It’s never easy to remain supportive and upbeat when your husband informs you that he has to fly to New York for a week to attend the company’s annual conference. If he’s a half-decent human being, he’ll at least try to sound vaguely apologetic, perhaps he’ll even feign reluctance about having to jet off, business class to stay in a 5* hotel while being wined and dined on the company’s ticket. He may throw comforting clichés your way, “I’m only going because I have to,” “It’s really the last thing I want to do right now,” “I hate leaving you alone with the kids.”
While we are somewhat thankful for his efforts, it’s hard not to be a bit resentful: he gets a week of uninterrupted sleep, he gets to hang around with adults for seven days, have adult-conversations that don’t revolve around making up songs about poo.
So, in an attempt to ease the pain, here’s my top tips for surviving the business trip. Being married to a touring musician who spent seven of the last twelve months away, I’ve got some gems.
- Make really good friends with your neighbours. I mean REALLY good friends. Hopefully they’re decent people, but even if they’re a bit annoying lay the groundwork early. Before your husband leaves, be the giver of sugar, coffee, booze, take out their bins without asking, look after their children…whatever it takes to get them on side. When you need someone to help you break in because you’ve locked yourself out, they’ll be there.
- Stock up on wine. Come the evening, when your Smalls are all asleep and tucked up in bed, you don’t want that to be the moment you realise you don’t have any Pinot Grigio. It’s generally frowned upon to leave them while you run to Sainso’s for booze.
- Rebuild any shaky bridges with family. If you hate your mother in law, or your mother for that matter, figure it out. Those seven days will be when you get the flu or a stomach bug so violent you sleep in your bathroom. No matter how nice your neighbours are, that kind of emergency sitch requires family.
- Stock up on those microwave children’s meals that say they’re made from seven vegetables and a gazillion vitamins. Stockpile baked beans, fish fingers and pasta. If you’re running the ship by yourself you need to make your life as easy as possible. Forget any guilt. It’s hardly Haribo for tea.
- Stock up on Haribo. You never know when you need to follow through on a bribe.
- Sleep. Your socialising days are temporarily halted without your other half to watch the Smalls so use it to your advantage. Plus, single-parenting and sleep deprivation is not a great combo.
- Fill your calendar with as much stuff as you can. While you’ll be knackered running around all the time, it will make the time go by much more quickly.
- Gird your loins. It’s a head-down, get-on-with-it type situation. It’s not ideal but it’s not forever.