Let me start by making one thing perfectly clear: I love that I get to be home with my children. I am grateful that my husband’s job makes this possible. I would not want to be our family’s main breadwinner, with all the stress and responsibility this entails. My husband’s corporate job is high stakes, and I am not cut out for that world. When I’m still in my pajamas at 10 AM, drinking my second coffee while building a train track into the kitchen, I am not (usually) wishing to be in high-pressure business meeting.
Nonetheless, my husband can stfu about the following “downsides” of business travel:
1- Waiting at the airport.
I admit it: I don’t love airports or air travel. But I have not been in an airport alone since 2012. Recently, my husband’s flight was delayed by four hours, and he texted me messages of frustration and boredom.
Alone. In an airport. You know what airports have? Starbucks. Newspapers. Magazines. WiFi. Chairs. Single-occupancy bathroom stalls.
2- The flight.
It’s a bit cramped. It’s awkward to get up if you have to pee. You might have a chatty seatmate, or one who nods off onto your shoulder. But you have earphones and seat-back television! Your seatmate isn’t clawing at your boobs or crying because you flushed “his” toilet paper. You have time where you can really not be doing anything particularly productive, so napping, watching a movie or reading are your only glorious options.
3- Eating meals alone.
Depending on his travel itinerary, my husband has to take many of his meals all by his lonesome.
Do you know how amazing a week’s worth of solitary meals sounds when you’re trying to fill your pie hole with a baby strapped to your front and a preschooler balancing on what’s left of your lap?
Eating a meal that you don’t have to share, that is at its perfect temperature and with both of your hands? Sounds down-right luxurious!
4- Eating restaurant meals.
This is actually my husband’s primary complaint about business travel, and the complaint that makes me the most ragey. As he puts it, after a couple days of eating three square meals in restaurants, you just want to go buy your own groceries and make yourself a salad. (Which he does.) I feel it worth mentioning that his meals are on the company dime, and a $100 dinner would not be considered extravagant. Also worth mentioning is that I am not one of those people who loves to cook. What I love is a meal that I didn’t cook,and even better, that I don’t have to pay for. Eating in restaurants is one of my favourite things in the whole world. Complaining to me about eating in a restaurant would be the equivalent of me complaining to my husband about having to play video games all day.
5- Having to socialize.
I am notoriously socially awkward, and my husband is renowned both personally and professionally for his exceptional charisma. So while I may not be a social butterfly, I find myself glomming on to any adult of moderate intelligence who is unfortunate enough to engage me in conversation. (Most awkwardly, the dental hygienist, who kept having to stop her work so I could talk some more.) While I do endeavor to get us out of the house every day, when my husband is away, there are days when the only conversations I have are with a person who also talks to his own excrement.
6- Being tired at the end of a long day.
Sometimes when he’s travelling, it’s to undergo intensive training sessions that are most certainly mentally draining. He gets back to his hotel room at 6 PM after eating his (perhaps solitary) restaurant dinner and is SO TIRED he falls asleep on his bed while watching television. He falls asleep at 6 PM, alone, watching a television program of his choosing, and is not shirking any responsibilities by doing so. Sounds like torture.
7- Not sleeping in his own bed.
I can’t even find the words to address this “complaint.” I only have a picture of where I sleep when he’s not in his own bed.
I know, I know: the grass is always greener. But sometimes the working parent makes the stay-at-home parent green with… envy!
Does your partner travel for work?