“By the way, darling, I’m going to Argentina tomorrow.”
He drops the bombshell on his way out, ensuring he’s put the M25 safely between us before I fully clock the impact his latest business trip will have on my life.
By the time my husband settles in front of his computer with a coffee and I’m halfway through my second load of washing, I’m seething, resentment oozing from my pores like sweat during a hot yoga class.
A single mum
Face it, my inner voice says cheerfully, stoking the internal flame of disgruntlement: “You’re practically a SINGLE mum.”
It’s got nothing to do with being pathetic or jealous, you understand. (But Argentina? Really, why can’t they send him to Finland or Manchester for God’s sake?)
Normally, when he comes home from the office I can take a well-deserved break, handing over the baton of sibling warfare arbitration and toddler taming, while they jubilate over daddy’s daily return from work. (Even when I went away once for a ladies’ weekend did I not qualify for that kind of reception, but that’s a blog post for another day.)
No respite, no Zen
When he’s travelling, there’s no handover, no respite. No time to work, no time to play, no me-time, no yoga, no Zen…
I become Godmother, Mother Theresa: the omnipotent fulfiller of every physical and emotional need three children aged between four and 11 could possibly have over a period of five days. And the need can be considerable, particularly as at least one of them usually comes down with the Norovirus in this time.
Of course my husband knows to choose the grimmest backdrops for our Skype conversations when he’s away and there’s a lot of mournful shaking of the head, bemoaning the ‘bad food’, ‘terrible company’ and ‘total exhaustion’ delivered with an expression befitting a funeral service.
I think he understands I might just change the locks, if I spotted any sign of a stunning sunset, endless sandy beach or Latino woman with killer calves in the background.
5 ways of keeping resentment in check
As you can tell, I don’t like it when my husband travels.
But over the years, I’ve developed a few strategies to keep the resentment under control, which I’ll happily share with you:
- Babysitter: I refuse to miss a yoga class or book club meeting: I pay a babysitter. It keeps me sane, which helps everyone.
- I do everything I would do if my husband were around – if I’m invited to a dance, I go alone. If his trip coincides with the school holidays, we go on holiday without him.
- We go out for a meal (and a few glasses of Chardonnay –for me) or get take-aways at least once, so I get a break from cooking and washing up.
- We watch films my husband won’t enjoy, play board games he doesn’t like and listen to music he hates.
- I have learned to appreciate my own company again. After the children had gone to bed – I read my book for as long as I want without having to endure long conversations about who’s backstabbing who in his workplace or explain why I need more chocolate or another glass of wine.
I’m not quite at the stage where I look forward to his next trip, but I’m beginning to see some positives in the situation.
And that stops me obsessing about him sipping bubbly in business class or tangoing the night away with a rose between his teeth.
PS. I’m a semi-finalist in the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging Awards in the Writer and Commentary categories, If you like what you read, I’d be so very happy if you voted for me.
Click on the badges below to vote. It’s ever so easy. Thanks.by
Brilliant! know how it feels…. lookng into babysitter option so I can go back to my power yoga class :-)x
Glad to know I’m not the only one who feels resentment. Go for it!
Before I bow and breathe out… What really gets me sometimes is that we are supposed to enjoy all that grafting because as a mother you do… love doing laundry and the dishes! End of rant …namaste
Nice post, I feel that having a BabBee had made me less independent and I am watching the door waiting for DaBee to arrive after work which I never used to! I love your list of positives though, especially not having to explain the wind and chocolate (wind should have read wine but it is also apt!) Bee x
Not having to explain the wind! LOL!
I should have added that to my list! Very funny.
Brilliant! I feel a little of the same. Hubby just got back from a trip and returned to fanfare and jublilation, while I had been juggling behaviour management, school runs and general caretaker duties. But at least I got to have peaceful baths in the evenings and paint my nails while being fully in charge of the TV remote!
Absolutely brilliant! I have to say I do enjoy my me time when Ross is away. I will take your 5 points on board next time too. SO pleased your wonderful writing got shortlisted for the BiBs (you know where I stand on that!! ;)). Will make sure I vote xx
My sympathies. My husband did three months of extra long shifts (so no handover because he needed pampered after his long important day of work) and I was ready to commit murder.
I’m not great on pampering – and if really needed, do so through gritted teeth. Jet lag doesn’t get much sympathy from me either.
Heartfelt sympathies,I suppose at least he has the decency not to lord it on Skype, but I would still be chalking it up in the invisible book of favours owed …
I do too! So glad so many people feel the same. My husband’s colleagues are apparently ‘horrified’ about ‘what he’s up against!” Someone with personality and a brain?
Ja nee…ek weet wat jy bedoel. Sit hier alleen by die huis, hoog swanger, pas 2 kinders in die bed gesit, kan skaars my oe oophou maar moet nou eers werk, want ek kon nie vandag daarby uitkom nie – moes met dinosaurs speel en boomklim (swanger en al, no kidding) en keer dat kinders in die swembad verdrink – om nie te praat van die hele avontuur wat ek gehad het om ons groen paddapoel weer blou te kry want manlief “het nie daarby uitgekom” voor sy 3 weke business trip UK toe nie. Dan sien ek op Facebook hoe post hy oor die lekkerste burger in Londen. Ek kan nie onthou of ek aandete gehad het nie…of wag…het ek nou weer?
Dis erg! Take it easy on yourself. Take shortcuts – come with to visit old friends next time he comes to London!!