Hubby Leaving for Job - Going to Feel like a Single Mom Mon-Fri

Updated on July 31, 2009
M.R. asks from Elyria, OH
8 answers

My husband is going to be starting a new job this weekend – we just found out about it – and it is out of state. He will be gone Mon-Fri coming home on the weekends. We have three children, 15, 13 and 9 and I work full time, part time from home and also go to school. Yes, this is a lot on someone’s plate but I squeeze it in there and it’s necessary. I understand that with my husband gone and school coming very soon I will need to change my routine and work everything in. I am not the one who runs the household, as my husband has been unemployed for awhile and he has taken over all those things. He cooked, cleaned and made sure the kids did their chores, etc. I know that I will have some extra time because he won’t be there and we always enjoy each others company and its hard for me to pull away from him to do other things so that time can be used to do the household chores, etc. What I am asking for is some advice to get me in the routine, to have my children help out more, crockpot recipes, things like that. I want everything to go as smooth as possible and although in the beginning it will be madness, I know that we can pull it together. Thanks!

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answers from Indianapolis on

My biggest suggestion is for you and your husband to sit down with the children and talk about this and everyone's feelings about it and what chores, etc., the children can take on. Then, together, draw up a chore list (mine are in my computer and easily changed and printed out weekly) giving each child a set schedule for the week. Aren't you lucky your children are as old as they are???? This will be a big help for you both! Secondly school is starting soon and that will be helpful as well!!!
Explain that while you know laundry will have to be done on the weekend for dad it will leave a lot more time to spend with him and as a family doing family things if there isn't a lot of house work needing to be done while he is home.
For instance, on Monday 9 YO can run the dust rag through the house, 13 YO can tidy up and clean the bathrooms, 15 YO can run the vacuum through.
Meals can be real easy if you have something set out to thaw or in the crock pot before you leave for work. Set the table the night before for breakfast the next morning and have an assembly line to pack lunch for everyone and the dishes are quickly rinsed, or in the dishwasher before the last person leaves the house. The 15 YO and 13 YO can take turns starting dinner and the 9 YO sets the table.
No reason they can't all help with the laundry and basically have it done before you get home from work. Loads can be easily washed, dried, and folded by them while homework is being done. I have a rule with the 11 YO I am now raising that everything be washed in cold water so there are no slip-ups with colors bleeding and he knows dark, medium dark, light and whites and actually is quite good at it.
It is light late enough that they can handle mowing the lawn, etc., during the week as well if you have a yard.
We picked a Thursday night to get groceries for the week and have a list on the refrig where everyone is responsible for adding things we are low on. Catsup, cheese, cereal, etc. and that has helped a lot as well.
I tend to cook ahead. We pick one evening, usually Friday, and make up spag. sauce, chili, meatloaf, etc. if we are having it the following week and put it all together then post the weeks menu on the refrig. You can freeze the stuff so it stays fresher. I boil up chicken, we bone it together for things like tacos, chicken and rice, chicken and noodles, and it is easy to throw it together the night we need it.
Make them responsible for helping and reward them by letting them pick up special things they want to do with dad when he gets home. He is going to be tired from all of the traveling and the time he is home should be a special treat for enjoying family!
You will be surprised how much they can accomplish and the rewards of a lot of verbal praise and acknowledging all their accomplishments will encourage them to do their best to help your family by both you and your husband.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Some of the things that worked for our family was to first and foremost have a family meeting to dicuss the upcoming changes and how everybody can pull together to make it work. The children are old enough to be responsible for cleaning their own space and maybe take on another room.We changed the "other room" every week so that the most hated job got passed around. I cooked several meals on the weekends and froze them. I would cook a roast for example and on e of the kids could add potatoes and carrots and put it in the oven for an hour. I made sauce on the weekend and had some form of pasta. There are also some crock pot meals that you can purchase.My kids were a great help and I think that we became a stronger family because of the experience.



answers from Cincinnati on


And I thought *I* was busy! You have my sincere empathy for all you do. Even if you cannot incorporate all the advice, you might find some helpful things at (she has lots of helpful hints, and you can adapt them to your own style).

Also, do not overlook the labor resource in the form of your children. Flylady has a sister, the House Fairy, who can help kids with general maintenance of a house without the nagging. Even teens will participate because she makes it fun.

Best wishes!



answers from Indianapolis on

I really feel for you- I would be lost without my hubby all week. I do have a crockpot idea for you that I use pretty frequently:
Chicken Corn Chili- I buy the McCormick's seasoning packet for White Chicken Chili and sort of do my own version of the recipe on the packet. I use one pound of ground chicken, 3 cans of white beans (NOT drained or rinsed), one cup of chicken broth, half of a white onion, and one can of whole kernel corn (drained). Put everything in the crockpot, turn it on low for 8 hours. I serve it with corn bread (I use the Jiffy boxed mix- super easy and fast!).

When I went back to work after my last pregnancy, I also started trying to make meals ahead of time. On Sunday afternoon, I assemble a meatloaf and some sort of pasta bake type dish (baked ziti, lasagna, etc). I put them in the fridge and they are ready to go in the oven to cook the evening I use them.

I try to avoid "convenience" meals- but I am a big fan of the pre-marinated pork loin. I have bought them at Trader Joe's and at Meijer. Meijer was cheaper, but both were delicious and SUPER easy (throw in oven and cook!). I simply chopped up some root vegetables the night before and throw them on a baking sheet and in the oven with the pork loin the minute I get home from work. Serve the veggies over some brown rice (can also find this in the frozen food aisle in one of those steamer type bags). Quick, easy, and healthy meal.

Hope this helps! Best of luck to you.



answers from Indianapolis on

You can do it!! I too am a full-time working mother of two (6 and 2 1/2) and my husband is absent because he works and is in school full-time. My tricks: I cook at least one huge meal on Sunday that will cover two days (ideally cook 2 meals.) I would get a crock-pot recipe book if you can. I also make a huge batch of pancakes, scones or biscuits on Sunday for the week. That way we only need to heat up pancakes in the microwave and cook up sausage (in the micro). Empower the children to do what they can. And lastly,....I just realized this and it has been so liberating for me...GET a HOUSE KEEPER. Hire a cleaning lady to come at least one time per month if not twice. It will really help keep your life in order and thus keep you sane and from from the brinks of depression as it had me. Best to you, I am certain you'll adjust and be wonderful at your "gig".



answers from Indianapolis on

You just described our lives to a tee! I homeschool my two daughters while hubby leaves on Monday and comes home on Thur or Friday. One thing that really helps is having the girls do some of the cooking. It's a great opportunity to teach them and have them help out. Don't feel bad if things go undone for a while. On the day Dad comes home, you might try to incorporate the kids into helping get things "ready" for him.

Probably the biggest challenge will be overwhelming Dad on those few days he is home. You may have to spend a little money on having someone mow your lawn or do some of the maintenance around the home so he can enjoy his time at home. Also, if it becomes too much, you might consider hiring a maid service once a week or so.

One thing we do....the first night hubby is home, he and I go out and sort of discuss the week and spend time reconnecting. Then, the next night, he cooks with the girls or does something special with them. You will definately have a different schedule that others. I often have to turn down family gatherings and such because our time as a family is more important and the weekends are for us. Stick to your guns, and you'll be fine!

Also, try sending hubby emails and encouragement during the week so he doesn't feel left out of the family.

Good luck! Send me a personal message if you have any other questions!!




answers from Indianapolis on

Everyone has really great advice. I just wanted to say good luck and I know you can get through this! Don't be afraid or feel bad about putting some things off so you can spend time with your husband on the weekend. In the end I think not seeing him all week will be the most difficult. Do you have a webcam? Maybe you could do video conferences with him during the week. Hope everything works out for you.



answers from Indianapolis on

I haven't been in that situation but know people who have, and some who are going to be in those same shoes here shortly.

Crockpot recipes will be helpful; and I've heard the crockpot liners are awesome. There are even "crock-pot" things in the frozen food section nowadays too. Other times when you do make dinner (like Chili or Spaghetti or something), be sure to "double it up" if possible so you can freeze leftovers. (That's been HUGE in my house.) Sometimes on a Saturday, I've made about 3-4 meals just so I could freeze them and have them through the week.

When my mother went to back to school when I was about 15, 1 or two nights a week one of us kids would make dinner, and the others would be responsible for "clean up". We also had plenty of things to make sandwiches with and on nights when she had class, we were "on our own" to fix what we wanted, as long as we cleaned up after ourselves.

A lot of it's in the organization - if you can organize and plan your time, then that will make it a lot easier in the long run. Try going to She has a LOT of great ideas (even though it seems more geared around Stay-at-home mom's, and I'm a working mom too), there are still a lot of great ideas we use. Once the routine gets set up, I'm sure that'll help things run smoothly.

For what it's worth, and good luck!

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