I am married to a man who travels a lot for work. And sometimes I really hate it.
First let me preface this post by telling you that Tony, my husband and father to our two children, is an amazing husband and father. Despite his travel obligations, he has an incredibly close relationship with our son, and even our 11 month old daughter reaches for him when he gets home. She clearly has daddy already wrapped around her chubby little finger, that smart girl. He's patient, he's fun, he's incredibly loving, and when he's home, he's hands on and present with the kids.
But he still travels. A lot.
It's funny, whenever I talk about Tony's work travel, I feel like I have to add that little disclaimer above. It's as if I need to prove to people (and maybe myself too) that just because he travels doesn't mean he's not a good dad. But as I've learned through our Momidarity support groups and in talking with other moms who are in similar situations, this is the reality for a lot of working families today, and it's not a reflection on anyone's parenting ability.
But it still sucks sometimes.
What's funny though is that the things that I find the hardest about having a partner who travels are not the things I thought would bother me the most. Yes, it can be exhausting, and lonely, but there are also these "side effects" to my husband's travel that I didn't expect, and to be quite honest, were really hard for me to understand at first.
The pre-trip dread and resentment.
Like clock work, three days before Tony would be scheduled to leave, my mood would turn. We'd often be in the middle of doing something fun, the four of us, everyone is happy and I feel like I have a true partner in this parenting gig - and then suddenly it hits me. I start to spiral, thinking about how in 3 days it won't be like this. It will be lonely, I will be tired. And instead of just enjoying this awesome moment and the time we do have together, I waste it feeling anxious about the future. It's like I can't enjoy the good times because I'm so focused on what lies ahead.
The during-trip moments of ease.
I've talked to a lot of moms with partners who travel or work long hours, and one thing that comes up constantly is the irony of how much easier certain things are when they're gone. The house feels cleaner, I cook less, and my evenings can be spent watching trashy TV and going to bed early. I used to feel guilty about enjoying some parts of my husband being away, as if that made me a bad wife or it was an indication that I didn't miss him. But I've learned from other moms that it's appreciating the positive aspects of travel that help balance out the negative ones. And shout out to #thebachelor for keeping me company so many nights.
The post-trip mixed emotions.
This one really threw both of us for a loop. Tony would come home, which is all I wanted all week, and yet as soon as he would walk in the door, I'd be frustrated. I've thought about this one a lot and what I realized it boils down to is that the re-entry into your established routine throws things off kilter. Short stints of travel are highly disruptive. Suddenly adding another hand back in to the delicate juggle you've learned to master alone, derails things.
That one was hard for for both of us, especially Tony, who would be so excited to come home, and then feel neglected when he didn't always walk into open arms.
So to all the moms out there who deal with travel, long hours, demanding jobs - or who don't have partners to share the load, you're doing an amazing job. I know how lonely it can feel. I know that feeling of anxiety leading up to when they leave. and that feeling of resentment and frustration when they return. But know you're not alone and your feelings are validated.
And to my husband... while you are currently across the country as I write this post, please don't ever doubt that we miss you SO. VERY. MUCH when you're away, and know that we love and truly appreciate how hard you are working for our family.
Now please come home, because it's so much more fun when you're here :)
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