NOTE! If you weren’t able to get the book yesterday, it’s because I blew up my Dropbox allotment. It’s been reupped with new links.
There’s a piece in the Wall Street Journal about “The Mommy Business Trip.” The tease in the front page skybox said “Why Moms Love Business Trips,” and I knew the answer: getting away from the kids and having an extra glass of wine. Read the article, and that’s pretty much it. If you’re home with the kids all day it’s nice to get away. Then again, if you’re home with the kids all day, do you take business trips? Yes: there are marketers targeting women who work out of the house, and convincing them to pony up a grand or more to attend conferences where seminar titles include, as the article notes, “How to Keep Blogging After It’s All Been Blogged” and “Help! My 9-Year Old Wants to Be on Instagram!”
I’m in the wrong business. The money isn’t made on this side, for the most part; it’s made on the side that tells people how to make money on the other side.
My wife got back the other day from a five-day business trip, which was grueling from start to finish, and had absolutely none of the amenities the article described:
“(The attendees) will get decked out in ornate hates as they sip mint juleps at a Kentucky Derby party and will don capri pants for a 1950s-themed barbecue on a cliff overlooking the beach.”
The other word for this is “Vacation.”
I have to show the article to my wife and ask about the Derby party they had at night. There are two kinds of business trips: ones where you come back with a little swag and some fun pictures on your phone, and the kind where you have a three-inch-thick binder to hold all the new regulations your industry must incorporate next month.
Anyway. One of the reasons Moms enjoy the trips, according to the graphic: “Kids? What kids? Her children’s school bus came 20 minutes ago. For once, that’s someone else’s problem.” This is one of the most defining aspects of parenthood, the ordinary detail that completely rewires your brain. When the bus comes. Even in the summer it gets to be around bus time and I sit up and look out the window. Two phrases - have a good day / how was your day - bracket a land of increasing mystery. The first requires a hug farewell, even if it’s the cursory tween side-hug, and the last requires a brief report, which will be sketched out at supper.
They’re not the most important things a parent can do, but they’re the basics in establishing constancy and presence, two things it seems some people discount because they’re too easy.
Anyway. There aren’t any articles on the Daddy Business Trip, even if it’s Dad-bloggers who pay to fly somewhere and sit in a hotel ballroom listening to someone talk about the ethics of blogging about your kid’s loser baseball team.
The other thing Moms like? Having control over the remote and not having to watch Spongebob.
I’ve never met a woman in my life who wished she could just get away and watch some hotel TV. Asked my wife if she watched any TV.
Howls! Howls of derisive laughter!
The response has been wonderful! Why don't you click and see what all the fuss is about? You wouldn't want to be left out, would you? You can't bear the anxiety and social shame that comes from not knowing what the popular kids are laughing about, can you? Sure, sometimes you think they're laughing about you, and that's bad, but it's really worse to realize they'd think it was funny if you thought they cared enough to notice you. Then they'd really laugh. The big one - the jock, that guy they call Flash - he'd seize on something about you and create an instant nickname - Pimplenose, Four-eyes, Open Fly Guy - and you'd be tagged for good forever just because you said STOP LAUGHING AT ME and they really weren't, not at all. Oh mom says it doesn't matter but she doesn't understand she doesn't understand.