It seems there are three phases to how well I have dealt with Matt's business travel:
-barely scrape by (this phase was mostly around the time Eloise was 0-2)
-tolerate it (this phase was from Eloise being about 2-4)
-really enjoy it (we're here!)
With the girls getting older, and therefor more independent (and, let's face it, in school more) having our girl time has become a real treat. We definitely develop a rhythm to our days that is unique to just the three of us. I find my mornings and evenings become less of a struggle with them, as well, when I am dealing with them on my own. It seems like they just know how I work and it isn't any question as to who is doing bedtimes and how it's going to go.
Matt travels fairly often and many times I take the opportunity to do some house projects, or have our handyman come over to do some. This time was no exception! I bought the girls bunk beds, got rid of their old beds and completely re-arranged the sleeping arrangements in this house. Since our house is so small and the girls had the biggest bedroom, it didn't really make much sense that they spent very, very little of their time in there and often slept with me. So I decided to turn their room in to the family bedroom. Pretty unconventional, I know, but nothing about the sleeping arrangements in this family are conventional, so there you have it. So far it's okay. I miss having "my room" but you know what? It very rarely was just mine anyways, so it's no biggie. Some day we'll have a giant house and everyone can have their own rooms. A girl can dream, right? Ha.
In addition to switching up the two bedrooms in the house I also completely re-did the girls' playroom. I have changed this room countless times over the last 20 months or so, as our needs for it keep changing. Well, that and I get bored and like to switch things up. It's one room I can really have fun with. There is more space in it now so have we room to put in more bookshelves to store our homeschooling stuff for Iris.
Of course, when Matt is away, we also take more time to do fun things together, which doesn't really hurt our enjoyment factor of his travels. One of my big ideas for this time with Matt away was to take the girls on a "staycation" downtown in Seattle. It was a great idea, in theory, and things went swimmingly until bedtime on our second night in the hotel.
It was at that point that it turned in to an extremely difficult and brutal situation with my girls acting out and me getting angry which eventually devolved in to all three of us totally losing our shit. I don't really feel like hashing out the details here, suffice to say it was traumatic, if not a little life-changing situation. We left the hotel very late and I spent most of the rest of the night crying. I was incredibly grateful for my friend and mom who both offered some much needed support and talked me off the ledge come morning.
What is interesting about situations like that night is that when you make it through to the other side, you have a bit of a different way of looking at things and you make new game plans for handling things.
So, anyways, that was rough, but it didn't shake us. We still consider this time with Matt away a real success. I will definitely try to plan more fun things the next time he is gone (oh wait, that is already next week!) but probably not anything as monumental as two nights in a hotel.
While I keep feeling like the difficult last night in the hotel overshadows everything, we did have tons of fun. The girls and I swam in the pool, took several baths in the jacuzzi, went out to dinner, ordered in, went to a movie, went to the ballet, explored the Seattle Center (see pictures), went to the candy store, rode the monorail, had friends to visit with and watched a lot of Nickelodeon! Wow, writing all that out, maybe we were just on fun overload by the end?
Last night when she was falling asleep, Eloise said her two favorite days were St. Patrick's Day and "the hotel day" (I think she is lumping it all in to one). I was glad to hear that even though our hotel trip ended in flames, she still has good memories of all of the fun we DID have.
Over the last several days I kept meaning to take a "me day" where I did nothing but lay on the couch and watch movies or something. It never happened, which is okay. Mostly I just enjoyed doing all of my little projects and having quiet at home to work on things.
I feel so grateful to have reached a place of contentment with Matt's travel. It wasn't that long ago that my anxiety over it almost paralyzed me and I needed to line up people to come and help me out with the girls. It's definitely nice to leave that all behind me.