Saturday, February 23, 2013

Annals of Extreme Commuting: Atlanta Edition

I live in Providence, RI and I work in Baltimore, MD.  Half the people I meet in Southwest terminals seem to have similar stories.  To me, the significant number of people commuting to work by plane is emblematic of larger structural problems in the US economy, specifically the tight and inflexible job opportunities for highly skilled workers.

This week I also went to Atlanta and got to visit two of my least favorite airports ATL (perfecting the art of architectural brutality) and BOS (inefficiently and idiocy combined with the terrifying descent into the airport, during which I'm always sure that we are going into the drink).  The good part was getting to visit with friends, a good conference, nice hotel with biscuits on the breakfast bar, and some soul vegetarian.  The bad parts were 4:30am wakeups and planes, trains, subways, buses, and taxis.  In the not good, but not really bad category-Atlanta is a city of well-put-together women, which always makes my disheveled self uncomfortable.  Boston, with its ugly accents and LL Bean boots feels like home.

I got my messages one night after dinner, and heard B calmly reporting that everything was under control on the homefront, while an insistent little voice piped in "I puked, I puked."  And, indeed she had.  It's hard being the home parent and hard being the away parent.  The home parent works all day and then comes home to full domestic duties and nighttime wakeups.  The fact that B and I are so good at sharing parenting and switching off can make it harder when one of us is away.  I've not always handled being the home parent gracefully, but I think we've both learned to treat the home parent gently, even when one (meaning me) calls late a night to put a screaming child on the phone.

For the away parent there are all the indignities of travel, long hours, stress about whatever work commitments led to the travel.  It's also just lonely sitting in airport terminals and hotel rooms, while ladies at home are having dinner and doing the bedtime routine. As the away parent, I try to set B up for success by cooking some extra food and putting out clothes for LB, although sometimes good intentions are lost in the time crunch. When B is the away parent, she always does a big grocery stock-up trick for me.

We don't really do anything special to prepare LB for our (but currently really my) absences.  She has such a limited understanding of time, I think we would only confuse her.  She usually does well for the first day or so, and then become increasingly out of sorts.  When I picked her up yesterday, she was pretty clingy and generally didn't want me to leave her site.  The upside was that I got extra cuddles.

[After writing this post, I came across these traveling parent tips on the blog Liza Was Here.  Good tips!]

Only one more trip this month, and a cozy, snowy weekend between now and then.

While mama's away...


  1. I don't always travel, but when I do, I do everything in my power to avoid ATL. :-)

  2. Seriously, and it's only been made worse now that Chick Fil A has shoved their views about The Gays in my face. There's no escaping CFA in ATL.