At my last company, I traveled about 50% of the time. I mainly went to Chicago and Cleveland and I became a proficient traveler. I always had my laptop and shoes ready for security and didn’t get mad when my Friday evening flights home were inevitably delayed. I would tell Jeremy my schedule, pack my bags and be on my way.
While I didn’t mind the travel, I switched jobs nearly five years ago and am glad I have managed to only have one overnight trip in two years. However, I will spend the better part of the next two weeks in union contract negotiations two hours away and I’m realizing how much more complicated work travel is with kids at home. Even though Jeremy stays at home with them, there’s still a lot to think about. I handle any early morning wake ups and bath and bedtime really requires two people to manage effectively. I think someone at work thought I was whining when I expressed my displeasure about being told we’ll also negotiating next Saturday, but it just adds another piece of stress. One, because it’s more time away from my family and two, Jeremy needs a break and on Saturdays he typically sleeps in and I have the mornings with Grant and Maria.
Even though it’s going to be a long two weeks, we have a plan. My mom will assist with evenings, and Jeremy’s mom will come over several mornings during the week so Jeremy can get to the gym without lugging them with him. As to not stress Jeremy further, I withheld possibility of my being gone on Saturday until I knew for sure, but had floated to my mom the idea of keeping them all day Saturday if needed. She was game if we needed. We’ve since introduced the concept of a sleep over and after finding a second pack and play to borrow, next Friday Grant and Maria will have their very first night away from home since coming home from the hospital. Jeremy is concerned they won’t sleep well in a place other than home, but I think they’ll do okay and if not, it’s only one night. Jeremy will get a good break and be ready for the next round of solo parenting.
I’m glad that this is not a normal thing for us and that in February life should return to normal. I give kudos to all those single parents and parents with spouses who travel regularly. Childrearing is a two-person job, at a minimum. I’m thankful that we have a village!