Is DS in nursery/at CM? Last time DH was on a business trip was when DS was in the lower room at nursery where they gave most of the children a packed tea (as well as their normal cooked lunch) and they are willing to do that in his current room but it's not part of their normal routine, so our new daily routine is now tea all together when we get in, or he has something on toast and we eat later as adults. But if DH was away now, I'd send a packed tea (made up the night before) so when we get in he only needs milk, bath, bed rather than cooking properly for all of us (or even just making him toast, which some days seems too challenging!)
I usually do all the getting up in the morning but DH makes up the bag for nursery, gives DS his morning milk; I'd probably put the milk in the cup in the fridge, set out breakfast, coats, shoes. I already set out my own clothes the night before.
I actually don't mind DH being away if it's for two or three days, as he gets a really early train and always wakes me up, and DS, whereas when he's away DS usually sleeps an extra 15 minutes or so!
Hi Wibbly - I have a 17 month old too, and DH has been away for 2 weeks! My main approach is generally to clean up / tidy up as we go along and got a few 'easy meals' ready for me to have (e.g. baked potatoes, a ready meal or two, etc - on my work days I try to have a decent lunch so the evening meal doesn't matter as much!).
In the morning DS generally entertains himself roaming around the bedroom while I get ready and we FaceTime with Daddy, and in the evenings after nursery he goes straight up for milk and bed. I then have my dinner, tidy up and get things ready for the morning, then have an early night in preparation for the inevitable 5.30am wake up call!! If we are rushing, nursery will feed him breakfast if I provide it.
It's actually been easier than I thought - slightly calmer household without all of us trying to get ready in the morning, less washing, etc!
My DH works long hours (not home whilst DCs are awake Mon-Fri) and I've been both a working-mum and SAHM with young DCs.
Regarding food my tactic has always been to eat my own main (cooked) meal at lunchtime when child-free, even if it's just a baked potato at your desk, and then you always have the option of something really easy like soup or a sandwich for you and DCs at dinner time. And the odd ready meal isn't the end of the world, really. Or buy some fresh tortellini which cooks in a couple of minutes and is easy finger food for your DC.
Also, bath time isn't compulsory. My DCs have eczema and on GP advice only bathe every few days. That certainly makes bedtime easier!
Go with the flow if you have to. Inevitably you will have a day when you don't have the energy to argue. Pick your battles.
Finally, get some early nights. The temptation to stay up late with a glass of wine and watch trashy TV will get to you one night, I'm sure, but try to get some sleep in the bank.
(Oh, and when your DH does come back, make sure he is booked in for a big Daddy-time session so that you can slope off for a lie-in and a hot bath.)