Traveling is hell. Especially when it’s not me. It’s my husband’s traveling that kills me. He goes off on a business trip, stays in a room with daily maid service, eats out with people and comes back to the room where, choreless, he can watch TV and go to bed. I stay home, work, try to take off early so I can get some me time during my toddler’s nap, feed her when she wakes up, run errands or entertain her all afternoon, make dinner, eat silently with her, get her ready for bed, read a few books, put her to bed and go to sleep. And he wonders why I hate his business trips. The worst part is that he will never understand what it’s like to be home without him. When he’s here, he plays with her when he gets home, gets her ready for bed and reads to her. Not a lot of work but definitely a big help. He also does dishes. And, I feel like a 50s housewife when I say this, he breaks up my day. He’s my best friend and I look forward to seeing him. Without him, 6:30 just comes and goes, with TV reruns the only thing left before I escape into dreams.
He will never get the opportunity to know how I feel because I’m too worried that he’d snap if I left him alone with our daughter for a few days. Because he would. After two hours, he’s yelling at her to shut up and telling her Mommy went away because she was bad. Once I’m back he does a couple of shots of tequila and retreats to the garage to “Get some stuff done because I can’t do anything with her.” Duh. And I explain to him that he has to learn to do things with her around in case I get hit by a bus. But I’m sure he would just find another wife, just in time to make dinner and change her poopy diaper. The other reason is that he wouldn’t stand for it. It’s not that he’s the boss of me; it’s that it wouldn’t be worth enduring the ensuing complaints once I announced my intent.
I’ve lost three holiday weekends this year and expect to lose a few more. For some reason, every trip this year has stolen one day of a holiday weekend from us, one paid holiday that I will never get back. I would hate to be that dedicated to my job, but I guess I’m grateful he is. I reap the benefits of the pros, but unfortunately bear the brunt of the cons.
I cope with the traveling by over scheduling. I’ve planned play dates, club meetings and doctor’s appointments to fill up every afternoon. It’s dinner that’s going to kill me. I love talking with my daughter but dinner conversation gets a little old when it’s limited to “Stop banging your fork! We don’t do that! Put it down! I said put it down! Now! Ok, no more food.” I told my husband we’re going to call him during dinner so he can help me get through. We’ll put the phone in his place on speaker and he can tell our daughter to stop banging her fork. I will tell him about everything I did that day all by myself. I’ll tell him he’s the first grownup voice I’ve heard all day. I’ll tell him how tired I am. And it’ll be excruciatingly boring. And maybe, for those 20 minutes, he’ll understand, maybe just a little, what it’s like for me when he’s gone.