The 10 Stages Moms Go Through When Their Husband Travels For Business

There have been times in our marriage when my husband has been gone traveling for work more than he has been home.

Case in point: Ireland.

When we returned to the U.S. after living in Ireland we had to fill out bunches and bunches of legal and tax paperwork. One of the documents required us to fill in a calendar for every day that we lived abroad and note whether we were “in country” (Ireland) or “out of country” (NOT-Ireland). What we discovered upon completion of that calendar confirmed exactly what I had suspected during that year abroad: my husband travelled a LOT. In fact, he was “out of country” more than he was “in country” that year. This means that I spent slightly over half of that year alone with our children in a foreign country (I am now accepting sympathy cards). Is it any wonder, then, that I gained 10 pounds when I turned to scones and sugared-laced tea for comfort that year?

His new job doesn’t have him traveling nearly as much as he did in the good ‘ol days (ha!), but that doesn’t mean we’re totally off the hook. There will always be customers and conferences and…I actually don’t understand a thing that he does, but it seems to be quite important. So, travel. Sometimes. Not as much, but sometimes.

This week Hubby happens to be in Europe preparing the way for my own European arrival/reunion with him in a few days (More on this later!!!!). The first part of his trip is business travel and, meanwhile, I’m here at home holding down the fort.

I’ve been through this husband-on-business-travel gig enough times to know what to expect by now. But just in case you were wondering, these are the stages (of grief?) that a mom goes through while Daddy is away:

Stage 1: Acknowledgment
When you see that black town car or shiny white Prius Uber pull up to your driveway, you know that this “travel thing” is really happening. His ride to the airport has arrived, and there’s no turning back. Acknowledge this new reality, and release him. You’ve got this, momma.

Stage 2: Jealousy
Your husband will send you a photo like this from his business class seat on the airplane:

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(Actual photo sent to me by my husband as he sat on the plane sipping champagne while I changed my 4th poopy diaper of the day.)

Yes, he will lament how this is “just business” and “no fun”, but you know the truth. Sitting on an airplane with unlimited and uninterrupted entertainment and snacks at your literal fingertips is just about as close to heaven as you can fathom. And then he’ll arrive at his destination and go out to Michelin-starred restaurants THAT HIS COMPANY PAYS FOR while you eat leftover mac ‘n cheese with your kids for the third night in a row.

Yeah, rough life, buddy.

Stage 3: Busy bee
In order to occupy your mind with something other than his absence, you purposefully over-schedule yourself. Why, yes I can bake muffins for breakfast every morning and do that extra volunteer project and wash the car and scrub the garage floors! And, yes, I will go to your birthday party and weekend BBQ and farm festival and the Alice and Wonderland Tea Party at the library. Just get me out of this house before I explode.

Stage 4: Responsibility
You realize that during this period of time you are solely responsible for the health, safety, discipline, and literal life of your offspring. There is no Daddy here to back you up, no extra person to stay home with the kids at night while you run out to do such-and-such, no partner to converse with and determine outcomes. You are it, the one and only parent. And that? That is a lot of responsibility.

Stage 5: Fear
What if someone gets sick? What if an intruder tries to break into our house? What if there’s an earthquake and I sleep through the whole thing? I’d better pack a first aid kit, a baseball bat and an earthquake survival kit just in case.

Stage 6: Cray-cray
It’s been a long day (or week or month). Too long. Why do these kids always cry? Why do they always need something? Why do they want to eat EVERY. SINGLE.  DAY? Why do they have so many questions? You are going actual crazy. You call your mom/best friend/therapist for reassurance and a swift kick in the pants. Remember: you’ve got this, momma.

Stage 7: Grief
Oh my GOSH I miss him so MUCH!!! I promise I’ll never nag him again about his socks on the floor in front of the laundry hamper!!! Just please come home and hold me in your tender embrace! It gets so bad that you start watching Sarah Mclachlan pet adoption videos so you can feel sorry for someone other than yourself.

Stage 8: Exhaustion
Stick a fork in me, because I’m done. I’m going to take a nap now. It will last for approximately 8 billion trillion years, and don’t anyone dare try to wake me up.

Stage 9: Excitement
Ack! It’s almost over! He’s coming home tonight!!! QUICK!!!! Clean the house, wash the dishes, shove the laundry into the closets, groom the children, and recycle the wine bottles–we don’t want him to know how we actually live while he’s away.

Stage 10: Relief
He walks in the door and you melt into a puddle of spent motherhood at his feet. You survived, but barely. Now don’t let him claim that he needs a nap after all of his travel. Mommy: out. You’ve got this, daddy-o.

Safe travels, Hubby, and I really do love you! Thank you for working so hard for our family…even if I do work 10 times harder here at home 😉

 

 

 

Daughter Promises

On Jon’s first Father’s Day, when I was still pregnant with our first baby, I gave him a book. The book was called Daddy Promises, and it is one of the most beautifully-written children’s books I have ever read. It is about all of the promises that dads make to their children, and how that connects to the promises that God the Father has made to us, His children.

The first time I read the book I cried, and I still cry tears of joy when I re-read it. I know that my husband is demonstrating God’s love to our boys through his forgiveness and grace and bedtime wrestles. He is an amazing dad–the best dad I could have picked for my kids. The other thing I think about when I read this book is my dad–the best dad I could have picked for me.

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My dad is a rockstar father. He has loved me unconditionally, prayed for me unceasingly, and supported me through my most difficult times. I even remember one time that he drove up to my house, an hour away, one night just to be with me after I’d had particularly rough day at work. The time, the distance didn’t matter–he just wanted to be there for me. When I was in labor at the birth center, the hospital, wherever they took me–he was there, up all day…then all night…then all the next day in the cramped little waiting room, patiently waiting and praying for me and my baby. He is a model of Christ-like love, and he has lived out so many of God’s promises for me.

In honor of Father’s Day this weekend, I have a few promises of my own that I want to share with my dad–my daughter promises.

I promise to stay true to the path you have set me on. That even when I wander (and maybe do crazy things like pierce my belly button) I will remember the way you have taught me, so that “even when I am old I will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 

I promise to walk in faith, and to trust the One who is leading me, even when you are not there.

I promise to live in the peace of Christ that you have taught me. That I will not let worry consume me or doubts take away my joy.

I promise to be persevere. I have always thought that our mutual perseverance (stubbornness?) is our best trait!

I promise to keep healthy and active. Otherwise I won’t be able to keep up with you when you’re running marathons in your 60’s and beyond.

I promise to maintain the magic of childhood for my kids, the same way you did for me. Right now I’m working on mastering the whole “pulling off my thumb” trick.

I promise to pray for you, just as you have always done for me.

I promise to teach my children proper anatomy, starting with the pectoralis.

I promise to love my boys the same way you love your girls: unconditional, unceasing, unrelenting parental love.

I promise to love you forever and always.

To all of the amazing dads out there, Happy Father’s Day! The world would not be the same without you.

DIY iDad Father’s Day/Birthday Card For A Tech-Savvy Dad

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My kids are incredibly lucky. They have an amazing daddy who loves them with all of his heart. He does so much for all of us, and I want to make sure that he knows how much we appreciate him.

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With Father’s Day coming up, I decided to make him an extra-special one-of-a-kind card that is suited just to him. Jon is, shall we say, a “techy” guy. He is an electrical engineer, so all things technology-oriented are right up his alley. He loves gadgets–and he loves no other gadgets more than his iDevices. This week I counted up the Apple devices currently in use in our house and we have 13 of them. THIRTEEN! Yes, the man loves his iThings. Nothing seemed more appropriate, then, than an Apple-inspired Father’s Day card.

I call this the “iDad” (kinda looks like an iPad…hehe!). This is not a totally original idea, but I thought it would make a cute Father’s Day (or birthday!) card. Here’s the how-to if you want to give it a try:

DIY iDad Father’s Day Card

Materials:
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  • 2 pieces each of black and white cardstock (Or you can do a cardstock hack like I did. I just printed off two black rectangles from my computer and glued them to old file folders. I glued plain white computer paper to the back side of the file folders and cut them out so that one side was black and the other side was white.)
  • Paper cutter or scissors
  • Xacto knife or box cutter (and a cutting mat or other cutting surface, NOT your nice dining room table!)
  • white crayon or colored pencil
  • standard white glue and/or spray adhesive glue
  • app icons (I printed mine from this site. I just did a Google search for app icons and looked under images–there were lots of pictures to choose from. I also printed off some small photos of Jon and the boys that I cut down to the same size as the app icons.)

Directions:

  • Glue your black and white cardstock back-to-back so one side is black and the other side is white. I used spray adhesive glue for this because it dries quickly, sticks better, and leaves no wrinkles, but standard glue would work just fine. After the glue has dried, cut each piece down to the same size (whatever size you want your card to be).
  • Cut out the app icons you want to use and arrange them on top of one piece of black cardstock. I used 12 app icons on my card. Once you have them set up how you like them, glue each app icon into place.
  • Use the white crayon to draw the home button under the app icons. If you want to, you can also put an apple on the other piece of black cardstock (I happened to have apple stickers lying around from one of our many Apple product purchases).
  • Using an xacto knife, cut down the sides and bottom of each app icon so you can lift them from the bottom like a tab (do NOT cut the top of the app icon).
  • After you have cut each app icon into a tab, glue the two pieces of cardstock together back-t0-back so the black side is showing on each side. Make sure you don’t put any glue on the back of the app icons! Put something heavy on top of the card and let it dry flat for a few hours.
  • After your card is dry, lift each app icon tab and write a little Father’s Day sentiment. Under my tabs I wrote things like “Happy Father’s Day” (for the notes app), “We love you!” (for the photo of Jon with our boys), “You’re off the charts!” (for a stock quote app), and “Father’s Day: June 16, 2013” (for the calendar app).

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  • Present your card to Dad and watch his little techy heart melt!
The "iDad" card next to a real iPad. Can you tell which is which? :)

The “iDad” card next to a real iPad. Can you tell which is which? 🙂

To all of you amazing father’s out there, thank you for all that you do! Enjoy your special day, dads!