My husband travels frequently for his work. Some months he is gone a total of a few days, some months he is traveling for a total of weeks. The girls and I are used to this. It has been YEARS of this schedule and they literally do not know any different. When he is in town, his hours are not 9 to 5. He typically leaves around 7:30 am and gets home around 7 pm. Some evenings a bit later.
I go to parent conferences alone, pediatrician appointments alone, do bath time alone, dinner time alone, hell E2 had her adenoid removal surgery when my husband was traveling. I go to their activities alone. I go to open house alone. I go on play dates alone. I hire babysitters for girls' night out and for board meetings. This routine is not unusual for us and at this point, we do not think twice about eating dinner just us three. E2 sees the hubs on the weekends mainly and E1 sees him for a few minutes at night and in the morning when he drives her to school (when he is in town).
Side note: The hubs does not miss the "super important" stuff like preschool graduations, recitals, a parent meeting that would require both our presence, Doughnuts with Dad, or anything else we together, deem "two parent necessary."
Marriage is a compromise. My husband works damn hard and I get to stay home. I agreed to this. He works hard so I don't have to have a 9 to 5 job. He works damn hard so the girls can participate in activities. He works damn hard so we can live in this house. He works damn hard so we can vacation. He works damn hard so that day in and day out the girls and I can have an awesome life. When he is in town we have date night and we vacation as a family each year. We also try to make the most of our weekends. The four of us are together when it is possible. When it is not, the girls and I are a perfect trio.
People always ask me how I do it? Do what? Parent? Be a mom? I don't know. Perhaps I am a Nike commercial, Just Do It. This is all we know. This is all I know. I am not resentful. I am not mad. Do I miss him when he is not here? Honestly, sometimes. I do not mind having the DVR to myself. I do not mind having a snore-less sleep. And sometimes I miss his conversation, his jokes, and simply his presence. Some evenings are lonely, other evenings the peace and quiet are phenomenal.
"So How do you do it?"
I can tell you how I do it......I wake up every morning, get out of bed, drink a shit ton of coffee and experience being a mom because my husband is at work. I saw and heard every first step, first laugh, first smile, first word, first spin at ballet, first hit of the tennis ball, first somersault, first walk across the balance beam, first bike ride without training wheels, first word read, first of everything for both girls. I have not missed a single first. While at work, my husband gets pictures of three smiling faces. While at work, my husband gets texts and videos showing him all their accomplishments. I fill him in on what wonderful things the teachers said about our girls. He misses so much, so I don't have to.
Sure he also misses tantrums, potty training, bad days, and all the pull your hair out moments. But this comes at a cost. When the girls are hurt, upset, sad, mad, etc not only can I read them and know it is going to happen, but I can diffuse the situations much quicker. I offer a familiar comfort. I know them better.
I do it because I love being a stay at home mom. I do not get mad about it because it breaks my heart to think of what he feels each and every time he misses something. It breaks my heart to think of all the things he has been told about vs witnessing first hand. He is a great daddy and he only gets to shine on the weekends. That is a world I do not want to know. I do not want to be the parent the girls fight over to sit next to because they have not seen me all week. I do not want to be the parent that the girls get excited for because I am not home all the time. I love being the constant.
Please do not mistake his absence as bad parenting or neglect. He is a GREAT father. He has patience, love, understanding, and a twinkle in his eye when he spends time with the girls. He is their awesome daddy.
I do not need sympathy or even a high five for doing what I do. I chose this marriage. I chose this life. On top of that, I love my girls and after 14 years of marriage you can be damn sure I really love my husband.
And by myself I end this post to make dinner, run baths, and read bed time stories because yes, he is out of town.