What he doesn't know won't hurt him.
My husband travels about four times a year ... not often in the grand scheme of things. The downside is that my small children aren't ever used to him being gone and I have to deal with five-year-old assh*le behavior for a short span of time. But there are perks. Oh yes, there are perks.
Here are four secret pleasures I indulge in when my man is away, and the very reasons I practically push him out the door when it's time for him to go somewhere:
1. Turn back the time on our clocks so our kids go to bed early.
When my husband is gone, my kids' bedtime is at least an hour earlier than usual. At 7 PM, I'll cheerfully announce, "Time to hit the hay!" My kids can't actually tell time yet, so they trust me on basic things like time of day.
They sometimes get that confused look on their little faces. I imagine they're perplexed by how the evening has ticked by so quickly, but I march their little butts to bed so I can get some blissful peace and quiet. When they're a little older, you bet your ass I'm going to be sneaking around the house turning back clocks to make sure nothing silly like learning to tell time messes with my blissful peace and quiet.
Yes, I know I run the risk of forgetting to turn them forward again and totally throwing off my morning. But the hour I'll get completely to myself in the evening is worth it.
2. Eat food that's really bad for us.
While I'm not one of those radically crunchy moms, I do like my family to eat healthy stuff. I buy organic as much as I can, although I'm not a Nazi about it.
When it's my husband's turn to do the grocery shopping, he buys whatever is cheapest. I bitch at him when he comes home with the economy bag of gigantic, genetically modified apples. But at the end of the day, I'm grateful I'm married to a man who sees grocery shopping as a team sport.
But all bets are off when he goes out of town. Lunchables? Check. Poptarts for dinner? Check. Those little cinnamon rolls that come in a can with the little container of sugary topping? Check, check, and check. I like junky food once in a while but every time I bust it out in front of my husband, he gives me crap about being the food police and makes me out to be the hypocrite, which is just a little true.
3. Throw his useless sh*t away.
To say my husband is a pack rat is the hugest understatement ever. His need to hold on to every little gum wrapper from his past is a huge source of frustration for this minimalist girl. Questions like this bring on a three hour "discussion":
"Honey, do you really need these baseball pants from high school? The ones that are two sizes too small?"
And really, two sizes is being too kind, but I do at least fight fair.
When he announces a trip, I start planning my assault. I try to strike the balance between getting rid of unwanted clutter and doing such a drastic sweep that it's obvious. His car is barely out of the driveway when I start purging. I've most recently been busted for tossing out a can of protein powder purchased in 2008. Yes, really.
4. Go on dates ... with ourselves.
I'm a huge introvert. Although my husband is my favorite person to hang out with, I need more "me time" than I ever get. Due to a mix of work, school, kids, and other commitments, we sometimes struggle to get a date night scheduled.
I feel guilty about wanting to have dinner and a movie for one, so I snag my opportunity when he's out of town. I make myself feel better about it by picking an obnoxious chick flick that I'd have to twist his arm to see.
5. Live like a complete slob.
... and clean up like a madwoman half an hour before he comes home.
My husband would be content with semi-annual dusting. If he were in charge of the housework, washing dishes would only occur when the sink was stacked dangerously high or if he wanted to eat cereal and there were no clean bowls.
During our first year together, we had some serious knockdown drag-out fights over the crap he'd leave on the floor. Towels. Dirty clothes. Sports equipment. Boxes of useless thingymawhatsists he'd rescued from some dumpster that he swore he'd take to the garage "in just a minute."
After nearly a decade together, I like to think I've been a positive influence in the housekeeping department, which means my husband picks up his crap off the floor sometimes and takes the stuff he rescues from the dumpster directly to the garage before I see it.
I'm a pretty tidy person, but for some reason my inner slob comes out to play when he's gone. And I revel in the untidiness. I'm the one who throws my stuff on the floor and lets the dishes stack up, but damned if I'm going to give him the satisfaction of seeing it. He might suspect something. I've kissed him hello a few times reeking of Pledge but he can't prove anything.
6. Sneak cigarettes.
I quit smoking shortly after I met my husband. Ditching the nicotine was one of the best decisions I ever made but I still miss it every day. It’s been nine years and I still yearn for a ciggie every time I get stressed or take my first sip of a cold beer.
When my man is out of town, odds are that I'll have made a trip to the corner store to buy a pack before the first day is out. As much as I still crave a smoke, I can usually only manage a few puffs before I realize that yes, I really am glad I quit. But there's still something fun about my sneaky little smoke breaks after I put the kids to bed an hour early.
7. Revert to bad habits in the bedroom.
I like to fall asleep to the television. I love hitting the snooze button five times. Climbing into bed with a book and a bowl of popcorn is my idea of a good time in the sack. I don't do these things now because they bug my man, and because he curbed his knuckle cracking and threw away his ugly red sweats from 1998 for me.
In the spirit of compromise, I now limit myself to two snoozes. But when he goes out of town, all bets are off. I snuggle under the covers with my buttery popcorn and fall asleep to something totally mindless, like the Hallmark Channel. I hit snooze as many times as I can without being dangerously late. It's amazing.
I love my husband and after about four days, I even start to miss him a little bit. His trips rarely last more than a week and by the time he comes home, I'm glad to see him.
After six years of marriage, he's onto me about the sh*t I throw away but the Poptarts and early bedtimes? Still my dirty little secrets. What he doesn't know won't hurt him, right?