Recently my wife (Susie) went on a 3 week overseas holiday with her mother and left me (Ben, the Dad), our two kids Indi (10) and Sam (8) and our black Labrador (Pepper) home to fend for ourselves…
Sure! No worries! I enthusiastically answered as she casually dropped the idea of a familyless vaction one Sunday afternoon as we sat on the deck watching the kids play happily together on the trampoline. The sun was shining, my beer was cold, the kids were getting along… life was good! How hard could it possibly be to play “Mr Mum” for 3 weeks…
Well, *cough cough* here’s what I learnt in my “how hard could it possibly be” 21 days as a solo working parent of two…
First and foremost…clothes don’t fold themselves. They come off the line, go into the basket and they wait, they sit and they wait and after a few days of walking past the basket and realising that they actually are not going to fold themselves… they eventually get folded… well, what’s left of them after wearing them out of the basket for the days prior.
Successfully planning and shopping for what dinners you’re going to cook five days in advance requires a university degree…not even kidding.
Finding the time to do any sort of exercise (aside walking the dog) is virtually impossible.
Finding time to walk the dog is virtually impossible.
We have the world’s biggest supply of Tupperware but finding the corresponding lids is impossible. Especially at 8:32am when rushing to pack school lunches is mixed in with hair brushing, teeth cleaning and shoe finding… Gladwrap it is.
You can only survive without toilet paper in the house for a maximum of two days, they just don’t make kitchen paper towel as soft as they used too…
There’s absolutely no need to give your 8 year old chocolate ice-cream for dessert after he has been to a birthday party during the day.
If you do give said 8 year old chocolate ice-cream for dessert then it’s best not to let him sleep in your bed that night.
It’s 100% fine to throw away your doona cover when the 8 year old spews up chocolate ice-cream all over it in the middle of the night.
You can learn to plait hair if you swap Fox Sports for YouTube, my twisted fishtail braid was the talk of all the school mums *insert smug face*.
My kids have an uncanny ability to pick the winner from a horse race…family bonding!
Grade 4 Maths homework is really hard…who the hell writes these things?
My name is no longer Ben… it’s Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.
Daaaaaaaaaaaaaad is really good at making slime.
Finding time for any jobs outside of the house such as mowing the lawn is impossible.
Socks, along with hair ties and drink bottles are literally no where to be found every single morning.
Thinking of ways to make the school lunches a little different every day is really hard.
My kids know more about peanut allergies than I do (refer to above comment about making school lunches) Oops, my bad.
You need to rely on the other “school mums” and their communication channels to help get you through the week… excursion money due, sports day tomorrow, don’t pack peanut butter sandwiches etc…
Grocery shopping at 10.15pm on a Sunday night is perfectly acceptable…
Mail doesn’t open itself.
The kids are completely fine to walk to and from school by themselves…who would have known? I’m sure they are still suppose to hold my hand all the way to the gate?! Guys? Come back!!
My kids are growing up…..quick.
So what would I score myself after the past 21 days? Well, first 10 days I’ll give myself a B+. I struggled at times but mostly smashed it out of the park. The last 10 days however, a D-. It’s fair to say that over the last week of playing “Mr Mum” things went a little pear-shaped, who would have known that everything is just constantly constant!
The last three weeks has seen 4 play dates, 1 school art show, 3 basketball games & 3 training sessions, 3 cricket games & 3 training sessions, 6 swimming lessons, 1 school games night, 5 (ok, maybe a few more) takeaway dinners, 1 school swimming carnival, 1 spew, 1 loss of doona cover, 2 birthday party’s, 2 mornings late for school, 4 meltdowns (1 kids, 3 for Dad), 8 successful hair plait sessions, 1 school project on electricity completed (was a little proud of that one if I do say so myself!) 3 movie nights, 7 BBQ dinners, 1 uncompleted maths homework sheet and 1 very tired Dad.
So it’s safe to say that my wife undoubtedly deserved her 3 week, familyless vacation, but honey…. please don’t leave us again any time soon… I don’t think the kids or I could stomach another take-away pizza just yet…