By: Wendy Rhein
As hard as it is to leave home and travel for work, I find myself relishing the small pleasures of a few days in a hotel. I’ve written before about being a single parent and traveling sans children – the meals, the laundry, the permission slips and play dates. Half the work of a work trip occurs before I step foot into an airport.
But once I arrive at my destination, and check into a hotel, I exhale and take stock of the small joys of work travel.
A crisp, and more importantly, empty bed. No hidden pacifiers between the sheets, no dirty socks left under the pillow. (Don’t ask me why but Nathan leaves his dirty socks under the pillow.) This bed holds the promise of a full night’s sleep. Alone.
A clean bathroom, a toy-free tub, and matching towels.
A door to the bathroom that will actually stay closed when I close it instead of bursting open with a small hands shove when I’m taking a shower, followed by an insistent voice that I better come quick because the top of the lizard cage has ‘mysteriously’ come off.
A full-sized ironing board that I can leave up without fear that it will land on someone’s toddling head or used as a surfboard, or both. I actually travel with clothes that need to be ironed just for this satisfaction.
HBO, not the Cartoon Network.
The happy sheen of independent travel wears off in about 36 hours. I miss the noise. I miss the early morning snuggles. I miss seeing their securely loved faces when I walk in the door at the end of the day. I miss milestones like the last day of school and a field trip to the zoo. As much as I can temporarily enjoy the freedom of eating a meal in a restaurant without a kids’ menu and being able to complete a whole conversation with another adult without interruption, I am always relieved to get back home to my grungy and cluttered tub and the dirty socks left under my pillow. The sterile hotel room can be fun for a bit but my real life has all the perks I need.