Afternoon Play Date

Mark worked late almost every night last week, so the girls and I went into “survival mode”. In case you are not familiar with “survival mode”, it goes something like this: 1. Do the bare minimum to get by with housework, laundry, or cooking. 2. Leave piles of dirty dishes on the countertops. 3. Do not invite ANYONE to your home when you are in “survival mode”, or you are sure to lose friends. Fortunately, at the end of a very long week, I was thrilled to be invited to my friend’s house for an afternoon play date! She has two daughters – one the same age as Emily, and the other is a few years older. The girls had a fabulous time. They baked cookies….

They all played with a tea set and other toys. Clara received lots of attention from my friend’s oldest daughter. She read stories to Clara and kept her entertained with rattles and stuffed animals……

Emily did not want to leave, but when we arrived home, we were all pleasantly surprised.  Daddy was already waiting for us! And fortunately (for me) very understanding about my “survival mode” tactics!

There were three important things I noted this week: 1. I do all of the grocery shopping for our household just once a month, so I did not have to worry about schlepping the girls to the grocery store or if we were going to have enough food for the week.  2. By letting my standards slip a bit (okay, a LOT), it really did help ease the stress. 3. Now that Mark is home, I cannot wait until the house is back to normal housedom! I am such a product of my environment.
Does your spouse ever work late or travel for work? How do you handle it? Do you find it harder or easier to stick to a budget?


  1. Mike travels about once a month, and he’s had to work late a lot recently. The house actually stays cleaner when he’s out of town (maybe because I don’t cook as nice of dinners so I spend more time doing hands-on stuff with the kids?) but it definitely gets messier when he works late. I try to schedule playdates when he’s going to work late and when he’s out of town – if people are coming over it motivates me to clean the house and if we go somewhere else it makes the day drag less. I definitely prefer the days when he is in town and gets to come home on time!

    I’ve never thought about how working late/business trips affected our budget, but I’m guessing we spend less – especially since Mike gets funded meals on business trips.

    If you only grocery shop once a month, what do you do about perishables (milk and fresh produce)? I try to get by with only one shopping trip per week – saves money, time, and stress.

  2. Valerie Deneen says

    That’s a great point — when I know I have people coming to the house I definitely put a lot more effort into cleaning. I will try scheduling a play date or at least have some friends over for lunch or something. Great idea!! LOL and it goes completely against my initial reaction which is to lock all the doors and hope no one pops over for a surprise visit! (probably what gets me into these messes in the first place!)

  3. Val in the Rose Garden says

    My husband has odd hours. It is part of being a cop. Right now he works the swing shift which is 12pm till 11 pm 4 days a week. It makes for a very long day for us every week. I feel like it is feast or famine. But I think the hardest thing for me to get used to is not having him around for the evenings. After 5 years I am now used to it, but it has took at least 3 to get a decent schedule down.

    I am a morning person. So we homeschool, do chores, etc mostly in the morning when I can be right there helping with them. But if that is the only hours your husband is home, you don't want to spend them doing housework or homework! That is the time you want to relax with your man. And it has been hard. It still is hard. But it is getting better every year and now we are finally setting up a schedule that works for us.

    Ok… so that was way more of a whine than anything else.


  4. @ Val — That is a tough work schedule to adjust to. I can understand not wanting to do housework or homework when your husband is home. (Mark made a comment about that the other day.) It can be a major strain on a relationship, but I am glad to hear it is getting better every year. When things get really busy like that for us, we try to schedule a date night to try to make up for it, but even that can be difficult!