Sunday, September 22, 2013

When Daddy’s Away

Let me preface this (slightly whiny) post with a quick statement: There are wives who have it a lot worse than I do. Military spouses. Wives whose husbands are frequently away on business for months at a time. Wives whose husbands work out of state and only come home on the weekends, or are who knows where for any length of time working on the power lines or the oil pipelines. 

Keeping that in perspective, the fact that my husband travels an average of 4-5 times a year for business or personal reasons (his family’s out of state, and my schedule is considerably less flexible than his these days) isn’t that big a deal. But that number's crawling up as time goes by, and as I find myself home alone with the kids more often I find  myself wondering.

How am I going to stay on top of things while Daddy's away?

Why am I Weepy Today?

Given that I was all set to embrace single parenthood not too long ago, you would think a week or so without my recently-reconciled spouse wouldn’t be that big a deal, right? Yeah, so would I. 

To be honest though, I think this is the first time I’ve really been bothered that Big M is gone. Some of it is due to the fact that it’s only been a month since we really moved back in. Things are still shaky, and having him gone doesn't help. More of it is probably that I am, once again, taking time off work because I don’t have any back-up daycare…and the situation promises to get worse, with more travel right around the corner. (The last time he traveled I had to take almost an entire week off of work because of sick kids after I'd already taken vacation and bereavement the two weeks prior.)

That’s hard on the kids, who aren't used to dad traveling so often. Especially my daughter, who really doesn't do well when either parent is away. It's hard on me too, and not just because I find myself having to shoulder the majority of the kid running around and the housework. I also find myself in the uncomfortable position of having to bid work adieu to stay home with kids who aren't feeling well, without any relief in sight. 

Three of the last six months I’ve had to take time off work because the kids were sick and dad was out of town. It brings questions to light like whether or not I should even bother working full time if I’m going to have to constantly take time off (my personal time is in the negative right now, metaphorically speaking). What that’s going to mean if I end up going to school full time and exactly how much travel we’re talking about here? (It’s been one week out of every month since last spring, and we're expecting him gone for a week both next month and the month after.)

Moms with kids, careers and traveling/deployed husbands, how do you do it? What are your tricks for maintaining sanity and a career in a busy household when dad’s away more than he’s here?

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