Waving goodbye to my husband as he goes off for yet another business trip, a myriad of thoughts pass through my brain.
They really are a progression of thoughts starting from the ones where I am seriously pissed off, moving to the ones when I am almost elated. At this point he has reached the car, and when he turns back I am grinning from ear to ear and waving like a monkey.
He thinks it’s because I am happy for him, when actually I may just be happy for me. Let me share my progression of thoughts with you, as this is what many moms feel when their husbands walk out the door on another conveniently timed business trip.
1. Is it really business?
We all have this thought at some point, even the most faithful mothers. It is somehow just wired into the insecurity of our DNA to assume that at some point he may actually be cheating. Then we start listing our flaws and the things we should change, and if you are like me, your imagination runs so far away that you are actually holding the conversation with him that you would have upon catching him in the act. I can see it right now in my head, and exactly how the scene would play out.
We are shouting, and he looks guilty as I’m sending some sharp piercing words towards him which hit his chest in an explosion of successful and alarmingly bloody motions. And just when I am about to deliver my knockout blow, his mouth suddenly says “mama” and I’m like no way, this is not part of my fantasy! I shake my head and look down to see a trail of Cornflakes and my 2 year old soaked in milk. Breakfast time!
2. Why does he get to go and I get stuck with the kids?
Business trips should include kids. I mean seriously, the only business I get to do is the occasional session on the porcelain and even then I have to take my kids with me. I would love to dress up in a fancy suit and go off with a briefcase to only God knows where to discuss only God knows what, that simply could not be done over the telephone.
Hello people, conference calling! And off he goes into the rising sunlight whilst I wipe snot off my child’s face in the hopes that it will come off my 6 year old holey nightie. As I watch him drive off, I think to myself that I need to get a petition going that categorically states that there should be a “fathers take kids on a business trip” initiative.
3. Am I going to cope?
Being home alone with the kids has its mundane moments, but it is the not so mundane moments that get to me. It is the moments where it is 5am and the kids are up and ready, but are far too little to be left unsupervised in the house, and far too old to shove on the boob in the hope that they will go back to bed.
It is the moment where I have two birthday parties to go to, both starting at the same time. I get the kids in the car and start the engine, and remember I forgot the presents. Running back inside I debate the safety of leaving my children in a car with the engine running and the keys in the ignition.
Locking the door again, I jump into the car and am about to pull off when dear child number 2 screams “Wee Wee!” I force her to cop a squat on the pavement in the hope that nobody is watching. Right, the children are buckled and we are out the gate when child number 1 shouts, “Mom I forgot my hat!” I say to myself that I should tell him to forget the damn hat, but I hear myself saying the opposite simply to avoid a meltdown. At this point I am sure that I will probably never cope doing this all alone, as I have been far too spoiled with a husband.
4. Breathe! Stay in control!
All moms can attest to the time when little Stuart threw his Plush fish toy down the toilet so that Nemo could go home! Or the time when Sophie shoved all the bright crayons in every orifice of her body so that she could have a rainbow inside of her. And we all know how this seems to happen in the worst of moments, like when hubby is away. And it is at this point, when one child is screaming, the other is crying and the nerves are failing – that I think, bloody hell do not lose it!
Finally on the way to the party, I tell myself that I can do it and single moms do this all the time. But single moms do not have my kids! And my kids are hectic. Child 1 is now asking bizarre questions about where baby cows come from. I tell him that a daddy cow puts it there, to which he argues is impossible as a daddy cow has no hands! Child 2 is singing nonsensical songs which at any other time would be cute, but right now is killing me. I am sure that I am breaking the speed limit but I hesitate to check. Breathe in and out, I tell myself.
5. Bet he is having great adult time!
By the time I am at the final event of the day, bitterness has started to sink in. At all the kiddie functions one can go to, there may be mums and other adults, but they are not on a normal adult plain at that point! I can hear adults around me reducing themselves to midgets as they kneel down and say things like “Does booboo wanna go poopoo on the potty!?” I mean seriously, I know that we need to meet our kids on their levels, but sometimes I just wanna meet an adult on an adult level! I bet my husband and all husbands around the world simply love their adult time, even if it is random business talk about stocks, shares and the latest electronic gadget.
But I too want to talk about these random things without Susie tugging at my stocking, clinging to my high heels and throwing a major tantrum because I packed the Barney bottle and not the Doc McStuffins one. In my head I start to drift off to my comfort spot where I am sitting beside the fire writing this article and sipping my wine.
6. Now I can’t drink my bloody wine!
It would be incredibly irresponsible of me to drink any form of alcohol whilst my husband is away. I start to imagine being slightly tipsy and slipping in the bath, or passing out in bed and the kids waking up without me being aware of it.
That certainly would be bad parenting, I mean it’s is just a no-no right….right? Argh, I bet husband is drinking a super decent cocktail right now and here I am at a birthday party singing farm songs around a cake that looks like a pigs backside. And I can’t even have my wine.
7. Bastard gets to sleep through the night.
My biggest grievance in my long thought process is the fact that he will come home and tell me how exhausted he is from travelling and attending all the meetings. He will expect me to look at him lovingly and bat my eyelids in understanding – which I will do. But in my head all I can think is that I have not clue what the hell he is on about, he got to sleep the night through! Solid! And more than one night at that!
8. You better phone me!
Thinking about him being tired and sleeping the night through takes me back to thought process number one, and again I begin to wonder if he is tired because he was doing something else all night. Suddenly I have this urge to phone him, but it’s barely even lunch time and he hasn’t been gone long. I start to talk to him in my head, willing him to phone me! If he does I will be amazed and certainly take up telepathy as a hobby.
9. My business doesn’t allow me a moment off, let alone a trip!
Jealousy is definitely a factor in most mothers’ minds when they are left alone with the kids. We know that deep down we will miss our kids deeply if we had to leave them. But we also know that we need a break too. If only being a mother included fancy trips to the spa and massage parlour. Or a coffee date with people that were willing to discuss something else other than their children. But do not ask me to get a job; I couldn’t bear to actually be away from my kids.
10. What the hell am I going to do with the kids!
It’s amazing how fast kids can move through activities that in your head, you had planned to last at least an hour each. My kids of course go through every puzzle, drawing activity and outside game imaginable all in one day. That leaves a bunch load of days till husband gets home and a bunch less activities to do. Some mums are organised and have an itinerary of events planned for their little ones, but other moms are more normal and wing it as they go. I certainly am one of those moms and by the third day I am calling up people I swore I wouldn’t socialise with, just to have an excuse to get out of the house.
11. Ooh the television is all mine!
Once the kids are in bed, couples often settle down to watch a few shows on television. Most nights for us include gold diving, gold digging, Alaska and fishing. Sounds like the perfect concoction of the ideal couples evening right? Ha! Not so much. No, hubby is away and I am inviting Richard Gere, Channing Tatum and that new guy Ansel Elgort. Movie time and the tissues are ready!
12. I can eat what I want!
Like most mums and wives, I generally try to eat healthy especially when my husband is around. It is not a pretty sight to see a woman engorging themselves on chocolate, chips and the likes simply because they can and likewise for husbands. So now that he is away, the chocolate (and NOT the sugar free one) is out and so is the ice-cream.
13. I am not cooking!
Frozen pizza, toasted sandwiches and a whole bunch of oven chips is exactly what I plan to feed my little army. Healthy foods and home cooked meals are reserved for weekdays; being home without a husband calls for a change in routine! Goodbye treadmill, hello elasticised tracksuit pants and welcome chocolate! (If I cannot have my wine, I am going to have my Lindt!)
14. Do not phone me!
Midway through my favourite film, the part where Noah is about to tell Ali that he did write her letters for a whole year, my pants begin to vibrate. And not the “getting lucky” kind of vibrate, but the “husband is calling” vibrate. And suddenly I find myself thinking, do not phone me! I am finally in the zone where the kids are in bed, the coffee is hot and the chocolate is ready – and then he decides to phone! I mean how inconsiderate.
15. Come back!
The movie ends and suddenly I feel all emotional and certainly sorry for myself. Come back, I begin to think. I quickly run to check the clock and I see it has only been 12 hours since he left. Hmm, what the hell do I do now! I too have run the course of going through every activity that I had planned, including a movie and good food. And like every mother who has a husband away on business, I begin to pine for him. And for the next 78 hours I feel sorry for myself, as ultimately all mothers do when their husbands are away. And in the morning when I wake up at 5am, I know that I am going to start again at thought number one – is it really business?