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leaving on a jet plane

It’s likely a sad state of affairs at home if you’re looking forward to an upcoming business trip.  Or, it may just be that, like me, you’re a working parent, and looking for whatever opportunity you can find to escape the reality of your life.

Tom travels for work more than I do, and for a while now, despite his protestations to the contrary, I’ve suspected that his trips are less onerous, and more enjoyable, than he has led me to believe.  There was the trip to Anchorage that he returned from blabbering on and on about how he could spot bald eagles and orca whales from his office window.  The rigorous retreat in Scottsdale from which he returned with a tan.  The recruiting trip to Ann Arbor, coincidentally scheduled during the week of the Wolverines’ home opener.  The trip to Chicago, from which he returned heavily conversant in both the architecture of that city, and deep dish pizza.  After a recent week-long trip to Seattle where he was supposedly working so hard that he managed to call home only four out of six days, he came back looking like he’d spent the week at Canyon Ranch, with bright blue eyes popping out of a face glowing with health, and five fewer pounds on his frame.

And why not?  Anyone who tells you that spending a night in a hotel with room service is rougher than dealing with the daily reality of a 5 and 2 year old, is yanking your chain, and yanking it hard.  Tom texted me the photo above during the aforementioned Anchorage trip, from his twilight run along the water.  I can only assume that he was rendered momentarily senseless by the natural beauty, because he is well aware that the only thing I want to hear from him when he’s traveling is 1) how much it sucks, and 2) what gifts he will purchase to make it up to me.  When I received this photo on my phone, I was mopping up the second glass of milk my toddler had spilled on our rug, while simultaneously trying to pick every piece of cilantro out of my older kid’s beans and rice to prevent a meltdown.  Basically, by sending me this photo at that stressful moment, Tom managed to ruin for me, not only the entire state of Alaska, but also, nature itself.

Why so tense, you ask?  Because, when Tom is away on business, I’m back home, wasting away from stress and exhaustion, and being eaten alive by my offspring.  During Tom’s trips, I go through stages, and those stages look a lot like this:

Day 1: Invincibility.  I got this sh*t in the bag.  If only I had more kids and a night shift at work, to really challenge myself.

Day 2: Martyrdom.  I am working hard so that Tom can work hard.  I am a good wife, and deserving of jewels.

Day 3: Anger.  I have my own damn job, and my own deadlines, and why have I never noticed before how much I hate making lunches?  Also, if these kids want another book read to them, they should try their dad, except I guess they can’t, because HE’S NOT HERE.

Day 4: White hot rage.  Yes, it does feel good to throw all of Tom’s cufflinks and stupid collar stays on the floor.  Think I’ll put them back in their stupid little tray and do it again.  And yes, I think I will clean the tile grout with his Sonicare.

Day 5: Surrender and acceptance.  This is my lot in life.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Perhaps I can dull the pain with online shopping.

Anything longer than five days, and Tom simply risks returning home to my dead body, drawn on by washable markers, covered in cheerios and yogurt, with one withered hand gripping a half-finished legal brief and the other clutching the remote control, frozen in the act of searching for just one more episode of “Dora the Explorer.”

So today, it’s my turn.  I’m in a shitty hotel, after a turbulent airplane ride and two missed exits on a California highway.  And I’m loving every minute of it.

Now, if only I could stop missing those boys.

18 Comments Post a comment
  1. Shandi #

    Yoona–I love this one the best! My husband travels A LOT! His first trip after we had our daughter was when she was 7 weeks old. He was gone for 11 days, I thought I would die and I was still on maternity leave then. From September 1st to November 18th this year he was home for a total of 21 days, now he his home for the rest of the year and I don’t know what to do with him home!

    December 4, 2011
    • 11 days. 11 days. i can’t even imagine. i hope he made it up to you.

      January 5, 2012
  2. gulgun #

    Day 1 is my favorite. So far to fall with that much confidence! Why am I delusional every time?

    December 3, 2011
    • I know, Gulgun. But the upside is, if the trip is only an overnighter…

      December 3, 2011
  3. FB #

    David loved this post—-he woke me up to read it to me. Woke me up!

    December 3, 2011
    • Oooh, that’s not right. But tell David I am appreciative…

      December 3, 2011
  4. What Kathryn said.

    December 2, 2011
  5. I have a different perspective as someone in the past 12months who has logged 75,000+ air miles, 90 nights away from home, spanning 8 countries, 8 states and 15 cites spread all over the world. Yes sometimes it’s nice to be in place like Sundance film festival for work, or Spain for a conference. The other 90% of the time, you’re isolated and away from your home, family, friends and routine. Day in and day out you pack for yet another trip. Wake up alone in YET another hotel, airport line, room service meal, late nights working across several time-zones. My escape from this reality is coming home to the ones you love; your wife, children, friends and routine.

    Why all this travel? a. I get paid to do it and (yes I like it for the most part). b. is to support my family. Traveling like I do has given me a greater appreciation for how hard it is to be home alone with two little ones while trying to juggle everything else going on. That said, as with anything in life, there are two sides to everything. So while you’re getting spilled on, yelled and beat down by little kids, keep in mind, business travel isn’t exactly a picnic either.

    My 2 cents.

    December 2, 2011
  6. Kristin #

    Yoona, this is so great! I also can’t stand the drycleaning tags that he leaves on the bathroom shelf. One would think that it take the same amount of time to put them in the trash as it would be to put them on the shelf?LOL

    December 2, 2011
  7. Looooove~ It is SO true…. Travel makes the heart stronger, and the moment delicious~ More travel Mommy, you deserve it!

    December 2, 2011
  8. This post will surely go down as one of the top 10 in the Yoonanimous hall of fame — spot on for the temporarily single moms of the world. Awesome!

    December 2, 2011
  9. Yoona. You have captured my daily life. Love it! And hadn’t thought about the cufflink and collar stay therapy. I may try it when Pete’s in NYC in 2 weeks.

    December 2, 2011
  10. Suzanne #

    I can barely see through the tears. Thank you for telling it like what I imagine it to be. I’m off to work on a strategy for more travel in my work.

    December 2, 2011
  11. Kathryn Williams #

    It’s official, I have a girl crush on you Yoona. You complete me. Could this blog be more true??? I found Day 3 particularly accurate, by the way.

    December 2, 2011
    • Do you not have a day 4, Kathryn? I am wondering if I have a lower than normal pain threshold.

      December 2, 2011
    • Kathryn Williams #

      No day 4? On the contrary, on my day 4 instead of going for the man-cessories, I go for the jugular. I may ‘unintentionally’ delete Boardwalk Empire, Top Gear or (gasp!) both from his playlist. Oops…doesn’t every family have a luddite!

      December 4, 2011
  12. Kim Chapman #

    Yoona, I am serious that we are the same person, married to the exact same guy. You are funnier, more articulate, more fashionable and thinner than I am, but that’s not important right now.

    December 2, 2011
    • Perhaps it’s best we live on opposite coasts. Imagine how dangerous it would be if we could commiserate in person.

      December 2, 2011

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