My husband is a pro at taking over when I’m out of town. Generally I’m the one directing household activities: meals, cleaning, making sure the kids change their socks. But when I leave, he steps up to the plate without complaint, getting them off to school on time and putting dinner in front of them every evening. He may not be doing it exactly the way I would, but he’s doing it, so I generally try to back off and stay out of the details. After all, would I really want him micro-managing me by phone from work every day? I think not.
Still, I am curious sometimes about how they run things while I’m gone. Sometimes I come home to immaculate perfection, and sometimes it’s a bit of a hot mess.
I left my family behind on Wednesday to attend a blogging conference, and won’t return until Sunday, meaning they’ll have been Mom-free for a good five days. And I’m wondering what “type” of house and family I’ll encounter when I return:
- The “Aim To Impress” Home: When I walk in the door I’m greeted by a troupe of clean children wearing matching pajamas. They’ve bathed and their nails are clipped. The dishes are done, sink is clean, and there’s a plate of leftovers in the fridge for me. My clean-shaven husband glances up from the pile of laundry he’s folding and calmly says, “Oh, hello, honey. How was your trip? We’ve all had a wonderful time.”
- The “Pulled It Together At The Last Minute” Home: As I walk up to the house, I could swear I hear somebody shout, “She’s coming! Hide that!” Opening the door I encounter my family all standing together in the kitchen, breathing heavily and sweating a little. The dishwasher is running, the vacuum is standing in the middle of the living room, and I get the sense that I probably shouldn’t look in any closets just now.
- The “Boys Just Wanna Have Fun” Home: The recycling bin is full of pizza boxes. The sink is stacked with cookie sheets, encrusted with the remains of jalapeno poppers and cheese-filled pretzel sticks and various other freezer-aisle-junk-food. The kids are in their pajamas at 4 PM – and now that I think about it, those are the same pajamas I left them in two days ago. However, there is good news: They report that they, as a family, have managed to get to level 118.
- The “Wait ‘Til Your Mother Gets Home” Home: Rarely do I return to an unshaven husband with a hunted look on his face, holding a funky-smelling toddler, surrounded by mess. He seems to collapse with relief as bed-headed, bath-needing kids clamor around me begging for food, and stealthily sneaks into the bedroom, where he flops face-first onto the bed and tries to recover.I give him his space. After all, I know just how that feels.
If you travel often, what kind of home do you typically find when you get back?