Recently my husband has been traveling a lot for his job, which is something we haven’t really had to experience in our marriage. There have been little trips here and there but nothing as consistent and lengthy as the latest itineraries. At first I thought I would dread every second and be clock-watching until the moment his Lyft dropped him back at our front door. It seems, however, that I’ve surprised myself and actually found a whole lot of enjoyment in his absence.
So Much Quiet Time
I am a person who needs to have alone time. As much as I love being with people, I also crave being by myself. I live for nap time when I can quietly have some mental space for at least an hour each day. When the hubby is gone, that means my quiet time expands to the morning and the evening, as well. There’s no silence-filling small talk or budget discussions that drain my mental stamina but rather only peaceful time to think of more calming things, like that Bath and Body Works candle sale. Of course I call him on the phone, and we chat about our days, but the rest of the time is my peaceful respite from the chaos of motherhood in the comfort of my own home.
Binge Watching TV
I love binge watching TV shows, but my husband doesn’t care for it. If he had it his way, we wouldn’t have a TV, except for watching endless hours of motor racing. While we do have a handful of shows that we like to watch together, there is an endless list in my own Netflix queue just waiting to be played. With my alone time, I finally get a chance to finish watching “Grace and Frankie” or some random British docuseries without being asked to change it over to the video game input. Full reign over the remote is my idea of a good time.
Mealtime is Easier
There are certain foods that I love that never make an appearance on the menu for family dinners at our house: eggplant, vegetables pretending to be a carb, and meat in a slow cooker. I’ve come to terms that these things just won’t exist in my meal plan rotation. Luckily, my local grocery store makes a killer Eggplant Parmesan, and my daughter loves PB&J sandwiches, so we make a great duo when dad’s not around.
Also, the crazy amount of dishes is cut down significantly to where I’m running the dishwasher every couple of days instead of every night. One less mouth to feed means I spend less time in the kitchen with shorter prep and cleanup times. And the icing on the cake is I get to have all the leftovers for lunch instead of sending them to the office.
Cutting out the Middle Man
I work part time two afternoons a week, and there’s always this back and forth of schedule negotiation. Will you be home in time? Do I need to call someone to watch our daughter? Is your meeting going to run late? The unknowns kill me. And yes, I’m very much blessed to have a husband that supports my unconventional work schedule, but it alleviates the need for constant check-ins if I know it’s not an option for him to be home. I can make a plan and stick to it because there isn’t another choice. Secretly I think he enjoys the break from the schedule nagging, too.
Full disclosure: The first night my husband is away I sleep like garbage. Every. Single. Time. It doesn’t matter if he’s only gone for one night or a week. But after that initial night, I typically sleep like a baby, barring any pre-dawn wakeups from my daughter.
The glorious part of him traveling is I get to choose when I go to sleep and when I wake up. We usually go to bed together, but sometimes it’s earlier or later than I want to. And if it’s a gym morning for him, the alarms are ringing at 5 a.m. no matter how poorly I’ve slept throughout the night. Having the occasional autonomy over my sleep schedule is really refreshing even if I have to forego one night’s peace for it.
And let’s not forget about that bed space! I get an entire king-sized bed all to myself with all the pillows and blankets arranged just how I like them. It’s like staying at the Ritz Carlton, and I didn’t have to pay a dime.
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
This old saying is truly dead-on for me. I love my husband a lot, and I love when he’s around, and we get to be with each other. But, there’s something rejuvenating about going away and coming back. I get to see him with fresh eyes all over again. My appreciation for the ways he contributes to our family swells every time he travels, and I always long for him to come back home. But until the plane arrives at the airport, I’ll watch another few episodes of “The Office” while shoveling Crock Pot tacos into my mouth.