Murphy’s Law of Traveling Husbands

The hubs has to take a business trip and will be gone for 7 days.  “No problem!” you say — perhaps a bit too readily, in a voice that’s maybe a bit too chirpy.  And why hesitate?  The grass is green, the sun is shining and the kids are all getting along.

The problem, fellow Moms, is that you’ve been lulled into a false sense of security.  This is the calm before the storm, the moment in the movie where the husband waves good-bye and heads into his taxicab.  Next thing you know, the light has darkened, the score changes from lilting staccato to one baritone chord on the piano, and you have to fight the urge to yell at the protagonist, “RUN!”

But the Mom — yes, that’s you — can’t run.  The mom must go back inside the house and face Murphy’s Law of Traveling Husbands.  Here is everything that will go wrong when your husband is traveling:

  1. One or more kids will get sick.  That little mosquito bite on his leg before your husband left?  Turns out it’s a raging case of poison ivy and you’ll need to visit the doctor to get Benedryl.  That little cough your four year old had?  While you were peacefully sleeping at one a.m., you’ll learn that it was croup and you’ll have to aggressively comb through your Rolodex of neighbors and parents who haven’t figured out the Do not Disturb feature on their iPhones to get babysitting coverage for your older kids while you take the little one to the ER.
  2. Your house will break.  This happened to me when my husband recently left for a trip in early January and our furnace decided to throw in the towel. (see angry, bitter Jan 5 post about dealing with Home Warranty Companies)
  3. Your child will get an incredibly huge science project — due the day before your husband returns.  Yes, little Johnny will prance home from school in the afternoon, hugging a paper that reads:  Your child will be participating in the Annual Science Fair.  Please assist him or her in building his own photobioreactor, or denaturing proteins, or creating a magnetic linear accelerator.  Projects will be due in three days.
  4. The weather will turn.  While it may have been 60 degrees and sunny when your husband was home, now it’s 8 degrees, cloudy with a wintry mix, and there are several sheets of ice on the road — enough to make you fear driving on the slick surface.  Unfortunately the school board will agree with you and cancel school for the duration of your husband’s trip.
  5. You will forget something major.  This happened to me when my pre-schooler casually mentioned that I had forgotten to put something in his backpack for Show-and-Tell day.  “It’s okay,” he said forgivingly. “I just talked to the class.”

The good news is that eventually your wandering husband will return home, and you can greet him with a laundry list of all the things that went wrong in his absence.  He will feel loved and appreciated, and most of all, he can be left with the broken house, sick kids and icy weather while you plan a girls trip to Mexico.

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