Snap out of it
11 days is too long.
Three days is about right. Back in May, we switched our custody schedule from 12 nights out of 14 with me, to three with each of us (and a swing day each week). The old schedule was killing me slowly, and I don’t think LOD liked it, either. This “new” schedule is better for everyone. I have them three days in a row, but can come home from work a little earlier on my days with them (because I stay later on the days I don’t have them). LOD gets to have them for dinner three regular nights a week. Each place feels more like home. LOD and I are happier, so the kids are happier. Maybe in a few years we’ll switch again, but for right now it works for all four of us.
And I’ve gotten used to three days on and three days off. It’s enough chance to catch up on some stuff, go out with friends one night, and watch all my DVRd shows. Then, right when I start to miss them in earnest, they’re back again, talking about all the fun stuff they did with LOD. Win-win-win-win.
So the first three days of their long New England vacation were easy and felt normal. The fourth was ok, as I had plans with a friend. The fifth started to get weird, and I started to feel squirrelly. On the sixth I came home and had cookies and wine for dinner because I didn’t feel like doing anything else. Ditto the seventh. And eighth. Not good. I was shrinking into a pitiful cat lady, the kind who carries four different tote bags on the subway and fetishizes the NY Times crossword puzzle. Plus I was about to get rickets, or scurvy, or whatever you get from a diet consisting solely of flour, sugar, egg, chocolate chips, and Moscato.
So thank goodness for my work trip on Day 9. I’m good at being a Mom Who Travels For Work. I pack well. I leave plenty of time to catch my flights. I suffer the injustices of air travel with sarcasm and rolled eyes. I make friends with my seatmates. I don’t get speeding tickets in my rental car anymore. I watch a lot of History Channel* in the hotel room. I text pictures of the weird stuff I see to LOD to show to the kids. I solve technical problems on the spot at my meetings. I eat plenty of vegetables at local restaurants.
Last week’s trip was no disappointment: Freaky and slightly-terrifying flight delays (including the pilot telling us the mechanics had performed “a reasonable fix” to the engine that was having problems, so we’d get up in the air in another 10 minutes). Gully-washing downpour plus impressive lightning strikes as soon as I got on the road in my rental car. Hilarious technical problems that didn’t stop us from having a productive meeting with some good people in attendance. Good food and non-stop conversation with a friend who lives in the area.
Really, without that work trip to snap me back to being a thinking professional person, I was on a slow slide into chocolate chip misery. So to my co-worker A who called me in to sub for him last Friday: thank you. And to LOD: thanks for being open to doing two shorter trips next summer instead of one long one.
* Have you noticed that the experts they get to discuss insects are hotter than the experts they get to discuss weapons? Why is that?