I am proud (and thrilled) to report that I think I finally have it down...or at least it's not such a train wreck. Don't get my wrong, it stinks going it alone for a few weeks, but I'm doing it better this stay than I have in the past. I think I have figured out a few things that make it easier. In case you're single-parenting it, maybe these will help.
1. Do something special. For us, it's a trip. This helps kill quite a bit of time and is a nice distraction for both Mckenna and myself, but more than that, it helps shape hospital stays in Mckenna's brain. She knows we do something special when Daddy goes in. In fact, we talk about our upcoming trip a lot and usually with a, "girl's trip!" (said in girly screams) thrown in somewhere in the conversation. It takes the sting out of Ronnie leaving and gives us both something to look forward to and enjoy for part of the separation.
2. Keep days packed but relaxed. I have stuff planned for each day, even if it's just a trip to the gym and the park. I fill our days to make them go fast, but I learned early to leave wiggle room. This takes the stress out of it for me and makes days a little more controlled by her. If I plan a morning walk, I leave room for 14 stops to pet dogs and look for bugs. It limits fits when she's getting to hear "yes" to many of her requests, and days go quickly because we have stuff to do.
3. Go to the gym. This is my sanity saver!! Every day (or most days) I take full advantage of gym childcare, and I get my endorphins flowing! This is a great time out each day to give Mckenna time away from me, and me time away from her. Time that we both enjoy and love!
4. Have a support system. This is probably the biggest key to success. We are so incredibly blessed to have friends and family that chip in. We have friends that constantly ask how they can help (they even sometimes insist). They will take Mckenna for chunks of time, meet us for playdates, you name it. We also have family that is nothing short of amazing. They watch Mckenna overnight so I can spend time with Ronnie. They let us hang out, so we have to get out of the house and enjoy the company of others. And, maybe the most amazing of all, Ronnie's mom takes full care of Ronnie. Not only is it nice for Ronnie, it is huge peace of mind for me. It means I can focus on being mom, and not worry for one second about Ronnie being taken care of. She brings his meals, keeps him company, and is the overall caretaker for the most part. It is such a help, and nice for all of us!
I'm sure there's more, but it's after 8pm, and therefore it is bedtime for me...yup - 8PM!