Next week I'm leaving Alfie and the kids to go on a business trip. Okay, it's not actually a business trip. I'll be learning and networking and partying at the BlogHer '09 conference in Chicago. But the longest I've been away from my family prior to this was just one night; this time, I'm gone from Wednesday night till Sunday morning. It's going to be just Alfie and the kids, at home together for three days and four nights. He's going to get his first chance to live my life and see what it's like being a stay-at-home parent.
We're pretty lucky that Alfie can work from home whenever he wants to. It's a lifesaver (and moneysaver) when I have to run a solo errand or have a blogging event or a doctor's appointment. But Alfie is the most honest chap I know, and he's careful not to slack off when he works from home (other than occasionally taking a long lunch with me or taking a couple of hours to watch a soccer game, but people do that in the office anyway, and he makes up for it in the evenings). So we've always told the kids to pretend he's still at the office, so he can get work done. Other than leaving the kids playing downstairs and Alfie working upstairs for an hour or so to run said errands, we carry on with our day almost as if Alfie isn't at home.
Which means next week -- working from home and taking care of the kids -- is going to be a bit of a challenge for him, as it would for anyone -- single parents who work from home, I don't know how you do it!
So I'm preparing for my departure with all the deliberation of a general planning an invasion (or in my case, withdrawal). I deliberately avoided scheduling any camps or classes for the time that I'm gone so Alfie wouldn't have to deal with the dropoffs and pickups. I've got some at-home activities and crafts lined up so the kids don't or whine for daddy to take them to the park. I'm considering offering a small
bribe reward if they make it to Sunday without any major arguments that Alfie has to mediate. I'm making and freezing a couple of dinner casseroles, and writing up a lunch and dinner menu so he won't have to think about what to feed them (or himself). I'm stocking up the fridge and pantry with food so he won't have to go shopping. I'll probably stay up late on Tuesday night giving the bathroom an extra swipe, and doing laundry so I won't have a huge pile to greet me when I get back on Sunday morning.
Uh, so maybe he won't be living my life exactly. More like a stay-at-home parent who works from home with a full time job but has a great personal assistant, housekeeper and child-activities coordinator.
I'm beyond grateful to Alfie for stepping up and making it possible for me to attend the BlogHer conference -- so of course I want to streamline next week as much as I can for him. But he'd better not say "That wasn't so bad -- you've got it easy!" when I come back on Sunday!
This post was inspired by What Happened to the Girl I Married by Michael Miller, July's featured book on the Silicon Valley Moms Blog book club. Click here to read how this post inspired our other mombloggers.
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