In June we found out my husband needed open heart surgery to replace a valve. We were all in shock because he has had no symptoms and apparently he was born with a bicuspid valve and no one has ever caught the murmur. You can read about out we found out it here – with a little divine intervention.
When we met with the surgeon that was referred to us, we knew that’s who we wanted. He was in NYC which on a good traffic day is about 1.5 hour drive for us.
Which meant that I would staying at the hospital during the whole week recovery and not seeing the kids.
We are very fortunate that my parents are retired and even though they live 5 hours away, they will drop everything if we need them.
So we knew the kids would be in good hands while we were away but I had no idea how recovery would be, how much help he would need when we got home and all the other unknowns.
So the 3 weeks we had gearing up to the surgery to get prepared, this is what I did.
- Secured more childcare. Yes, my parents would be there, but they’re not used to running around with a 2 and 4 year 24/7. Just like I need a break, they would need a break. So I asked our normal sitter if she could come an extra day, along with her normal days and play with the kids so my parents could have a little break.
- Planned out meals. Feeding two toddlers is a struggle. Sometimes they eat without complaining. Some days they just want to eat yogurt and kiwi. The struggle is real. I didn’t want to pass that struggle on to my parents so I signed up for a company called Nurture Life. Which is a food subscription service for babies, toddlers and kids. You order your meals ahead of time and they arrive refrigerated not frozen so you just pop them in the refrigerator and heat when you’re ready to eat. I didn’t know how my kids would react but they did okay. I like that I ordered different meals for them and we could mix and match with what they like. It’s also great to give you ideas, and let them try new items. So these meals were a lifesaver on those days when my parents didn’t really know what to feed the kids, or when I got home and just didn’t have the energy to prep for meal time. It was nice to know that I had a wholesome meal ready for them. If you want to try Nurture life, you can use my referral code and get $20 off.
- Cleaned. Everything. I don’t know if it was the anxiety of the surgery or what but I tackled everywhere in my home. I cleaned out closets and drawers, and anything I could get my hands on. I didn’t want to come home and see little projects and keep saying to myself. I really need to do that. I just wanted it done.
- Ran the errands. I took back the cans, dropped stuff off at charities, returned library books, did all the those little annoying errands you have to do.
- Learned the ropes. So while Bill would be recovering he would have many restrictions for 8 weeks. One of those restrictions was mowing the lawn. So now it was my turn. I have mowed lawns in my day but I have never used a zero turn mower which is what we purchased two years ago. So before his surgery, he gave me the tutorial on starting it and maneuvering it. He even gave me little commands to try out: mow to the fire pit, then back up and go around the rocks etc. If you are someone wouldn’t be comfortable doing it on your own, this is the time to plan for lawn care and anything else you might need.
- Loaded up the GPS. My parents are not from around here, but they would still need to run to the store, take Henry to school, take them to the park etc. So what I did was loaded up my GPS in my car with all of our favorite places so my parents could just search for them in my car and go.
- Bought Supplies. We asked the nurses during pre-op if there was anything we would specifically need after surgery, any aspirin etc. We then bought all the necessaries like toilet paper, tooth paste stuff that you need and you don’t want to run out of. I didn’t want to keep running to the store, with two toddlers..since the hubby wouldn’t be able to pick them up, So I made sure everything was stocked.
- What we told the kids. We talked very simple with kids. We told them Daddy needed to go see the Dr to make him better. We would be gone for a little while but Grammie and Pa were going to be here. (They’re always excited when they come). We also made it about what Daddy can do after he’s healed. He can run and play soccer etc once he’s healed. We kept it positive.
We are grateful that we have family we can lean on during these times. If you don’t, talk to you friends and neighbors about emergencies. Would they be able to take the kids if something happens? Could you reciprocate with their kids?
This is a plan you need to have in place. We were lucky that we had a couple of weeks to prepare. If we didn’t it would have been really stressful.
I hope this post gives you a few ideas on how to prepare incase you need to leave without the kids for a while..even it is a vacation!