This week is MUCH better than last week! Of course, considering that a) it was my first week as a weekday “single parent” while Neal is on his PLQ course through the week, and b) I was incredibly sick, it wouldn’t be hard for this week to be a winner. I actually almost think it was a blessing in disguise that I was so sick during that first week, because otherwise I might have felt overwhelmed at everything I have to do on my own. As it was, I was in a bit of a haze, did the bare minimum so that I could crawl into bed by 9:30, whereas this week I feel like I have more energy to put towards all of those things I have to do on my own.
It also takes acceptance. This applies not only to these weeks while Neal is on PLQ, but to my return to work in general. I am not going to have as much time with Claire. I am not going to have as much time for me, to relax, because once she is in bed, I have to get a bunch of other stuff done. I am not going to be able to get to daycare to pick her up as early as I would like – which is immediately upon finishing work – but there is nothing I can do about that, particularly now that I am dependent upon the ferry and a bus that take me to the spot where I park the car.
Truth be told, I don’t think I arrive at daycare that much later than I do when Neal picks me up after work. Today, I had picked Claire up, chatted with the daycare staff, and we were in the door here at home by 5pm. Really, that’s not too bad.
One thing I have noticed this week (okay fine, it’s only Tuesday) is that when it’s just me and Claire, I actually spend more time with her than when Neal is home. There are so many things to do when we get home, and I think that because I know that Neal is here and can and will play with her, I end up doing all of those other things. Now, because I am the entertainment, I ignore all of those other things until after she has gone to bed, and I enjoy my time with her.
I usually make something big on Sundays that will carry us through a few suppers in the coming week. That generally means that I only have to cook once during the weekdays, because for that mid-week meal, I also try to come up with something that will cover more than one supper. This is even more important while Neal is away; Claire tends to be a little cranky and clingy when we get home, and her mood is not helped if she is hungry.
This was a bit of a concern for tomorrow, as it will be a cooking day. I am making beef enchiladas which aren’t difficult at all, but do involve some prep time. I decided to get as much ready as possible this evening by chopping up the green and red peppers, shredding the cheese, and setting out all of the non-perishables and my required cookware on the counter. Claire will still probably whine, but at least it shouldn’t take as long for me to throw everything in the pan to brown the meat, then roll the mixture all up in the tortillas and shove the pan in the oven. And then we can play during the 20 minutes that it’s baking!
And even with the extra work of chopping vegetables for tomorrow’s supper, I managed to play with Claire, get her to bed, have a shower, pull out my clothes for the morning (which also involved trying some stuff on), and do the dishes, by just before 9pm. I was going to watch the latest episode of “Once Upon a Time”, but alas, Claire woke up and needed some snuggling (possibly because she misses Daddy? This is the second night in a row this has happened), and now it’s almost bedtime – 5:30 a.m. comes awfully quickly!
In unrelated news, I had a great find on Sunday! I was driving Neal into the base in the late afternoon before supper, and I noticed that a baby slide had been put out on the curb for garbage pickup the following day. I dropped Neal off, and then when I drove back, I put the four-ways on and jumped out of the car to inspect the slide. Other than a few marks, there is nothing wrong with it at all.
Claire now has her own slide in the backyard!
Now if I can just find a swing set by the curb!