Wow! Just when I think things are running smooth as butter, a couple of major meltdowns strike to make me question my sanity and my ability to parent long term. The human groove blockers strike again!
From my experience, one of the most difficult parts of deployments are weekends! I know to the rest of the world that sounds odd because we would typically look forward to weekends as a time to relax and enjoy the free time. During deployments, as a single parent, that's not necessarily the case.
Weekends are hard! The kids have more time spent with each other which often provides more opportunity to bicker over various toys or tv shows. There are 13 or so hours of 2 days to fill with activity, but all must be done cheaply, appeal to 3 kids at 3 different ages, and be executable by one adult supervising said 3 kids. In some respects we're getting to the point where all 3 are cooperative and enjoy doing the same sort of activity, but the nature of the activity sometimes makes it difficult to supervise 3 at a time. I also have a fun money budget that doesn't allow for a ton to be spent on our weekend outings. We also have no real routine on the weekends here, except for our donut run on Saturday mornings that is known to be taken away by kids who can't make it to 9am Saturday morning without having some sort of disagreement! My kids do well with routine and when they know what's going to happen next well in advance.
All that said, I thought we had a pretty good weekend around here. Friday night we Fall Festival-ed at the school. Saturday we mowed the grass, made a pumpkin jar lantern craft, and picked up Happy Meals on the way to Wazoos for the evening. Today we went to church, had lunch and played with friends, Skyped with the father of this bunch and then drove down to Round Rock to have dinner with Uncle Todd. The kids really did well for the most part.
On Sunday night, though, I'm thinking we had too much going on and now I have 2 extremely tired kids who have had awful meltdowns and one at her wits end mother who has had a meltdown, too. The other kid is tired, but he's figured out the best thing to do is make the right choice to just get in bed and hang out quietly until he falls asleep. He gives me hope that these other two yahoos will one day get it, too. I'm not giving up on them yet!
Occupying their time and giving them lots of opportunity to get out of the house and have fun over a 2 and a half day stretch seems to have bitten me on the backside! It's really a darned if you do, darned if you don't situation. Too much free time equals lots of chaos and way too much television, but too much going on equals tired, cranky kids at the end of it all. Nonetheless, I dread weekends, for now. I'm already anticipating next weekend and wondering what we're going to do to fill the dead time, but after tonight I'm thinking there will be less activity and more enjoying being home with less stimulation.
Monday morning come quickly!