by Leslie Morgan Steiner
Thank you for helping me unclog the kids’ toilet just now, although I recognize I must have looked funny doing it naked, especially from your view up there. Taking care of that toilet was the last item on my To-Do List before I leave for my two-day-one-redeye business trip to California, so I especially appreciate your help. I had to attack the toilet in the nude because I didn’t want to risk getting poop splatter on my nice traveling suit. I totally forgot about the clogged toilet until my final pee-before-dressing. Glad I got to it even if it means I might miss my plane! If I left it clogged, it would be even more clogged when I get home. Now I just have to finalize my three pages of instructions for our babysitter-chauffeur and husband to follow while I’m gone. I certainly wouldn’t be a good mom if the kids got stranded at school at 9 pm after the chorus performance or the dog starved while I was away.
But since we’re on the subject of business trips, can I ask you one question? I know some people say you punish women for that original sin business, eating the apple and everything. But I never thought you’d be this vindictive. I thought you took care of punishment by making childbirth excruciating. So what gives, God? Do you think it’s truly fair the way business trips are such different experiences for moms vs. dads? I’ve asked you about this inequity before, but it just keeps on happening.
My husband went to Phoenix for three days this week. He didn’t write any instructions for me or the babysitter or the dog. He didn’t worry about food in the fridge, who would whip up the kids’ dinner, or homework getting done. He just got on a plane on Tuesday afternoon and poof! He called once while he was gone. It wasn’t to check on whether Max had passed his math test, to find out if Tallie had stopped throwing up, or whether Morgan had handed in her field trip permission slip. It was to see if I could take the kids to school the first day he returned so that he could keep his regular Thursday morning appointment with his personal trainer.
Although I adore him passionately, I couldn’t answer my beloved’s phone call because I was busy getting ready for my business trip – a completely different process that takes several days. But I was cheered during my packing, planning-for-every-disaster and instruction-writing prep, because I was imagining my husband experiencing a small dose of my life while I was gone. You know, maybe the dog would swallow a telephone cord, requiring a midnight trip to the pet emergency room with no adult home to mind the children. Or Max would get his braces impaled on his left cheek again like he did last Friday, forcing DH to drop everything and find a dentist willing to see patients at 5:30 pm on a holiday weekend. Or Tallie would projectile vomit on him during the 8 am drive to school.
Instead I found out that the one full night I’m going to be in California, Morgan and Tallie got invited to sleepovers. The moms probably heard I was going to be away and took pity on my husband; they’re even picking the girls up directly from school. Max is going to the 8th grade dance and getting a ride home afterwards. My husband doesn’t have to drive to school ONCE. He will have nothing to do except read the newspaper uninterrupted, eat dinner uninterrupted, watch television uninterrupted, and then sleep uninterrupted. I’m sure he’s gonna enjoy every minute. Then he’ll look at me like I’m a hallucinatory bad mother/ wife the next time I complain about him being on a business trip.
Now God, do you really think this is fair? If you can hear me, please make something disastrous happen while I’m gone. Not truly evil – please don’t burn down the house or hurt the kids. But could you arrange a few small fiascos? Maybe my husband could get a flat tire with five or six 13-year-olds in the car. Or the electricity could go out from 5-8 pm, right when he’s getting dinner ready and expecting an important conference call and doing homework with the kids.
And while you’re at it, is it too much to ask for a row to myself on the redeye home? It would be a lot better for everyone if I’m refreshed and perky when I come home to my husband, my kids, and whatever toilet messes have piled up while I’m away.
Yours ‘til eternity --- Leslie