Mark’s company is in the midst of a merger, and while we are fairly confident that this will mean only good things for our family, it’s still been awfully stressful lately in a totally bipolar way.
A couple weeks ago, we started feeling the pre-merger slump and Mark’s hours were cut. Which means that his paycheck was also cut. I know what you’re thinking. Wow, that must make your renewed dedication to a monthly budget pretty tough! You’re right. But that wasn’t the biggest irritation we faced.
The worst part about Mark not working was having my husband at home. I know that sounds awful. But the fact is that we’ve become accustomed to having our own space and alone time, and trying to coexist in our tiny house (while also worrying about the reduced paycheck) proved to be quite difficult. I tried to stop myself from snapping at Mark, and – bless his heart – he tried to stay out of my way. All the while, we both felt so frustrated knowing that we should appreciate this extra, unexpected time together!
We’d finally adjusted and calmed down when Mark’s company decided to send him out of town to work. For six days. Beginning just a few days after getting the call. He did have a choice, but he knew that the extra money from working out of town would go a long way toward evening out our budget. And it was just a week.
THEN, after managing a week of being apart, Mark called me last Friday with more bad news. They needed him to stay another week.
All I could say was, “I don’t understand.” Because seriously? TWO WEEKS away from home? No. That is NOT okay with this wife and mama!
Mark came up with an idea for surviving. (Not that our daily family phone calls weren’t great, but we needed some face time!) He asked me to put Annalyn – who was refusing to take a nap when he called – in the car and drive up to him. We could spend the weekend together, then make it through one more week apart.
He was asking me to spend 18 hours in the car over a 48-hour time period – with a three-year-old!!
I was so flustered after that phone call. I’d had grand plans for the rest of the day. Annalyn and I were going to make sure the house was picked up, and I was going to hustle to get all the clean laundry put away and the floors vacuumed. And I had a nice dinner planned, too. I don’t like it when my plans are changed!
But more than changed plans, I dislike being apart from my husband even more. So, I packed a bag full of snacks, books, Pull-Ups and movies, and we hit the road.
To Annalyn’s credit, she was really good for most of our weekend driving. Between watching the DVD player my parents gave her for Christmas and sleeping, she was a pretty quiet passenger. (For the most part. I’m not saying we didn’t have any moments, just not that many.)
And we had a great time together – “all the fam-uh-lee,” as Annalyn says.
But when we got ready to leave and drive home? I was so sad.
What happened? Aren’t I the same wife who was annoyed with her husband for simply taking up space on my our couch?! The one who yelled at him for having the nerve to want to use my our computer?!
I guess what they say is true: Absence does make the heart grow fonder. And sad. Because I couldn’t stop the tears that surprised me as we all hugged goodbye.
(The question is, of course: Was I crying because I didn’t want to leave Mark – or because I was facing a long road trip through the corn fields of Nebraska with a preschooler? I KID. Of course I was sad to leave my husband! Sheesh!)
Married folks, have you ever had to be apart from your spouse for a long time? How do you cope? And how do you help your kids cope?
Image by Marxchivist.
We spent a few months apart when I stayed behind to sell a house. My husband drove home some weekends (it was about an 8 hour drive each way, so not every week). The oldest was not quite a year old, so she didn’t understand most of the time, by the last trip she was upset to see him go, since she’d started to figure it out. I got into a good routine for the two of us, but we were so grateful to finally be finished with it when it was over and I got to move with the little one too.
An 8-hour drive is WAY too much distance! I’m glad you got to move on and live together! I’m sure you were relieved!!
Brave woman! Glad the car trip went so (relatively) well for you and you got to see Mark!
YES! We’re going through that right now! :-( My hubby is in Africa for 2 weeks — one week down, one to go. It’s just really hard on my boys because they miss being able to see him and talk to him on the phone. I’m running out of ideas to distract them. This morning they were both crying for Daddy :-(
The crying for daddy does me in every time!
My husband travels for work too. Once he was gone for 6 weeks, coming home only for 36 hours on the weekend. I went through the same thing, having to adjust to him being on my space and missing him tremendously when he left again. It’s a hard adjustment and can be tough on a marriage too.
Six weeks? That sounds AWFUL. Much as I appreciate people who can empathize, I also hate that anyone else has to deal with this issue (or worse/longer)!
I can completely relate to you! My husband’s company shut down the east coast office in December. His last day was during the summer, as he was going to be doing contract work with his own business. Mind you, we just got married May, 2009, and we have my two teenage children. He has been local, but as this contract is winding down, he is searching for a new contract. We have discussed the possibility that he may at some point take a position, if needed, out of state.
The kids and I will stay here for them to finish the school year. At first, he said we would do this until my daughter graduates next year, but I told him no. We go where he goes!! So, things are a little unsettled here, as well. Thankfully, we have made some good financial decisions and he had options, but the emotional turmoil is still there. Stay strong, and you will get through it.
On a lighter note, I could not help but feel bad for you at the image of traveling alone with a toddler. Then, I thought who am I kidding? What would I do traveling with two teenagers, with their brother / sister rivalry….. wanna trade? ;)
Trade? Um, no, probably not. :) I think toddlers and teenagers seem to be about equal in the pain-in-the-neck department.
Eek! You have more courage than I do – I can’t even fathom spending that long in the car with my daughter (who love to bits, but still).
If I’d had more time to think about it, I might have said no. But it was totally last-minute, so we just did it! (And thanks to the DVD player and strategically timed naps/bedtimes, it worked out really well.)