My husband, Clint, is gone quite a bit during the summer time with his youth group. As a result, I have a LOT of single Mom time during the summer. 32 nights last summer. 32. We live 12 hours from family and my parents have made it abundantly clear that they do not visit Houston, TX during the summer months. I can’t really fault them for this, it is hot as death here. 108 degree heat indexes should not happen during the first week of June where actual, real humans are trying to live/function.
Last summer I decided I wasn’t going to leave town when Clint was gone. I decided that I was going to bank on the community that we have built in order to help me while I was solo for the summer. As hot as it was, it was the best decision. We have the most incredible/uncommon community of friends. (This will be SO many more posts, because I can’t get over how relationship-rich we are.)
Undoubtedly, the toughest time with young children is 4:00pm-7:00pm. It is the end of the day, they are cranky, they are tired but don’t want to go to bed, you have to clean them, read books to them, convince them they want to sleep, etc. My friends and I have come up with a solution to this quandary. Toddler dinners. That’s right. Dinners with those cute, irrational, short people who live in your home. And their cute, irrational, short friends. (And their Mom, NO ONE gets dropped off for this)
Here’s what this looks like.
Total chaos, right? For the record, the guitar in the right-hand corner of the picture lived to tell the tale.
So here’s how this happens at your house.
- Find friends that have no husband for the night, a few days, etc. (You can do this with whoever you want, obviously) I originally invited others with the sales pitch of “why lose your mind by yourself, let’s do it together!”
- Don’t clean your house. Seriously. All I do when I am hosting one of these is remove all things that could potentially be used as a weapon or a choking hazard. That being said, one time a board book of ours was EATEN by another child. I didn’t know this was possible but turns out it is. You will need to clean up afterwards, don’t worry.
- Have people over after naps to play before dinner. Nobody needs to endure the witching hour alone. **Your toy room will not look the same after this. Better homes and gardens doesn’t look at playrooms so don’t fret.
- Be ok with slightly dangerous events happening.
5. Serve food that children and adults will eat. Chicken nuggets, Spaghetti, fruit, bread, cookies. (It’s perfectly acceptable to have a beer with this meal, you’ll probably need it.)
6. Clean up as a team. Four Moms can knock out a dirty kitchen way faster than one. Did you know that there are people who disinfect their tables and counters after every meal? I didn’t. I sure don’t do that myself, but you’ll learn a lot during this activity.
Last summer there was a group of 4 of us that did this all week when all of our husbands were gone. The best part was that you only had to cook ONE meal then just show up the other nights. So this is a win for everybody. Your children may not know how to eat without all of their friends for a few days but they’ll figure it out.
Life is better together and we aren’t made to be an island, so find some buddies and make your table look like this.