Dad’s Weekend At Deer Camp: Confessions of a Hunting Wife

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I feel like I should be delivering this post like the iconic scene from Blair Witch—bleary eyed, staring into the camera, my vision darting around in anticipation of being overcome by an unseen creature. Except it’s even more terrifying in real life because I have a round face that looks terrible on a front-facing camera and I’m hiding from a toddler.

My husband has been up north at deer camp. For those non-Midwesterners, it is a strange ritual where men gather in a small cabin to marinate in the smell of cigar smoke and unwashed bodies, listen to each other snore, play Euchre, exaggerate probably everything, drink whiskey by the gallon, and then wake up at the crack of dawn to handle firearms while perched in a cold tree. Hard pass.

Deer camp for me has meant…solo parenting since Wednesday. Send. Help. Now. For as much as I like to think my husband doesn’t do, he is really proving his worth in his absence.

So, here’s the captain’s log—

Wednesday: My traditional day off of work. Off to a good start. Wake up, caffeinate in bed, and wait for the little ones to rouse. Find a sweet love note from my husband promising to come home Sunday. Deal. I start going stir crazy around 5PM. Usually at that point I can rely on my husband walking in the door to relieve me of my duties while I finish making dinner, and then enjoy some time to let my brain melt into my phone screen or trash TV. I look at my kids and realize it’s just us. It’s quite the stare down. I manage to feed them, bathe them, and get them all snuggled in bed. I pour a drink and proceed with the above mentioned brain melt. Somehow we survive.

Thursday: Wake up, get kids off to daycare, rush into work (late), leave work (early), pick up from daycare, and try not to forget things. Except I do forget. I forget that it’s normally my husband who cleans up the dinner dishes. I look at them in defeat and proceed with bedtime routine, promising myself that I’ll tackle them tomorrow.

Friday: By now I am realizing a few things. Weekdays without a partner are rough. Dishes left in the sink overnight are even rougher. Although, I must say it has been pretty nice to have some special time with the little ones. They are the lights of my life and my oldest slays me with his sense of humor. After they’ve gone to bed, I get to just be quiet, watch whatever I want on TV, and snuggle up with my dogs for some solid sleep…better sleep than I imagine my husband is getting at deer camp. I don’t even have the energy to pour a drink.

Saturday: Deer camp has me thinking. I really miss my partner in all of this. I miss telling him about how my day went, and bouncing ideas off of him because he’s really smart and seems to have all the answers. I am fully affirmed just how much he helps out, and how lucky we all are to have him. I should probably appreciate him more but it gets easy to lose the details in the shuffle. He loves the baby, feeds the puppies, and we just trade off tasks and responsibilities like it’s something we’ve been doing forever. When insomnia hits, it’s nice to reach over to touch a big hunk of sleeping man because sometimes just the steady breathing next to me can calm my anxious mind.

Sunday: The day of our Lord is almost upon us. I hope he doesn’t come home too hungover because this mama needs a break. I dream of aimlessly wandering the aisles of Whole Foods and then spending my mortgage on enough ingredients to make dinner. I hope he enjoyed his well-deserved break from the routine and responsibility, and I really hope he’s happy to come home from deer camp, because we definitely missed him.

Moms, are you looking for something to do while dad’s away at deer camp? Bundle up the kids and head out for a fall hike!

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