There are many aspects of my husband's schedule that are wearing on me. But the most challenging part, by far, has to be that we are suffering from "The Third Wheel" syndrome. And if you're a sometimes single mom, then you probably know exactly what I mean.
For the most part, he's home a couple of times a week for dinner and bedtime, and then the entire weekend, where he generally does stuff around the house that I don't usually do anyway. Like mow the lawn, watch golf. (Ha.)
And the deeper we get into this schedule, the more I feel as though we are two separate entities: The four of us. And him. Or versus him.
I hate to admit this, but I feel more and more like he's a complete outsider, and that it's more work than a relief when he's home.
Take dinner, for example, when he'll do everything from ask the kids if they want bread with their hamburgers (which I know doesn't sound like a big deal, but the kids never ever EVER have bread with their hamburgers because when they do, they take it off and eat it and not the actual burger) to discussing how flies sit on poop and trash right after a fly just landed on their dinner, therefore rendering the entire meal almost pointless. That pretty much equals his latest discussion about how ticks suck your blood and pass on diseases, just after we found one attached to our son.
I know this is probably a "dad" thing or a "guy" thing or something of that nature, but it bugs me when I spend so much of my time being aware and in tune with what to say and what not to say that he comes home and just acts like the awkward third wheel who's on a date with you and has absolutely no business being there.
I realize he's got work to deal with. And important things to remember other than that the kids don't need bread on their hamburgers.
But so do I.
And it's becoming unavoidably frustrating to have to mess with our somewhat perfect little system. Granted, it's definitely got its kinks. We're not always in sync, and there are times when we could all use a break from each other. But for the most part, it works.
The worst part is that the kids know this.
Now, I don't purposely promote any sort of "us against him" mentality in them. In fact, I spend a lot of energy trying to sing his praises and make sure that he's integrated back into our lives as seamlessly as possible. "It's hard for Daddy," I tell them. "He's away and so he's not used to how we do things," I remind them. Constantly.
But it's draining me. It's draining our relationship. And I honestly have no idea what to do.
Image via Kiwinz/Flickr