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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How do you cope when your husband travels?

My husband travels for business and every month or two he is gone for anywhere from a few days to a week.

He is currently in Seattle (haha it's raining there) and this time around I zeroed in on the pattern of behavior that I go through each and every time he travels.

Read through my stages of being a temporary single parent after the jump.

1. The Disclosure - Panic

R: I have to go to Seattle for business, probably next week.

Me: What? When exactly? I need to know the exact dates and times and oh my god there could be important things that you will miss! *panic* WHO WILL TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE? How will this affect meeeeee?

2.  The Day of Departure - Bitterness

R: I have to be at the airport at 6pm.

Me: Oh great - I guess you couldn't have booked a worse time for me to have to pack up a kid in the car and drive you all the way to the airport (5 miles away, heh) and back. Thanks for thinking of US.

R: Never mind, I'll cab.

3. The First Day Alone - Frustration

(35th time we've had some version of this conversation in one day)

Ender: Mommy!  MOMMY!  MOM! Mom! ... MOMMY! 

Me: Yes, E, what would you like?

Ender: More_______ please!

*this is when I want to punch my husband in the face for leaving me alone with a tyrant

4. Second Day Alone - Realization

Me: Why yes, Esmerelda, Ender and I can come out for a dinner play date. I got to bed at 9pm last night! I feel great. And I don't have to stay home and do dishes because when R is away the dish load is literally cut in half! Wheee!

5. Third Day Alone - Party Time

Me: Come over for a glass of wine after E goes down, ladies! We'll talk about periods and pregnancy and childbirth and Ryan Gosling and watch reality shows on TV!  Yay!!!

*this is the day that I realize I don't have to figure out dinner or listen to how my husband's very interesting day at work was and that I can have grown up lady talk with no man around to ruin it

6. Fourth Day Alone - In the Groove

Laundry is caught up because there aren't 17 pairs of man-sized socks and underwear every day. Dishes are done. Kitchen is clean. Bathroom is rid of beard hair shavings. No towels on the floor.

I am beholden to no man! Roar!

7. Day Five - The Return

R: So how did it go?

Me: It was pretty awful - it's really hard when you are gone. I miss you so much and E gets really upset that you are away.

R: Is that popcorn in our bed? And the mac book with Jake & the Neverland Pirates on a continual loop playing on the bedside table? Why are there 74 hot wheels arranged in an elaborate crash scene on the family room floor and not put away? Did you drink all the wine?

Me: What? Noooo.  Let's just get you unpacked. Oh, and it's your turn to put Ender to bed because I had to do it all week. Welcome home :)

It's a darned good thing my husband is blessed with infinite patience. It kind of makes him immune to my bouts of neurotic oddness.

How do YOU cope when your husband/partner travels for business or pleasure? Book as many play dates as possible? Plan 'special' nights with the kiddo(s) like movie night? Do fun things like breakfast for dinner? Have activities planned at home like crafts etc? (I do all those things). What about you?


Alexandra Burt said...

I guess I remember my Dad going on business trips and I had a great time with my Mom when he was gone. I always felt that raising a daughter I had to make sure that she sees the strengths in women.
- ENJOY your kid. Just the two of you. Lots of playground time. Fresh air. Makes them pass out at night.
- Don't worry about cleaning up. Isn't the entire house cleaner than when he is around?
- TV dinners and soup cans require no clean-up. Consider yourself lucky.
- Find another 'single' mom and spend time together.
- Figure out what you are made of.
- Wine. Wine. More wine.
I live in a military community where Dads (and Moms) leave for a year or longer. Did you hear me? A year or longer! Into a war zone. Not a business trip. Yes, that day/week doesn't sound so bad all of a sudden, does it?
Every time you are confronted with fear, dive right in. You will be surprised.
And always; this too shall pass.

Tracy said...

Thanks AB :) All great advice right there. It really does put it into perspective when you think about the military way of life. I think it becomes what we are used to.

When I was a kid my dad worked in logging camps and would be gone for 3 weeks, home for 1 week. I remember that my mom kept our schedule the same no matter what, and when my dad was home he had to fit into it.

And you are SO right - the house is so much cleaner when they are gone, heh hehe.

Erin Judd said...

HAHA! I LOVE THIS! My hubby goes to Base every Monday morning and comes home some time late Friday night. I go through a very similar pattern of emotions. Monday is a horrible day, usually because I'm partly hungover from date night Sunday night making taking care of my 3 month old almost unbearable and because I do miss my hubby. Then Tuesday I wake up refreshed from a good night's sleep (or at least from going to bed at a decent hour) and depending on the baby, get back into my single mom grove pretty quickly. When the baby is having a bad day, which right now seems like everyday, I tell my hubby when he calls that it's really hard (and it is) but it's not as horrible as it sounds. The worst part is the boredom for me and I'm ready for Friday to get here.

Tracy said...

Erin that is so true! It does get sort of boring. And for all the people who say that being a stay at home mom can't be boring - you can be extremely busy but still get bored mentally. That's why I think it is so important for us to have our own hobbies etc.

One Practical Woman said...

My husband has been on 10 business trips out of the past 13 weeks and I've about had enough.

Mine generally has to be up at 3:30AM to make his 6:30am flight so I make him drive and leave his vehicle at the airport. No way I'm waking the kids up at that hour!!

I do find that I get into a groove when he's away and that when he returns we almost have to learn to be a couple again. Hard as when he's only home for a few days it doesn't give us much time to settle back into that mode before I go back into 'single parenting' mode.

For the most part I didn't mind it too much the past few months until we reached the end of this month and I had to do all DD's b-day planning on my own, and am doing all the Christmas stuff on my own. Makes for a much larger workload.

I think when I miss him the most is when there's no one to talk to after I put the kids to bed at 7:30pm. Generally he does work from home at that time but at least I know he's here and that's some comfort.

On twitter we started a Grumpy Housewives club when a few of our husbands were out of town and we didn't get to sleep in or have a break from the kids :) It helps to have people to talk to about it!


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Diane T. said...

My husband doesn't have to travel for work but I still can relate to the order of events but in a much shorter interval. He'll let me know that he has a meeting after work, going out with friends, etc. I am immediately annoyed and think of how I'll have to feed the kids, bathe them, etc by myself. I find I get more annoyed with the kids that day because I know there is no relief coming in at night. But then I make a quick and easy meal, put the kids to bed, and realize that I have the house all to myself. I relax, pig out, watch what I want on tv, and think life as a "single mom" isn't so bad for just ONE night anyway! :)

Tracy said...

Thanks for all the comments you guys! Good to know we're not alone and there are some great tips in there!

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