Way way back before we had kids, I remember having an especially contentious fight with my husband over business trips. It was a ridiculous argument, as the business travel was entirely RHETORICAL at that point. I just wanted to make it clear to my husband, he of the revolting work ethic, that I didn't want to be married to someone who traveled all the time. "What kind of life would that be!" I wailed at my husband who was, no doubt, tasking every muscle in his body to resist rolling his eyes. "We're supposed to be TOGEEEETHEEEER!"
Fast forward six years and two children later and I'm just thankful my husband still HAS his job. A job that as of recently requires full weeks away from us. Next week, for the third time in five months, Phillip will fly away to a suburb of a big Southern city while I stay home with the kids, Monday through Friday, all by ourselves. WOE.
But you know, by this point I'm feeling like quite the Business Trip Expert and I thought I'd share my Survival Tips. Ready?
1. Don't cook! Sure, some of you love to cook, and it was recommended to me that I try out new recipes for fun while my husband is away. But you know what? Not having to think about what to make for dinner every night is probably the best part of daddy not coming home after work. I can happily subsist on bread, wine and the occasional (okay, nightly) slice of chocolate cake. And my kids don't eat real food anyway. We eat grilled cheese, apple slices, chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, pizza, canned soup, French toast and cereal and we all go to bed happy with a minimal amount of effort on my part. WIN.
2. Milk it! Do your friends know your husband is leaving you all alone with the children for days on end? I highly recommend you make sure they do. I have one friend who invites the kids and me over for dinner one night during the business trip weeks. We show up as soon as the kids wake up from their afternoon naps and we don't leave until I'm sure they'll fall asleep in the car on the way home and I can just deposit them in their beds. Me = Spoiled! I have other friends who come over after the kids are in bed - they bring food! And drink! And conversation! It's truly an excellent time. There's a lot to be said for being pitied.
3. Treats! Are there three more nights of feeding the kids, bathing them, and doing the bedtime routine all by your lonesome? Well OBVIOUSLY you deserve a present. Don't wait for your husband to hand you the chocolate bar he picked up in the airport gift shop. Take your kids to the bookstore and finally buy that book you always thumb through when they're playing at the train table. In bed with your laptop trolling through Etsy? Buy that item you favorited the day before. Retail therapy cures loneliness! You heard it here!
4. You're in charge! That means you can watch all the Glee you want, dominate the Netflix queue, talk on the phone all night and find out what it feels like to leave YOUR socks all over the house. It also means you don't have to factor in another person's opinion when it comes to a misbehaving kid or what time they go to bed. It wasn't until my husband went on his first trip that I realized how focused I am on his needs, as well as the kids'. On business trip weeks, when the kids finally go to bed, those evenings are MINE. Which isn't to say I don't miss my husband and prefer he were home, but it's not so bad having a few nights all to yourself either. Sex and the City marathon anyone?
I've heard a lot of great and practical suggestions too. Take that extra time to work on a specific project - getting that scrapbook finished, finishing up some work on the house, purging the basement or garage. I have to say, that's probably the best and most productive use of your alone time, and I've made some big plans for getting some writing done while Phillip is gone next week. But honestly? I'll probably just catch up on the season finales I missed and the giant stack of Entertainment Weeklies sitting in my living room. And when he gets home I'll treat myself to a nice pedicure because that week of TV watching and Entertainment Weekly reading was really hard on me and I need some alone time! HA.
How do you survive business trips?