You know it is coming soon, anticipation is in the air, it has been a while and your husband is just going to utter those dreaded words. “I have a business trip.” Here we go again.
Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a single mother even though you are not officially one?
Feel confused? Let me take you into the world of ‘temporary’ single mothers who are left with a large weight on their shoulders upon their husband’s travel.
Summiyya, a mother of twins and a toddler, shares her experience:
“When my husband is away on one of those travel trips, I get a glimpse of a single mother’s life, which is really tough, and I get to appreciate the ordinary life because what is normal to you might be luxury to other people.”
Be Ready for That Little Extra
Take a deep breath because your roller-coaster ride is just about to begin.
You will soon feel overwhelmed, tired, angry, and sorry for yourself and at times, you may even experience pangs of anxiety.
This one comes from recurring experiences, both on mine and my friends’ end.
I constantly tell my husband, when you guys travel, kids get sick, go through exam weeks, or there are extreme weather conditions like tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.
I strongly feel Allah tests us with these things in that specific period to make us stronger, and they sure do prove to yourself that you have much more potential than you would have ever imagined.
What was once shared responsibility now becomes sole responsibility, which is quite overwhelming.
When you feel too tired or burdened, you always have this feeling at the back of your mind that you can count on your spouse to help you out.
But, what if this spouse is 100 of miles away? What do you do then?!!
Between work, school, shopping, kids’ practices, etc., things start to get out of control and you start to sense this is becoming more like a full-time driver’s job.
Meher, a mother of three young kids, shares her concerns:
“The biggest challenge for me is picking and dropping the kids and just having the feeling that your better half isn’t there if something happens.”
You get that extra challenge to always try to be strong and supportive and make sure your kids don’t sense your stress.
A mother of three who temporarily moved to another country for academic purposes, and whose husband had to stay behind for bread-winning purposes, would constantly have her older son tell her that she was so stressed when Dad was not around, and the youngster was constantly sad and quiet, badly missing his Dad.
Tending to kids non-stop is quite stressful, so you must make sure to find alleviating methods to control that stress.
Prayers, Quran, Dhikr, etc. are soothing breaks to quench your spiritual void.
Your survival key in this period is being extra organized.
Remember, you don’t have your spouse around to divide the job, so you need to make it work yourself.
Delegate chores to your kids. Try to make it interesting so they don’t forget or lose focus.
Make schedules and time targets for them and avoid getting distracted with less urgent tasks. They can wait for later.
Reem, a mother of three youngsters shares her experience.
“I am a mother of 3 kids and my husband travels a lot on business trips. It’s a big struggle to handle 3 kids and a home all alone.
The biggest challenge I face when my husband is away is time management.
As the duties are no longer shared by two and since I basically have to do everything myself, I have to manage my time really well to be able to get everything done.
The way I do this is by having daily schedules for everything that has to be done.”
While the kids are at school, or even if you have youngsters with you still at home, meet up with your friends, arrange play dates for the younger ones. You need to socialize, to get a wellness boost.
This is also a perfect time for gatherings at your place with other sisters for halaqas (Islamic lectures) and socializing.
Try to bond more with your kids during this period. Take them out to their favorite places and get to know them better. One last thing; let them do the talking this time.
My kids miss their father a lot when he is away and take out their frustrations in their own ways. I try my best to make this period cheerful by finding common grounds.
“We dine out where we like, eat foods which I normally don’t make since my husband doesn’t think it’s healthy or even food. We go easy on treats, kill our time in the library and masjid since it’s a better way to do it rather than sitting at home sulking.”
“Sometimes I visit or have play dates around that time, so I don’t have to rush home with dinner deadline. You can also do some retail therapy and get away with it during that time.”
Use any privileges you can get hold of. Carpool with your friends instead of managing all that driving yourself.
“Have a close bond with all your buddies and keep them well informed that hubby isn’t around. Any help anyone offers, don’t say no, as it will not only help you physically but morally and emotionally as well.”
Make it easier on yourself by enjoying things that you may not otherwise get a chance to enjoy while your husband is around.
Like, for example, making simple meals that you know your spouse dislikes but you and the kids just love.
They won’t even mind having it again, so you can ease the pressure of constant cooking.
Also, now is not the time you need to show off your cleaning skills.
You can leave off at your kids’ sports practice and just fix the mess later.
Reap the Fruits
Kids learn to be more mature and responsible. Meher rejoices on how:
I see my son showing maturity and responsibility subhan Allah and the daughter then follows him too.
Plus, as they know, mama has to do everything, so they wake up early for school, get dressed themselves, eat breakfast without any fuss and we are out of the house without any fights, Alhamdulillah!
This article is from our archive, originally published on an earlier date and highlighted here for its importance.