If I had a dollar for every time another parent says to me, "Oh, your husband is traveling again?" or my favorite, "You must be so lonely with your husband gone all week," I could retire right this minute a very rich lady (with a husband who would still very likely travel a ton).
I understand why people inquire, belabor and worry: Is it too tough for her to do on her own? Is she unhappy? Before starting this not-as-uncommon-as-you-think arrangement, I asked those same questions. But after years of hubby hitting the road from Monday to Friday, I've got a few solid reasons why this situation has its benefits:
1) No sharing the remote
Oprah, Housewives (NYC), Top Chef, Biggest Loser, House Hunters International - I get to watch trashy TV all night long! After the kids go to bed, I sit on the couch, peel open that Skinny Cow cone and catch-up on my DVR-ed favorites. After a long day of work, mommyhood and life, it's my own little taste of heaven.
2) Dinner delight
Unlike a lot of other parents out there, dinner is as simple as I want it. From salad to cereal, Lean Cuisine to scrambled eggs, dinner is my oyster.
3) The tightest ship in Chicago
I run the show! I have a great schedule with the kids, and we stick to it. No reminding anyone about meals, bedtime, school, play dates, etc. The kids and I all thrive with structure, till the very last curtain call.
4) I'm so chill
When hubby isn't around, there is no one for me to nag about not helping out around the house, making a mess, or keeping me up at night. If something goes awry, the only person to blame is little old me.
5) Help is here
Let's face it: if my spouse were around during the week, it would be more difficult to justify an evening babysitter for Girls Night Out. Now I don't feel too guilty about having an extra helping hand at night and during the day as well.
All cheekiness aside, having a spouse away all week can indeed be tough at times, and I now have tremendous respect for the parents out there who really are doing it all on their own, 24/7. And, yes, I do sometimes envy my friends whose husbands are cozily tucked in next to them every night.
But even with its moments of loneliness, frustration and stress, being on my own all week gives me confidence as a mom and teaches me to believe in myself. It's the mom version of Outward Bound - if I can do this, I can do anything! And our wacky schedule ends up proving the strength of my relationship - my husband and I are truly partners in this marriage and we cherish the time we spend together.
Now you know: While this arrangement isn't for everyone, it certainly has its upsides. So next time you see me, no need for a worried or pitying glance - my family and I are doing just fine.
-by Jamie Fishman
Wendy Widom is CEO of Familes in the Loop (FITL), Chicago's hippest hub for parents and kids.
See more of Wendy 's stories here.