Mom Confession: Parenting Is Easier When My Husband’s Away for Work

I met my husband when I was writing a dating column for Conde Nast’s JANE magazine. 

I knew the moment I walked into that Gramercy Park coffee shop on our first date and saw him contemplating the bevy of sweet treats that he would be in my life forever. Our first meeting lasted over four hours—and we have been sharing lattes and laughs together for 15 years. 

Our two boys—ages three and six—keep us very busy but we get our couple time in when we can, oftentimes cuddling on the couch watching Law and Order—what can I say we love a good crime show procedural. 

But tomorrow my husband is leaving for a four-day work trip… and I couldn’t be more excited. 

Sure I will have to navigate the daily routine with two littles solo, but I don’t mind that at all. I operate with the precision of a well-oiled machine. After all, I am a mom, and that is what moms do. 

Let me break it down for you. 

The morning routine is typically one that parents dread, as you never know what mood your little cuties might be in upon sunrise. Right before 7am, my three year old starts shouting:

 “Mama, I want to get up! Now!”

My husband gestures to me that he will handle our precious bundle, proudly selecting an outfit he thinks would be cute for the day. I know this is not going to go well but I don’t want to hurt my husband’s feelings and just let the inevitable play out. 

“I want mama! Where’s mama?” he responds as my husband enters the room. 

Our three year old will in turn scream and refuse said outfit. My husband, feeling defeated, will then walk away out of frustration and proceed to head downstairs to get ready. When it’s just me running the show, I get my six year old up first, he gets himself dressed, and then he and I head in to get his brother who is very pleased to see Mama greeting him. I don’t bother with getting him dressed until Bluey is on and he is properly distracted. I throw on a jacket over my sweats, don my trusty baseball cap and get the car loaded, breakfast bars and water bottles in tow, just in case the kids are still hungry after eating their cereal or waffles. 

Unlike me, my husband doesn’t work from home, so there is no side-stepping his morning grooming ritual. His shower and shave is then, of course, followed by his french press coffee that must be made just so. Mama, on the other hand, unshowered and proud of her bedhead, is all about the Keurig—so I delegate brewing the first cup of morning joe to my six year old. “Here you go mama,” he says with a proud smile as he hands it to me on our way out the door. 

Once the drop-offs are complete, I head back home to work on articles and assignments, excited that I can just make a big salad with lots of beans and veggies for dinner. My husband likes salad meals but not every night, while I could eat them daily (which I do when he’s not home).

The kids aren’t huge fans, but I always have some chicken or pasta on hand to add to their meals. It’s such a relief not to worry about creative cooking for a few days, leaving more time for meeting deadlines and crafting pitches. 

The kids are home by 5 p.m. from school and daycare and it’s all about them for the next few hours. We work on homework, build Legos and, yes, there may be a bit more Bluey to round out the evening. Showers are at 7 p.m and lights out by 7:30-7:45 p.m. for my two rambunctious rascals. 

Without Dad around, the kids miss out on a spirited and super messy game of indoor catch/hide and seek, but Mom is more than happy to have them skip a few days of the punchy play. The kids are calmer and the pillows remain neatly nestled on the couch. Perhaps on one of the days I give in and we have a mini-chase session around the downstairs, but I’m strict about the kids cleaning up after we finish. 

Once the kids are asleep I can cue up The Golden Girls on TV while I fold laundry. I also take some time to review my schedule for the next day, preparing for an upcoming interview I will be conducting. I don’t feel guilty about continuing to work or jumping on the treadmill instead of spending time catching up with my spouse. With him away, I can be indulgent about my own needs and goals. And that’s what I truly love about single parenting, it reminds me of the time when I was, well, single. Don’t get me wrong, being in a committed relationship is well worth it, but sometimes it’s nice to only think about what I want instead of making sure my partner feels supported and included. As a mother and wife, my tendency is to make sure everyone else’s needs are met. I love being The Mom: the one my kids go to first for the emotional support, the one that always remembers to get the birthday party gifts, the preferred bedtime story reader (“Mama just does the voices better, Papa.”) the person my husband trusts most with his heart  

Getting a break from that routine, even if for just a day or two, gives me the freedom to live a little selfishly, something moms rarely get the chance to do. 

When my husband returns a few days later, the kids are excited to see their fun-loving father and I am recharged and ready to be part of a couple again. It doesn’t make me less of a wife or partner because I enjoy our time apart, and it certainly doesn’t mean I would want to always parent without him either. But when I get those breaks, those moments when I can just take more time for myself, I am a better mother and a much happier and healthier person. 

Read more powerful essays and narratives on The Mother Chapter. 


  • Sarah DiMuro

    Sarah DiMuro is a lifestyle writer and journalist based in Toronto, Canada. When not creating content she can be found spending time with her husband and two little boys building Legos, making forts and of course binge watching Bluey. A breast cancer survivor who turned to surrogacy to have her second child, Sarah is very excited to share her unique experiences with The Mother Chapter community.

Share the Post:

Related Posts