What I lack in fundamental independence here (job, bank account etc) I more than make up for in total independence from my husband by the fact that he travels regularly for work. For some, having a partner who is always jetting off might be a nightmare, but in this household it’s our saving grace. It’s not that I don’t love Karl being at home, FAR from it, it’s just that I do enjoy it when he’s not here too. To be clear, I’m not talking about the nine to five day to day routine. I’m referring to (in our case overseas) trips lasting a few days and nights. You see for as long as I have known him he’s been in job’s that require a fairly substantial amount of time away from home, so I got used to the idea pretty early on into our relationship that he would come and go. I had to…this is his job, and he’s a sucker for a new stamp in his passport so won’t be changing job’s anytime soon. It’s been tough going at times though. Having a husband sod off to tropical countries whilst I was stuck at home with a rowdy 18 month old and a newborn who was intent on sucking my soul out via my boobs wasn’t a particularly popular move to pull. And now, dealing with young kids and a Dad who has to leave for a few days to a few weeks at a time is a constant emotional drain (how military wives do it I have NO idea). They’re all either crying because they’re all missing each other, or crying because Daddy’s home and the routine has been knocked out of whack and no one knows what the fuck is going on anymore. Five years of that has been mega fun…
But actually, it HAS been kind of fun in a way.
Throughout our relationship we’ve had time away from each other. Carrie and Big worked when they gave each other a breather, Karl and I are the same. For me, having a husband who goes away a lot is a godsend. It means for a little period of time, quite regularly, I get to completely defuse and let all my annoying habits to be unleashed without any worry of an impending divorce. It means I can eat avocado on toast three nights in a row with no raised eyebrows. I can watch as many episodes of whatever crappy TV show I want all night and into the early hours of the morning with no one to complain, or suggest it’s probably bedtime. In fact, I can fall asleep on the sofa watching aforementioned crappy TV show and stay there all night if I want to. Having time to fly solo is a gift to me. It keeps me sane. Granted, more so once I am unattached to any small people rather than when I’m attempting single parenting and cursing my husbands name under my breath. But for those hours in the evening, and for those uninterrupted morning showers and cups of coffee before the kiddie’s stir, I get to be completely alone. Not lonely, but alone.
And so today, as my husband prepares to go away yet again and the all too familiar routine of the little suitcase coming out begins (it actually hasn’t had the chance to be put away in a while, such are the frequencies of his trips at the moment), I’m sort of not too bothered. Unfortunately he’s away for another weekend – the third in a row – and that is starting to grate on me a little as he’s missing out on family life with the kids and important relaxing time for him and I. But it is what it is, and I won’t complain any more than the previous sentence because another weekend to myself means a chance to binge watch this weeks TV that I’ve missed out on (thank you rare social life!) and a lot of sitting by the pool chatting with my friends. Besides, Karl has promised me faithfully that he’ll take Sunday off next week, which sounds very exciting but actually he’s not really taking a day off, he’s reclaiming a day of his life to spend with his family and as it’s my birthday he’d be in a world of shit if he didn’t.
Whenever I have to nod to sympathetic “Karl away again?” questions I always feel a bit guilty because I get the impression everyone else thinks it must be totally shit for me. And the amount of travel lately has been annoying, but it’s not shit. I’m not a sad, lonely, bored wifey sat twiddling my fingers waiting for my husband to come home. The truth is half the time I pay so little attention to his trips that I don’t know where he is, or his exact timings. When he’s away the three of us slip into our familiar routine and we function just fine. The person who is lonely is the person in a soulless hotel suite in a hotel that looks very much like any other corporate hotel anywhere else in the world, not me.
I have home comforts and the mini A team with me, control of the TV remote, a fully stocked fridge and my own bed. Who’s the real winner here?