I am currently sitting in an airport (BWI, if you MUST know), about twenty minutes from boarding a flight that will take me back to my family after four days away. JUST KIDDING, that flight totally got cancelled by the airline, and now I’m about EIGHT HOURS, yes, you read that right, eight long hours from boarding the flight. Instead of being home Monday for dinner, I’ll be arriving home Tuesday around 3 a.m., and I am majorly majorly bummed. On the one hand, I’m thankful that I’m traveling without kids this time, but on the other hand, I’m realllllly bummed that I won’t be greeted by their hugs and kisses when I arrive home.
And also, I’m just really bummed that I got up at 5 a.m. this morning to catch an 8 a.m. flight and that by time I get home, I’ll have been up almost twenty-four hours.
But I digress.
This little trip I’m on was a fun jaunt with my sister-in-law to see a competition my 18-year-old nephew was in…and it was great. But I left my husband and kids at home. A couple of time a year, I travel for work, and leave the husband and kids at home. When I meet people on these excursions, whether for work or for play, they invariably will ask me, “Who’s watching the kids when you’re away?”
It’s a fair question, and in this case, the answer is “my parents and my husband.” My husband wasn’t able to get off work this week (or he would have been on the trip with me, actually), but much of the time when I am traveling without kids, my husband ends up taking days off work and staying with them. This time, my folks are helping out, but he had parent duty on the weekends.
When I’m traveling without kids for work or for fun, my husband does a phenomenal job of solo parenting.
Often when “that question” comes up when I’m on a trip, I tell the person asking, “My husband has them, and it’s great, because he’s a better mom than I am.” And when I say that, I am 100% serious.
A few weeks ago I was on a playdate with my seven-year-old and some of his friends who just finished first grade with him. One of the moms was getting ready to go on a long work trip and she was about out of her mind with worry over leaving her two kids with her husband. Apparently, he’s not very “hands on” and isn’t very happy about her trip.
As I listened to her and sensed her anxiety, I said a prayer of thanks that I don’t have to worry about how my husband will handle it when I’m traveling without kids.
I hit the jackpot when I married this man, not only in the husband arena but in the “father of my kids” arena. Something that I love about him is that when I’m away, it is literally no sweat for him to handle all the parenting solo. And not only does he handle it, he ENJOYS it. He loves the extra time with his kids. While I was gone this weekend, he and the kids fortified and re-painted our old swing set so that it will make it through the rest of our youngest’s childhood. When he’s traveling without kids and I’m on solo parenting duty, it’s the most I can do to keep them fed and get the laundry done, much less an entire manual labor project. Ha! It’s true!
Sometimes I’m jealous at the way he makes parenting seem so effortless. The man has a lot of chill, and I have zero chill, so in many ways, I wanna be the parent that my husband is.
That’s not to say that I don’t have my good points; I’ve always handled the nitty gritty, the doctor’s appointments, therapy appointments, the ins and outs of their every day schedules. I’m the detail parent, that’s for sure, and even though we both work, I bear the biggest share of parenting duties. Maybe that’s why when he’s on his own with them, he can dive in with such gusto and just enjoy the heck out of them even while he’s getting things done.
So now, as I’m stuck in an airport expecting to arrive home a good nine or ten hours after I originally planned, I’m super thankful to not have to worry that my husband’s going to crack over handling dinner and bedtime by himself for one more night. I have 99 kinds of travel anxiety, but leaving the kids at home with the hubs ain’t one. And whew, am I one grateful mom!