I used to get asked this a lot, when The General worked a month on/month off in Scotland. I don't necessarily get it as much as I did then, but the question still pops up now and then. "How do you handle it?" "Wow! You drove all the way to San Antonio with your daughter by yourself?!" "You're flying alone with the baby?" "How do you handle the kids all alone?" Or some varying degree of any of those types of questions. Someone even asked The General once who was going to be staying with me when he left for a week long business trip (after our move to Houston). He was confused and shocked that anyone would think I needed help with the kids for a week.
Well, here's the simple answer. My kids are well behaved. They know my expectations and my limitations. And sometimes if and when they forget, I remind them from time to time or before a big trip or event. No, my children are not perfect, but they are really good kids and we simply do what we need to do get things done. The question "How do you do it?" has always seemed funny to me because I've never really thought of the how....we just do it.
I'm a firm believer in mind over matter and if you make a big deal out of something, then it will probably be a big deal. But, if you don't stress about things and concentrate on enjoying the adventure, whatever it may be, it will be easy peasy. Whether its flying with 2 kids by yourself or taking a day trip to another city or simply staying home alone with your kiddos for more than a day or two. Set the limits and expectations with your kids before anything big (ie a trip, event, pictures, etc) and be sure to follow them. The expectations are just as much for me as they are for the girls. And let me tell you, my kids aren't just well behaved, they are smart too. So I know that once I have explained what is expected of them, they will stick pretty close to that.
Will they push your limits? Yes. Will they try to get away with more than you've allowed? Probably. But here's the trick. Hold strong in what you're allowing and what you're not. Remind them of your expectations and explain them if you need to ("You have to hold Mommy's hand in the airport because there are lots of people and Mommy would hate to lose you in the crowd"). Once you have reminded them, they'll know that what you are saying is also what you mean. You can't say no and then turn around 5 minutes later and give in. Trust me it will only make it worse and stress you out.
So stop stressing! Go into any and all situations calm and relaxed. If its going to happen, it will happen whether you enjoy it or stress out about it so why start off stressed? Go into all situations with (and without) your kids with positive expectations, express those expectations- and remember its ok if reminders are needed from time to time, and come out of those situations calm, cool, and collected. If you go in with expecting negative behaviors and dreading the experience, then that's probably what you will get. The mind is a powerful thing so use it to your advantage! Before you know it, you'll have people asking you "How do you do it?!" Well? How DO you do it? Leave your answers in the comments!