24 December 2014, by Mandy Loh
When I was younger, I had a web moniker “Supermandyprincess” which I used for my email address and chat usernames. Today, I would like to coin a new one for myself: Supermomprincess! Because every gal loves to be a princess, even if one is already a mom of 2 little kiddos, haha!
What makes me so buay pai seh to call myself a supermom? Because I have survived TWO FULL WEEKS on my own while Tim had to travel for work. Granted, he was away for one week at a time (for the 1st and 3rd weeks of December), and not two consecutive weeks, but still, I think some pats on my back are in order, thank you very much!
Usually, December would be the most relaxing time of the year, as Tim would clear his annual leave and we’d have lots of opportunities for family outings. So imagine my shock and horror when he told me the bad news that he would need to travel, TWICE, especially after he had already applied for leave! But as they say, fire refines gold, and I’m proud to have leveled up! In fact, I even managed a “Super Sunday” last week, when I brought both munchkins to church (albeit one hour late), had lunch while feeding both kids myself, and even attended a kiddy birthday party in the evening!
While Cristan attends playschool on weekday mornings, which thankfully gave me some breathing space, I still had to cope on my own from 1pm (when I had to pick him up) till bedtime with two kids. Here’s what I did to survive my solo stint:
1) Managing my own expectations
Singlehandedly getting two little ones ready every morning was no joke. Putting aside the fact that I still nurse both kiddos (which takes time), I also had to cajole/ nag/ threaten Cristan to brush his teeth, eat his breakfast, change his clothes, put on his shoes, all while changing Caris’ diaper and clothes, washing her up AND getting some baby biscuits into her as well!
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I definitely could NOT be punctual getting Cristan to school on weekdays, and all of us to church on Sunday. The only way I could cope was to set my own expectation that I would be late, and then feel less bad about the eventuality.
The other major challenge of each day was bedtime. There were many, many nights when both kids wanted my attention and I could only be with one at a time. It was tough but I just had to steel myself, block out the other kid’s crying or whining, and just focus on getting one to bed before handling the other.
This mostly meant that bedtimes were pushed back later, and Cristan had more TV time than I would like. Again, I had to just tell myself that it was due to the circumstances and to let these things slide for now. No point getting frustrated that I couldn’t keep to our usual routines on my own.
2) Get my ducks in a row
While it was impossible to be on time for our morning activities, I tried my best to be punctual for other appointments, and I actually did pretty well on that front. This was because I would do everything humanly possible to be ready and provide a large buffer of time for travel.
For example, I would bathe both kids before their afternoon naps so that I could just grab them (even if they were still sleeping) and bundle them into the car when it was time to leave.
I would also cook Caris’ porridge in the morning (when Cristan was in school and out of my hair) and leave it in the cooker to keep warm so that there was no last-minute rush when it was time to get out of the house. And of course, the diaper bag would be fully stocked and ready way in advance.
3) Make dinner dates (and skip making dinner)
Instead of spending time and energy preparing dinner at home, I decided to line up a series of dinner dates every evening, so that I would have a bit of help managing both kids during the most challenging part of the day.
But more importantly, this was for my own sanity, as I couldn’t imagine not having grown up interactions for an entire week at a stretch!
While it was arguably also logistically challenging and tiring to go out every evening with two young kids, I found it easier to get through the week on my own when I had something fun to look forward to every day.
With this strategy, we managed to have some fun outings such as:
So don’t call me baby. Call me Supermomprincess!