I was on the road for four weeks - a week at a time. This is the only travel I have to do, once a year for meetings at all the offsite locations that my company has. My first trip was sheer bliss. Boarding the plane by myself, actually getting to read a book quietly without having to worry about earaches in tiny ears when taking off or landing, checking into a very nice hotel, having a king size bed all to myself, eating breakfast at the breakfast buffet without having to cut food into tiny pieces and coaxing it into reluctant mouths - all bliss, sheer bliss. Who would have thought that these small things that we take so much for granted in our pre kids life would suddenly be so precious in the post!
The girls did remarkably well with P. P held the fort down. S was pretty miserable and leaned into the phone during face times and said "Mommy I need you" which broke my heart into a million pieces but my strong supportive husband assured me that she was fine otherwise and not to worry :)
Of course by the end of the last trip, I was pretty miserable too, the girls missed me, the mess in the house got to epic proportions but before things could get any worse, my trips were done and I am back home; slowly putting myself and my home back to routine.
P also travels infrequently nowadays. Being a single parent is of course difficult. The only difference between me traveling and his traveling is that when its his turn, it's basically Bye, Miss you and out of the door. When I travel, I have to make sure that the laundry is done, folded, put away, clothes set aside for the girls for the week to come; food is made and menus are written for the week; soccer pick up and drop offs are arranged and house is in maintainable clean condition. P keeps it rolling from there. I am extremely grateful for his wonderful support and encouragement. I recently received an "Exceeds expectations" on my review and a big part of the credit goes to his support.
We have many many women in my organization in high level positions. Almost all of them have multiple children. I was amazed with wonder as to how do these women seem to manage everything so effortlessly. A little bit of research unearthed a fast rising trend - they all (with only one exception) had stay at home husbands. The exception - my Director has in laws who stay fifteen minutes away and show up on her door step showered and ready to help out whenever she has a nanny or kids are sick kind of emergency.
At one location, two pregnant women were having matter of fact discussions about how their husbands were going to take 1-2 years off once their babies were due etc. This was very new and fascinating to me; this is the first time that I have met so many women all together with the same kind of situation. I have so many questions for all of them - how do their husbands manage the house and the kids, do they micromanage everything, do they get taunts from society, do they feel undue pressure being the sole breadwinner of the family, does their husband feel a loss of confidence for not being in a typical male provider role.....but I keep my mouth shut and push my questions away. Every single one of us is making choices for his/her life, his/her family and no one has the right to judge the other. You can decide what's comfortable for you and decide accordingly.
I do think about how this slow change in roles is going to affect my/our kids. The first thing I can think of is almost complete eradication of gender discrimination. How would you say to a boy child - you don't need to learn now to cook/sew/bake; maybe this might lead to expanded freedom in letting each of us choose whatever we are good at without worrying about whether its a typical male or female stamped role.
But what's next - will we have a world where the equation is completely switched - where an overwhelming majority of guys stay home while their wives go to work. What impact will this have on men versus women thought patterns and inherent nature traits? Many questions and no answers. It is getting to be very late now so will go sleep.