So, DH had to leave for a week on a business trip. DH rarely travels, and when he has done in the past, it has only been for a couple of days at a time. Even if I do say so myself, I survived this past abandonment admirably. Given my proven survival skills, I honestly thought ‘how difficult can a full week be as a single parent?’
First stumbling block was the early morning starts! DH usually does the ‘top and tail’ ends of the daily routine. Everything else in between is my job.
For DD and DS1 school starts at 7:45am. DS2 needs to be on the shuttle bus by then. Allowing for traffic, accidents, general dilly dallying of a threesome of U9s, 7am is realistically the latest departure one can entertain. Accustomed to eeking out every last minute under my morning duvet I was none too pleased to have to interrupt my slumber schedule to make sure the kids were up, dressed, fed, watered, hair and teeth brushed, lunches packed, PE kits and homework where they should be……
‘Only 6 more days to go’ I yawned as I dragged myself out of my pit on day 1.
Mental note ‘earlier to bed’.
By the time I dropped the munchkins at school I felt a nap would be preferable. Alas I resisted the urge to have a duvet day and headed down Sheikh Zayed Road to put my nose to the grindstone.
Pretty pleased with how day 1 was going, I wasn’t filled with as much fear as I rolled out the rest of the week in my head.
Don’t get me wrong – I was still dreading Sunday and Tuesday as DD has gymnastics on those days. She leaves the house at 7am and returns at 7 30pm. Usually DH collects her on his way home from work, saving me from hanging around with 2 bored boys for 2 hours. This week, more than ever, I was so happy that Safa park is within a stone’s throw of the gym.
On a drizzly, dusky evening I plonked the boys on their scooters while I attempted to fit in a light jog. Maybe it was the slippery surface or perhaps it was my Dubai baby’s (like a lot of Dubai drivers) ignorance about operating vehicles in inclement weather, but less than 15 minutes into our park venture, DS2 was screaming. Wipe out. Soggy and mucky he hobbled alongside his scooter, refusing to get back on and crying for the comfort of car where his favorite teddy was hanging out, and where he could watch DVDs. Wet trousers? Check. Wet boxers? Check. Wet top? Check. Grazed elbow? Check. No spare clothes? Check!
By the end of day 1 I was beginning to feel like how I felt as a first time mum with twins – I might look a mess, they might look a mess, the house definitely looks a mess…..but we all survived!
Day 2 saw me getting into my groove and I began to enjoy the drop off as I got to see some mums I don’t always see at pick up. The ride to work was fine, the hunt for parking not so much. The sense of control was dizzying!
That was until I received a text message from my helper asking for a loan as well as giving me 4 days’ notice of her sister arriving, and asking if she could stay with us until she found a job here…….Feeling slightly ambushed, I said I would speak to DH. Given DH was mainly uncontactable during his trip I didn’t really know when I could discuss it with him. Besides, it was not something I felt I wanted to raise during the few snatched calls we had. It was then that I realised how much we talk about everything that happens in our lives, how much we fill each other in (probably me filling him in more than the other way around!), how pretty much all decisions in our family are made jointly.
By this stage I was mentally forbidding DH from staying away any longer than it takes to play a round of golf.
Then came the air conditioning breaking down….again…. Normally this would have irked me beyond belief but luckily it is winter!
To top it (or so I thought), Dubai was given 48 hours’ notice of the international cycling race that would be taking place over 4 days. Used to hosting international events, I didn’t think too much about this…..until…..I realised that almost every route I took would be closed down to allow the peleton through. I almost cried. I am a creature of habit. I take the same route to my destinations every time. Diversions freak me out. Closing main road arteries gives me palpitations. DH was not here to chip in and help out (as he usually does). Thinking outside of the GPS box, I felt paralysed.
Thankfully my wonderful human GPS office mate got me through it and turns out my routes were fine. If anything they had less traffic on them!!
As we turned the bend and the finish line was in sight, I spent a very disturbed night with DS2 who was complaning of earache. I took the day off work to sit in the clinic’s waiting room. A tired, sickly little fellow just wanted something to make the pain go away.
I wanted something to make the pain go away!
I take my hat off to all those Mums whose hubbies spend so much time travelling and who just get on with it (and single Mums/Dads). I take my hat off to my hubby for the full on role he plays in our lives whilst juggling a demanding work role.