Flickr photo by DoortoriverThis week my husband starts a new job. He'll be taking an extended military leave from his airline job. For two months, he has temporary active orders with a reserve unit about two hours from our home.
When he pitched me the idea, it made sense. And in the long run, it really does.
But then last week I realized that this change is much more complicated than it initially sounded.
Isn't that always the case?
I don't fault him for not thinking about how hard it'd be for me. And I've grown quite used to jobs, even the military, which is supposed to be "family-friendly" -- not considering how the change, deployment, or TDY (Tour of Duty) affects me and my children.
My active duty friends often experience longer TDYs and deployments, but as a Guard or Reserve wife, you're often completely disconnected from any type of support system -- a home base, friends with similar situations, or any type of helpful services you could get from being on or near a base.
And non-military families. Forget it.
So really, I should be used to this by now.
But every time a change comes, it punches me right between the eyeballs and I find it harder and harder to get up.
Ironically, his now regular Monday through Friday job (no weekends FTW!) will be more difficult that the airline and National Guard schedule he's on now. Since the drive is two hours, there's just no way he'll be coming back home every night, or even every other night.
First of all, that's just nuts. And second, the man who flies everywhere can't drive more than an hour without sounding like my 3-year-old in the backseat asking, "Are we there yet?"
And even if he did come home, he wouldn't get there until after bedtime anyway, which is when I could really use the respite. I actually don't mind the quiet nights alone after the kids are in bed and truth be told, I really like sleeping alone.
So basically, he'll be gone the entire week, every week, for two months, which based on his current schedule is much different than it is now, with at least half the month, if not more, home with us.
And in being gone the entire week every week, that means, aside from all the other solo parenting duties, I'll be solely responsible for packing all the kids in the car every morning and afternoon for drop-off and pick-up. That's a whole lot of kid packing.
It's the part of my day that I hate the most. HATE.
I realize that this is a pretty typical schedule for many SAHMs and WAHMs. But usually there's the light at the end of their day in the form of another two hands to kid wrangle and another two legs for them to climb on.
And for me, while I've done the daily drop-off and pick-up for a few (sometimes many more) days in a row, there was always the knowledge that it'd end, usually within a day or two, and so the prospect of having to do that wasn't such a big deal. The finish line was always in sight.
But now things are changing. Again. I'll be more of a Sometimes Single Mom than I have been in a really long time.
In some ways, it'll be easier. None of the come and go. The change in the routine. The fights about how to do things. He won't be home long enough for that.
But part of me really likes the way things are right now. Not necessarily because they're easier. But because it's what I know. And I'm good at it.
Do it yourself
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