They say it takes a village to raise a child. I’m here to tell you what it’s like when you don’t have that village. First of all, we have plenty of family within 20 minutes of our home, yet we rarely see 90% of that family. I also have a husband who works most weeks 7 days a week. Some of those days are spent at the Firehouse where he is gone for 24 hours at a time. Some of those days, he’s working his part time job (because first responders are NEVER paid enough and almost all have to find part time work) where he’s gone to work long before the kids begin waking up or long after they are asleep. So, long are the days and nights for this mama of four. We rarely have date nights, let alone date weekends or sleepovers at a grandparents house. While it hurts my heart greatly for my children and their grandparents to miss out on this time together, it brings me back to the saying, ” you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” I can’t force people to want to spend time my kids. All I can do, is surround myself with the family that does show up and love my kids. I can hope all day long for a closer knit family, but at the end of the day, I’m here to say it is completely possible to do (mostly) alone. One of the ways that we are able to do this, is through routine. My kids know the way things work around here. They also have assigned chores/jobs. I would lose my mind around here if I had to handle everything alone. They have a running list on the refrigerator of things expected of them. Also, for the most part they handle bedtime pretty well. I’m not losing my mind nightly fighting everyone into their beds. This was taught at an early age as well. While I’m not saying I never have a child in my bed at some point, I’m saying they primarily do not start there. This bed time ease gives me the much needed downtime I crave. While I don’t stay up too late (another tip! because they’ll get up the same time no matter what time I go to bed) it is so nice to spend that 2 hours to decompress. And I’ve mentioned before, we use Walmart Grocery Pick Up(see my post on that here: https://outnumbered.blog/2018/05/08/walmart-grocery-pick-time-budget-and-sanity-saver/#more-60). That was a huge game changer for me. Not having to take all four kids to the grocery store for an hour with a full grocery cart and kids fighting is a huge win! Also Amazon! The less stress I put on my own plate, the better my day goes. It is also always a great idea to spend time away from home at some point. The day doesn’t drag as long if you take them to the pool, park, etc for some fresh air. While we haven’t done this as much since we moved to 28 acres and they can spread out on their own, the outside time is great for them either way; and now that it is summer time, we are spending more days at one of the 10% of the family we see regularly’s pool. The moral of this story is basically, although it sucks to not have the village that I so crave, it is possible to do primarily alone and while I have hopes that in the future the kids spend more time with family, I’m confident in my abilities as a Mother to do the best that I can for my kids and always put them first. And I sure as hell plan to make sure to always be the best Mother and eventual Grandmother that I can be for my family.