I often tell myself I can’t do it when Rusty is away. I act like I can’t possibly manage bath time, dinner time, bed time, or any other time of day while the husband is out of town. I freak out, lose my patience, let the house blow up to a new level of mess, and generally cry a lot. It’s a real circus when Rusty is gone. This is my confession of a traveler’s wife.
I am a really good mom. I’m not just saying that to toot my own horn, I was born to be a mom. Most of us moms are really good moms if we give ourselves any credit. I study and practice the skill of motherhood. I run experiments to see what does and does not work for my kids and for my family. I plan and schedule and problem solve. Like most moms, I am constantly honing the skills of motherhood. So what? All of that goes out the window when my husband leaves town?
My husband’s most recent time out of town was a combine trip, work and paintball. The trip lasted 10 days, two weekends and the week in-between. Of course when he told me I panicked, I complained, I might have said a few negative things about paintball (horrible wife, I know). I had visions of how horrible 10 days alone with my kids is going to go. Any other wives have husbands who travel often? Do you know the feelings? I mean, I would have to put them to bed aaaand get up with them for breakfast. How horrible! I eventually succumbed to the dark cloud that is paintball, put the trip in our family calendar, and waited for the time to come. But this time it was different.
I dropped Rusty off at Toronto Pearson Airport and as the door closed behind him something just clicked, I am a good and capable mom. I spend everyday of my life mom-ing. I’ve totally got this. I don’t need to stand at my kitchen sink crying because there are just so many dishes and the kids are fighting, I know how to deal with that. And I don’t need to freak out because I am in charge of bedtime and wake up, the kids don’t even wake up until 7:30, sometimes 8. I’m just being ridiculous. I can do this.
So while Rusty was gone, the kids and I went out for food, went out of ice cream, had playdates, went to church, baked cookies, cleaned the toy rooms a few times, read books, kept up with the kitchen, saw The Jungle Book, and played outside. Whoa! I can’t believe I did all of that alone. Oh wait, yes I can, I do it all the time.
So why do I freak out when Rusty leaves town? It might be because I see plastered all over faceboook how it is impossible to be a mother without coffee in the morning and wine at night. It might be because I am told over and over again to feel mom guilt and that every mom does everything wrong. I don’t know, but I am done acting like taking care of my kids is just too much work. Yes, I need my husband, yes, I appreciate all of the work my husband does around the house even after a long day at a desk, but I can certainly survive 10 days alone. I can do it.
Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.