I travel quite a lot with my job. Back before I had Riley it was common for me to be away weeks at a time and just stopping in at home for a quick day and a half before hopping back on a train for my next week away. Thankfully 2017 has only seen four trips from home for more than a day. Each time though, I still get wracked with that god awful “mum guilt.”
It’s been a routine part of my life as a mum ever since Riley was 7 months old. I was only back at work two weeks before I had to travel. The first time I felt the most crushing guilt and upset about leaving my little baby with dad for two days. Obviously not that I didn’t trust good old husband to take care of him properly, but it was the first time I had left him overnight. I sobbed in my hotel room for a good hour looking over pictures of my baby on my phone.
So when I met someone whilst I was away this week who was on their first trip away from their baby I felt I had to impart some of the awesome things she would learn to love after a few more times away.
- Remembering that an alarm clock actually has a purpose!
I have lost count of the number of times I have crapped myself with Riley over my head looking intently at my face. Not being woken by a small child hovering over your face in the morning two hours earlier than you need to get up is a huge appeal to work travel.
- Being able to go to the toilet and shower in peace!
Never have I enjoyed a shower more than when I don’t wait for the door handle turning and the whirwind of a three year old as it works its way around the bathroom with comments like “I can see your bum! It’s a bit jiggly mummy!” Gee thanks Riley, really great for my self-esteem.
- Not having to worry about the nursery run
It takes me an hour from leaving the house in the morning to actually making it to work. It’s even worse in the horrendous traffic in the evening. Thinking (quite gleefully actually) that the other half is dealing with it and also having to deal with it on the bus is one of the biggest reliefs. It always gives me satisfaction when he moans to tell him to learn to drive already!
- Looking presentable
I usually end up leaving the house with a caked on white smudge of toothpaste somewhere on my top or with Weetabix or cheerios stuck to my hair. I still remember the one morning where I was so tired I put mascara on one eye and not the other. Thankfully when I am away with work I do tent to turn out half decent and smart. I get to spend time in front of the mirror doing my hair and makeup, and it certainly makes it easier when I don’t have a child refusing to eat his breakfast and playing with my makeup brushes.
- Coming back to a clean room with fresh towel and a tidy bed
This one is also in part because of my husband. He gets out of bed later than me as he is just plain lazy. My bed is always half made because of this and I end up having to remake it when I get home in the evening. I will never tire of the novelty of leaving a half made bed in the morning and returning in the evening to it being tucked in perfectly for you. It truly makes a bed more comfortable to sleep in when you haven’t had to make it yourself.
- Peaceful dinners
This one I can’t even begin to explain why it is such a big highlight for me. Dinner times in my house generally end up in bargaining and fights. I don’t have to be the one trying to force a tyrannical three year old who knows what he wants to actually eat something. No, it’s a much more sophisticated event when you aren’t at home. Being able to have a glass of wine or a slightly less grown up alcopop is not a disaster as you tend to be able to sleep through the worst bit of a headache!
- Not being late to everything!
Ok so actually this one, I still have problems without Riley in tow, but when it’s just me there is a far higher likelihood that I will be less late. Having Riley makes getting out the door that much harder. Usually he has to be reminded constantly to move, it’s a fight to get him to eat his breakfast, brush his teeth or get his shoes and jacket on. There is always some reason why we cannot leave the house on time with Riley, even though he will have already been up for a good two hours usually. Last week I was even one hour early in to catch up on some work – that would never happen trying to cajole Riley out the door.
- Intellectual conversations
Having to convince your child that actually, biting his shoe is actually not very nice, that trying to jump off the top of the sofa is rather dangerous, that running about with your pants on your head really isn’t very clever, have been just a few of the things I never thought I would ever have to say out loud. Being able to have an adult conversation that is slightly more stimulating than why you should never touch a radiator, is a blessing when you usually spend your evenings with a small child.
- Random voicemail messages
My husband is actually rather sweet on the odd occasion. He knows I miss Riley so last week whilst I was away he let Riley phone me and leave me a voicemail message. He told me he was getting a little pizza from Tesco’s for his dinner, that he did miss me and that he loved me. I won’t lie, a little tear did escape! So cute!
- Getting home
Saving the best till last! Sometimes the best thing about going away is coming home. I got home late on Thursday night, being back in my own bed was amazing. Riley was already asleep, so on Friday morning when he saw me and realised that Daddy wasn’t the one he would have to get up with he had the biggest smile on his face. He cosied up to me with his arms wrapped tight round my neck. There is no better feeling than knowing you are loved by your little one.