I don’t travel frequently for work.
I’m a software development manager – until about six months ago, I was a developer – and most of my team is based in the same office where I work. While I do work for a large, multinational company, my meetings are more frequently over the phone or video conferencing when it involves folks in distant offices. Sometimes, though, there’s that need for face to face contact.
And obviously, when I do have to travel, it’s sans family. This makes sense, of course – the Monster has school, and it’s not like my wife’s inclined to do touristy things when I’m not with her. But traveling without my family, while that might sound like a lot of fun, is actually kind of stressful on both ends – my wife’s stuck chasing after both kids, and I’m feeling that little bit guilty about leaving her in that situation, while wondering what I’m going to come home to.
I’ve certainly taken longer business trips since we had our kids. When I was still developing and my manager was based in our San Francisco office, I was taking week-long trips to that coast to have face-to-face time with him… and that included leaving before dawn on Monday and coming back after the kids went to bed on Friday. So this trip, this week, isn’t a “big one” – it’s three nights away from my family, between the High Holydays, and right at the beginning of the school year when things are relatively quiet. (I had to head down to Austin to meet with a team here and do a demo for the project that I work on.) I stayed at home on Monday till after the Monster got on his school bus, and I’ll be home Thursday evening in time to take over childcare for the evening so my wife can get to her rehearsal.
The truth of the problem is, as so many parents know, having all the childcare on one parent is a huge difficulty, and moreso when you have a special needs child. Usually, we can at least tag-team when one of us is getting overburdened, and now she’s in the position of having to handle everything – his moods, his homework, his schedule – while still tending to the baby. And while I know that I’ll even things out when I get home, plus the fact that she’s going away in a few weeks herself for a similar period of time, it’s really not something that gets evened out.
Oh well. It is what it is…