at 6 a.m. Spain time will totally be worth it!
So is it true?
Mom is never allowed to leave the country? Just like there’s no crying in baseball? Especially if the dad is also gone?! Not always. Sometimes all the ingredients meld together to create the perfect paella and even the hectic family schedule can be tamed…for a week.
I’m happy to report my mom my pulled it off! (Note: See the photo of Carissa's mom and her grandchildren, below). And I’m also beyond impressed with my kiddos. Things that, as a mom, you take for granted, become a thing of beauty when viewed through grandma’s eyes. My kids (even the 7 year old) wake themselves with their own alarms. When the high schooler is home, she’s a huge help, doing dinner prep work the dishes, and even helping with the younger siblings if needed. And with enough reminders, homework basically completes itself.
Other than the massive piles of papers needing to be signed, my kids are on their own for afterschool work 90 percent of the time.
And when grandma is around, who needs to be entertained? I think they enjoyed her as much as she enjoyed them!
So, when do I get to travel again!?!
How do you manage the entire school schedule, activities, and chaos when you have to (or get to) travel?