Alone with the Munchkins

Of all the mom’s I know, only Stephanie is able to run a farm, cook elaborate meals, and keep the house clean — all with two kids in tow – whether or not her husband is around to help her.Stephanie is some sort of mom-wife superhero. The rest of us are just trying to get by when our resources are cut in half.

So what should you do when your partner is out of town, working late, or otherwise unavailable? This is what works for me —

  • The desire to have clean kids *and* a clean house – get over it. Only the kids or the house can be clean. Learn to live with a mess.
  • Meal planning can be summarized in multiple two word phrases: Crock pot. Simple meals. Take out. Local delivery.
  • Doing the laundry is a necessity. Folding the laundry is not.
  • If your kids can’t tell time put them to bed earlier.

  • Bribe. Good behavior = special treats such as extra stories, more cuddle time, an occasional short TV show, or game time. Use sparingly.
  • Institute Mommy (or Daddy) Time-Outs. No more patience? Declare a “mommy (or daddy) time out” and go to a quiet(er) place for 10 minutes.
  • Change the routine. I love routine so this is my last resort.
  • Give them a project. The messier the better (see bullet number 1).
  • If you have more than one kid give each child a special task. Preferably one that requires them to work independently and quietly for at least 20 minutes (longer mommy or daddy time out!)

The result looks like this:

My kids working on a puzzle, leaving me alone while I cook dinner.

My kids working on a puzzle, leaving me alone while I cook dinner.

And this:

My kitchen any given Thursday that my hubby is traveling.

My kitchen any given Thursday that my hubby is traveling.

Happy kids and a messy kitchen. I can live with that.

Of course there are days with teary-eyed kids throwing themselves on the ground in rage despite all of my best efforts? And for that I have temper tantrum busters. And chocolate.

My kids are tuned into all my strategies. Share yours so I can add to my repertoire.


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7 thoughts on “Alone with the Munchkins

  1. Mr Stephanie says:

    uhh…and she’s the co-winemaker at Signal Ridge, wine director at the Boonville Hotel, and future sous-chef there as well. And don’t forget the animal husbandry!

  2. Rach says:

    That’s great. My only comment is the occasional short tv show? What about a long one, two,three, or four tv shows? I know yours are not home all week but ones who are home it’s a necessity!

    • jillshaul says:

      I’m sure that if my kids were home all the time with me there would be a lot more tv watching for all of us. Evidenced by the increase of viewing on the weekend and snow days.

  3. Sadie says:

    I was always a big fan of the mommy time-out when my kids were young. Sometimes we need it more than they do!

  4. Mr Stephanie says:

    don’t worry, Jill, our house is always a mess

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