Widowed during "Bear Season" | Braving the Mountain Podcast | Southern Utah

Now in our house this term used to mean exactly what it says, but today we’re going to talk about this metaphorically speaking because many of us mamas out there have husbands that travel for work or plan that yearly outing with the guys… you know what I’m talking about?

Well, back at the house it becomes survival of the housewife with all the kids right? By day two all nerve-endings are fried + anytime you try to hide in the tub someone creeps in, unlocking the door with a penny or you hear the “I seeeee you” from under the door with tiny fingers wiggling around.

It seems that some times are rougher than others, but let’s talk about survival for a minute because sometimes I feel that men go to work and they have demands placed upon them there, but being a mom is something that is on 24/7 and not only is it physically demanding, it’s also emotionally demanding. We’ve gotta do a few things for ourselves to stay sane + here are some things that have worked for me. First, GET OUT!!

Seriously, a little fresh air + sunshine always does the soul some good so get out of the house and go for a walk or to the park. My favorite thing is to drive to the school after hours and I can sit in the car and have a moment while the kids run + play! It is like my own little sanctuary.

Second, play with them.

Seriously, take 30 minutes out of your day and sit down + give them your undivided attention. A little time seems to go a long way with how they behave toward me as well as one another. I don’t know what it is when you sit down and play a game… or three rounds of matching + Go Fish that helps them feel fulfilled and then they turn around and reciprocate it not only back to you, but each other. Wanna keep their attention longer? Buy a new game!

Lots of people also love to rotate toys and I’m thinking I need to jump on that bandwagon, but we’ll save that for another day!

Some days they just need to be shown how to play and that it’s ok if it isn’t perfect. Have you ever noticed when they play with each other, it sometimes becomes a power-struggle, but if you join in for a round or two, they seem to get the hang of it for the rest of that day? I dunno, but round here it works!

Third, it’s ok to hit up a drive through.

I mean, I typically love to cook and am a little picky about what I feed the fam, but every now and then I’m totally game for hitting up a Tropical Smoothie or Wendy’s drive through completely shame free!

For us mamas that stay home or work from home, you are in your house all day long and just like getting some sunshine is good for the soul, I feel that not having to cook dinner or clean up dishes is too! No judgement here! Fourth, Implement Operation Quiet Time

Doesn’t that sound heavenly? Well my friends, it is! We first started this when Dustin started guiding six weeks each year. This mama needed her sanity and labeling something different than they’d ever heard before had the kids thinking that this was some sneaky time they got for themselves too! I mean, even our four year old thought it was pretty cool!

Even now the kids love being able to choose some books to take to their beds with them at 7 pm, yes, you heard that right! They get so excited to pick new books, I leave them to do their thing and I can sneak away to my bed after setting a reminder for the girls to tell them when it’s time for lights out.

This led into an early bedtime of 7:30 pm as well. Honestly, when the hubs is gone for six weeks every year, we gotta do something right? Call me crazy, but they now get their quiet time until 7:30 and then… lights out!! Jack and Khloe will talk and giggle, buuuut at least they stay in their beds… most of the time. Khloe can be the queen of stalling, but regardless, they are usually asleep by 8:30 and I can happily have some quiet time without having to stay up until midnight. I don’t know about you, but if I don’t get enough sleep, I’m mama bear!

This dynamic changes a little bit during the summer months because when the weather’s good, who doesn’t want to enjoy it?

Fifth, make a chore list that leads them outside…

I don’t know about you, but if the weather is good and I send my kids outside to do something, they tend to get distracted…. Especially if it’s something they don’t enjoy doing.

So, I’ll send them outside on dog poo duty and they typically get sidetracked on their way out to the dogs with the tramp, but hey, I’ll take it because eventually they make it out to do what they were asked, but they then avoid coming back in for fear of being asked to do something else! Ha

Again, Khloe is the queen of tracking me down and boy some days that girl is a lot to handle, but when the weather is good and the girls are telling her “mom asked you to help” she typically sticks with them for a while.

Sixth, I have two kids that loooove rewards! The older two, not so much, but my younger two love to put a star in the star jar! We have a star jar that focuses on good behavior, acts of kindness, etc.

When I see them being kind, doing something nice, or listening without me having to ask 50 million times, they get to put a star in the jar and once all of the stars are out of the bowl and into the jar, they get the prize we’ve chosen beforehand such as a late night, go out to get ice cream, smoothies, etc…

This works more easily with our younger two, but I’ll take it!

Finally, how bout we just call this one “Operation House Reset?”

This is what I started calling it when let’s clean up, quit being as effective and it worked! One night we were getting ready to eat dinner and I said, “Hey, let’s get the house reset before dinner.” The kids had no clue what I was talking about, but when I said let’s make sure that the front room and your room is all cleaned up and reset so we can start fresh in the morning...and they totally rolled with it I knew I was onto something!

I don’t know about you, but I like a simple + clean space to live in, work in, whatever and there’s nothing I hate more than waking up to a sink full of dishes and legos all over the floor.

So, Operation House Reset was under way and we are a year in + still using this strategy! Some days they need a little urging, but when the toys that don’t get reset might find their way into a sack of doom, little hands + feet move fast!

We all wake up to a clean house and happy attitudes!

Regardless of how you survive the season when the hubs is gone, give yourself grace. Patience wears thin + emotions high and we are all trying to do the best we can. Honestly, Quiet Time has been my saving grace some days because I make them feel like they are getting some extra time to stay up when really they just go to their bedrooms earlier, but it gives me the time to go to my room, close the door, and do my thing usually uninterrupted!

I can get to bed at a decent hour so I am well rested and ready to go again the next day!

We’re gonna talk next week about being a work from home mama and some hacks that I have found to be able to get things done!