Many modern mothers might enjoy a good rant about spousal domestic ineptitude, but when a husband travels for work, his absence is felt. For him, travel might be tedious and unpleasant, but for a mother staying at home with a houseful of children it can be exhausting.
With one less adult in the house, family chaos looms closer on the horizon. Life becomes a whirlwind of routines: school, dinner, laundry, sports, homework, more laundry, pack lunches, bath time, bedtime. The same routines, yes, but different without Daddy.
Sometimes, different in a good way. Family life is streamlined, pared down to essentials. Everyone cleans up when supposed to, brushes teeth without being asked, the spelling test is postponed until next week!
Other times, well.... The family dog inexplicably vomits on the carpet. Someone forgets homework but there’s no time to go get it. A sibling squabble at dinner ends with a plateful of food falling to the floor. Someone loses a tooth and then loses the lost tooth. (Frantic search for lost tooth follows.) The smoke detector malfunctions at 3 am. And someone always seems to get sick. Any or all of these things can happen in a given week, but why do they so often seem to happen when husbands are away?
When friend mentions, “John’s travelling all week.” We nod knowingly. We’ve been there. We understand. We’re part of the sisterhood of the traveling husbands. We can carpool more, offer to host a play date, provide a sympathetic ear, or just have a good laugh about the absurdity of it all. We do what we can to stay connected and supportive, even if there is no set of magical pants for mothers to pass around.