Before my son was born I used to spend a lot of my work week travelling around the different countries of the GCC. Mind you it was never long trips mainly because it was easy to catch a flight in the morning and fly back in the early evening to be home before 9pm, shower and have a good night sleep. But after Daniel was born I was lucky enough to be able to curb the travel and be more Dubai based. We hired sales staff in the different regions and we were able to manage through email and phone calls with an occasional conference call and it worked really well.
A few weeks ago it changed slightly when one of our team members based in Oman resigned and is happily heading back to “Blighty” and, of course, that leaves you know who to pick up the slack. So on Sunday morning I packed my bag and climbed on a flight to Muscat with the intention of staying the night. From the moment I hit the tarmac it was Go, Go, Go and we went from one meeting to the next. Thankfully our last meeting did not arrive so I was able to take a moment to have a drink and reflect on the task that I was taking on. I was not really bothered about spending a night away from home, bed to myself, no toddler jumping everywhere, a chilled morning where I can actually sit and drink a cup of coffee…
After a lovely dinner, I climbed into bed absolutely exhausted but true to form I did not sleep well at all. There was no warm body to shnuggle (spelling is correct) up to, the pillows were weird and kind of lumpy and in the back of my mind I kept wondering if my hubby had followed Daniel’s bedtime routine properly and if he had been asking for me before he went to bed. I also got thinking that I have friends who travel on a regular basis to destinations such as Seattle, South Africa and the UK and these trips are for days or weeks at a time and I have no idea how they cope! Granted most of these people are the Dads in this equation, all except a one and I know that the constant travelling takes a tremendous toll on them. But Im also sure that this toll is not only on them but also on their spouses and their kids.
The relationship between the travelling parent and their kids is a rather difficult dynamic to balance and while Toddlers and preschoolers don’t understand the concept of time, your older kids may still have trouble differentiating five days from one week, so it’s best to give them only a couple of days’ notice, says Stephanie Mihalas, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and founder of The Center for Well-Being in Los Angeles.
The next morning, I had a rather terrible cup of coffee and a bowl of muesli before my morning meetings began and before I could think twice I was sitting an a car on the way back to the airport, checked in and sitting on a plane waiting to take off. Thankfully there were no serious delays and I was home before bedtime. I admit that I was completely shattered and took a breath before walking into the front door because I was not sure what I was going to discover, had complete anarchy descended on the house in my absence? I imagined paint cover walls and a toddler hopped up on sugar and I could not have been further from the truth! I peeped around the corner to find hubby and Daniel quietly sitting on the couch reading a book, dinner had arrived (take away) and the walls where still their normal colour. When they noticed me, Daniel squealed in delight and gave me a huge hug and a kiss and babbled on about the fun that he had been having with Daddy.
So all the worry in the end had been for nothing, Julian has always been a terrific parent and an amazing partner so Im not sure what my concern had been about but every mother still has that irrational little voice in her head that reminds her that no one can cope without her guidance but in reality what is one night out of 365 of a year?