I have left my husband and five children (aged seven and under!) behind for five days; five days and nights that will combine work and pleasure as I combine a business trip to LA with a visit to my sister and her family in San Francisco. I am nervous about leaving my family behind. And that fact that I left on Friday the 13th isn’t helping matters!
As I drove to the airport, I thought about the weekend ahead – the weekend at home, not the weekend that awaited me in San Francisco. I thought about the responsibilities I left behind -- dinner times, bath times, soccer practice, baseball practice, birthday parties -- all the weekend activities you’d expect from a busy family with five kids, topped off by several showings of our house, which is on the market.
Our weekends provide little down-time and are virtually devoid of R&R; if anything, I relish the return to work on Monday mornings because it gives me a chance to sit down! So, as I embarked on the flight that would take me 3,000 miles away from the mayhem of a typical weekend at home, I couldn’t help but think about the dear man I left behind and wonder how he will do it. It is the question I am constantly asked “How do you do it?! “ And my answer often relies heavily on “my other half” -- the supportive, funny, level-headed fella who is now home alone with five feisty tykes.
He was fretting my pending departure for weeks, telling neighbors, family, friends and pretty much anyone who will listen that I’m leaving him -- that I’m leaving him “all alone” with our five kids for five full days. Honestly, his stress was seriously stressing me out. So, I did what any Type A, aspirational SuperMom suffering from a bad case of guilt would do, I offered up a slew of solutions. “I’ll create a daily meal plan. I’ll organize rides for the birthday parties and car pools for soccer practice. I’ll tell the realtor we can’t show the house while I’m away. I’ll pre-pack the backpacks and lunches for Monday and Tuesday. “ And so on. Initially, he was all for my organizational gusto. “Yep, let’s not show the house while you’re away, it will be a mess,” he admitted. “And a meal plan sounds great,” he concurred.
And then, in the 48 hours leading up to my departure, something incredible happened. My stressed out other half turned into an uber-confident SuperDad. I, for one, always knew he had it in him but even so, was shocked when he said something to effect of “Screw the meal plan! I can feed our kids. And if they’re hungry, they can just have a glass of milk!” He went on to say, “And, let’s show the house. I may not make the beds like you, but I can make a bed. I’ll even plant some pansies to increase the ‘curb appeal’.” What? Pansies? Really? Wow!
As I prepared to go, it was really hard to say good-bye to the sweet, smiling faces that slobbered me with wet, snotty kisses; for the record, they came from my children, not my husband. His kiss was sweeter, and seemed to linger longer than the usual perfunctory peck. As hard as it was for me to leave, I know it was much harder for him; I know how much work it is to juggle the weekend activities with our active clan. And, I know that I am one lucky gal -- which seems especially fitting given that the work portion of my trip will include a walk on the red carpet for the premiere of the movie The Lucky One. I am very lucky indeed.
As for the kids, well, if all they get is milk for the next few days, they may not be quite so lucky. But, I have a feeling that Dad is going to pull this off with flying colors when he does, I will be the first in line to ask how he did it.