My husband is away on a business trip for two weeks. I had known about the trip for a while and had ample time to mentally prepare for two weeks of flying solo with my two kids. They’re ages 4 and 7, and they’re pretty easy as kids go, but parenting alone (as you may know very well) can be grueling. Both of my kids are in school until 3 pm every afternoon, but it’s all on me the rest of the time. (And no, we don’t have family living by to help out.) So when I say I’m alone with the kids for two weeks, I mean I’m really alone with them for two weeks.
I figured doing all the mornings, school drop-offs, baths and bedtimes myself would get tiring. I anticipated that by Sunday afternoon of both of the weekends my husband was away, I’d be bribing my kids with TV just so I could have a few minutes to myself. I figured the length of time would be my biggest challenge. I was wrong.
See, today is the eleventh day of my husband’s business trip. He was in London and now he’s in the South of France. He called this afternoon to talk to the kids, knowing we’d all be in the car on the way home from my son’s school. When I asked him how his day was going he signed and said, “I’m exhausted. There was a dinner tonight for the head of the company. Everyone wanted to get champagne afterward. I’m wiped out.”
I was so angry I could barely talk. “You there?” he asked. “Yup,” I said before telling him we needed to hang up.
See, not only is it the eleventh day that I’ve been the only person to drive our two kids to their two different schools, the only person to make them their three meals and 420 snacks per day and the only person to drive to soccer training, get the homework down and deal with meltdown #47 because the apple wasn’t sliced just so, it’s also the eleventh day that my husband has dared to complain to me from his hotel in Europe that he’s wiped out.
Wiped out? From what? Room service or the hotel maid who cleans up after him and fluffs his pillows to perfection? Is he wiped out from having to only worry about himself? Is he wiped out from not having to wipe anyone’s butt but his own? Is he wiped out from sleeping? Is he wiped out from not having to hear the same story a dozen times? Because I am actually wiped out from doing all of those things for nearly two weeks by myself and I’m not complaining about it!
My husband’s job requires him to travel a couple times a year. I recognise that just because someone is staying in a hotel, even in a glamorous location like the South of France, it doesn’t mean that the work they are doing while on the road isn’t tiring. I totally understand that. But here’s the thing: It can’t possibly be as exhausting as parenting alone. Because no matter what when someone is travelling for work, they have a break. They get to return to their hotel room, even if just for the evening and they get to be quiet. They get to decompress with terrible TV. They get a break from answering questions and cleaning up after others. They get to re-charge.
So while I’m tired from being both Mum and Dad for nearly two weeks, I’m mostly just tired of hearing my husband complain about his exhausting trip.
The next time he calls, I’m going to help him see that his trip really isn’t that tiring at all. When he complains, I’m going to suggest that when he gets home he take care of the kids by himself for a bit. I’m fairly certain that his business trip won’t seem so exhausting after all. Or, at the very least, I’m pretty sure that the next time he travels for work and I ask him how his trip is going he’ll have the good sense to say, “Great. I’m getting a lot of work done, but I can’t wait to come home.” Because anything else is just too tiring to hear.
Does your husband travel a lot? Do you get this too?
More letting it out on The B*tch Board: