Being away on a work trip is a strain, especially with young kids. By Day 3, your kids are no longer satisfied by a 5-minute FaceTime call and the daily notes I left them to be read at bedtime. Reports come back via text that your daughter is now bawling because she misses you and didn’t get to say ‘I love you’ one last time.
It’s also a strain on your spouse. No matter how sweet and well-behaved your kids are, they still tear up every room in the house by day’s end, grouse about what’s for dinner, need wiped after pooping (usually at the same time the dog is barking to be let in and the oven timer is beeping that your pigs in a blanket are done), need bathed and shampooed, and want you to play Memory 3 times before bed. Meanwhile, you suppose your spouse is off having a great time in some far-flung city, having wine and steak with grown-ups, lounging in a luxe hotel bed, watching TV with no interruptions — even though that is never the reality.
It takes a good 24 hours to get back to normal after a work trip. My husband surprised me upon returning from the latest with a heathered-blue Patagonia full-zip Better Sweater set out on my side of the bed — an item I’ve been coveting. I found it when I finally went upstairs to unpack. The day I left, it was -23 degrees. It’s finally warming up.