He Brought Me Along On a Work Trip…Now I’m Eating Crow

Eating Crow: an American colloquialism meaning humiliation by admitting wrongness 
or having been proved wrong after taking a strong position

Remember this post I wrote almost two years ago about about how much I resented my husband’s work travel? Well, I felt compelled to write an update. Why? Because I finally got invited on one of my husband’s work trips. And I learned SO much. This isn’t easy for me to admit, but here’s how it all went down:

My husband has been traveling for work for 10 years now. Recently, for only the second time in a decade, I was invited to join him on a business trip to sunny San Diego. (Side note: The first work trip I joined him on was to LasVegas a few years ago. That wasn’t an official company function. In other words, he had a lot of down time and we had a lot of time for fun. Not his usual business trip M.O.)

This trip was different than our weekend in Vegas. It was all the things I’ve been giving him a hard time about for a decade now: cocktail receptions, fancy dinners, socializing (aka: open bars) all with a beautiful ocean view. I couldn’t wait to witness it for myself. I never thought I’d find myself apologizing to my husband when all was said and done. But as it turns out, work travel isn’t quite as glamorous as I had it pictured in my mind. Would you believe, it’s actually exhausting?

All these years I’ve been feeling resentful because of what I thought he was doing while traveling for work. This trip was a wonderful opportunity for me to see how it really is. Let’s break it down, shall we?

In my mind…he was flying off to tropical, scenic, beautiful tourist havens while I was stuck in the frozen tundra of Minnesota just trying not to get the mini-van stuck in the snowbank while taxiing my kids to their 925 activities. 

In Reality…San Diego WAS beautiful, warm and scenic. But he didn’t even leave the hotel for the first two days. It was nothing but meetings for him. I actually felt bad for him (as I was out shopping, enjoying the sun and having a spa day.) Wait, oops. Maybe I shouldn’t have added that last part.
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In my mind…he was enjoying gourmet dining every night in fancy restaurants, while I was at home scrambling to come up with last minute dinners for three little kids, and up to my elbows in dirty dishes afterwards.

In reality…we actually did enjoy fancy dining every night. But it got old being told exactly when and where we had to be for dinner. (He has always told me that’s how it is, but I refused to believe him.) By the end of the trip I just wanted to take a walk and find a cute little place to eat, just the two of us, instead of sitting at a huge table full of semi-strangers talking more business.
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In my mind…he was partying it up at cocktail receptions with open bars, potentially making stupid decisions because of massive amounts of free alcohol in his system. (Something along the lines of the old fraternity party days.)

In reality…cocktail receptions involve standing around and talking business, business, and more business. Nobody wanted to talk about the Kardashians, or The Real Housewives. They just wanted to talk about the newest product line. By the end of the night I thought I was going to die if I had to hear about any more scientific research. But I did feel much better knowing that these people are not party people. Turns out that cocktail receptions don’t involve beer pong and strippers after all.
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In my mind…he must have so much fun staying in fancy hotels, having someone else clean up his towels for him, relaxing at night and enjoying the solitude of an empty hotel room.

In reality…I missed my kids (I know! It surprised me too.) Hotels can be nice, but they aren’t home.

As much as it pains me, now we come to the part where I swallowed my pride and began apologizing profusely to my husband. All of time we have spent arguing over his work trips, all the resentment I have built up over the years, all the times I called his work trips ‘vacations’ when I was angry…it was all put into perspective for me. I needed to see it to understand it. (Maybe he should have invited me sooner, right?)

Now, all of my new perspective aside, it’s important for me to mention that none of that makes it ANY easier on me when I’m home and he’s travelling. It is still a major source of stress on our family life. I’ll probably always struggle with the weight that falls on my shoulders whenever he’s gone. But it’s very clear to me now that it’s not easy for him either. I’m going to be much more careful about the words I chose to use…even when I’m mad. This wasn’t an easy post for me to write. It’s never easy to admit you were wrong. But not to worry. I’m sure he’ll give me something else to piss and moan about soon enough.

                               

Comments

  1. Glad that you got the chance to see and understand…and I applaud you for the public admission that you were wrong!

  2. Oh, I so get this and so needed to read it today!! My hubby travel a lot for work, too. He spent three days last week in Orlando for a company sales meeting (we live in NC). I also envisioned him doing the fancy dinners, cocktail hours, and having conversation with actual adults. He came home for one day and turned around to go to another conference in NYC. Today, while I was home trying to entertain three kids who were out of school and driving me nuts, his company was “hosting” customers at an NBA game at Madison Square Garden!!! We had a long talk about it a few years ago. He pointed out all the things he misses when he’s gone and how, to him, staying in hotels and eating out every night is not so great because he does it so much. Not going to lie, though, I still get jealous. As they say, I guess the grass is always greener on the other side! (Sorry for this epically long comment, too! Just needed to get that off my chest today!)

    • Vent away, lady!!! It’s nice to be in such great company. Okay, the whole NBA game thing? Yeah, that’s an exception. I think we still get to complain about those kinds of work functions. (My husband has those every now and then too.) Clearly it sounds like your hubby needs to take you along sometime. Am I right?

  3. My husband is a CPA, so he disappears from January until April 15th. While he does come home at night, it’s often when I’m ready for bed or already in bed. It’s 7 days per week of work with only Fridays and Sundays for a full family dinner. It sucks not having him around. I know what you mean about the added stress and saying the wrong things in anger at times. He does travel from time to time as well. I’ve always been bored at his functions, so I know it’s not all fun. Luckily we make up for the stress April 15 – Dec 31!

    • SO good to know I’m not the only one who struggles with this, Jennifer! It’s nice that your husband gets to have an “off season” too. I wish mine did.

  4. I can totally relate to this post. I used to think the same thing when my hubby traveled. Then I joined him on D.C. trip about 9 years ago & saw the reality. Live & learn! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Live and learn…ain’t it the truth. Thanks for stopping by! I love it when people relate to what I write. It helps me know I’m not crazy ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I just saw a list of the top job stresses and travel was at the top of the list. Traveling for work adds stress to the entire household. I’ve also talked to sales reps at my company who hate having to whine and dine clients ’til all hours of the morning. Then have to get up the next day and be productive.

    • So very true. That’s what I need to do a better job of remembering. It really isn’t easy for any of the parties involved. And I never really thought about it from the perspective of the “winers and diners.” Interesting.

  6. Visiting from the Sits Girls ShareFest- I’m impressed that you admitted it and put it out there for the world to see. It sounds like your husband is one lucky guy.

  7. My husband doesn’t travel, but he works mostly evenings and weekends, so the bulk of the childcare duties fall to me. What’s worse is when I come home for a lunch break, on his days off he’s usually watching TV or taking a nap. It took me a long time to recognize how tired he is from his long hours and how stressed he gets from day to day. He also misses out on a lot of family things. I’m trying to go easier on him now.

    • I think evenings/weekend shifts would almost be harder than traveling during the week in a way. Our weekends are when we try and get everything done that we didn’t during the week. I guess it’s never easy, is it? Way to try and be patient! Hang in there, Mama.

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