Friday, November 20, 2009

My Insane Sanity - Traveling Spouse

I or My partner travels all.the.time.
It is hard/good on our relationship because...

Hi, My name is Jules and my husband is gone all the time.

(say it with me) "hi, Jules".

Let me start by saying that my spouse is rarely further than 30-45 minutes from our house while he is traveling, and most nights he is home. That said. He i
s rarely home from the end of February until the end of November. I spend those months acting more like a single parent then not.

Now again - let me step back - as I know my hubby will be reading this too. Let me state, he is gone because he is working. He is not out with the guys. He is not 'doing his own thing, he is working. (well except in November for hunting season) He works a full time job (teaching) and then goes from work to do more work. He is busy running our business selling/ installing / removing/ repairing docks and boat lifts. He works therefore he is gone.

Alright - all bases covered? - moving on.

The question is - is it hard or good on our relationship.


(yes, I am delaying here. Stalling if you will)

insert pic from here
more stall time.

What to say? It is hard on our relationship in ways. But it is necessary. It is a lot less trying on our relationship then not being able to pay our bills would be. It is less difficult then issues other couples face in their relationships.
But, it is hard none the less, and although I like my space, and hate to feel like my every move is being watched and analyzed, there is a limit to the amount of time I want to be alone.

::The hardest part of it for my husband (I believe) is that when he is home he can not relax. The little bit of time he is here he notices what is not getting done around the house that needs doing. Like now - winterizing the summer equipment and getting the winter stuff out and ready is a task being neglected. So there is no down time. If there is down time it is done with frustration - frustration in wanting to just relax, yet not fully relaxing because all the stuff that needs to be done is on his mind. This makes it hard for him to be home.

::For me the hardest part is - well - being alone all the time. It is hard being the parent around, when
the other isn't. A lot of our parenting decisions have to be made with him on the phone - when I can reach him. (That is the other part. I can't reach him most of the day because he is in class. At night he doesn't have his phone on him because he is in a lake) The 1/2 hour we see him in the morning and the hour I see him at night ends up being a debriefing and briefing of the day and next day. Not much quality time in that.

::Then there is another problem. When he is finally around - say for a weekend or even a night. Or now, as the dock season is finishing and hunting is ending. I find his presence larger then it really is. He doesn't quite fit in the groove of what we are doing. He is unsure of the situation and what has been discussed before. He is unclear on why I lost it at that li
ttle issue, because he doesn't know it is a part of a whole big issue we have been dealing with. He has no idea what goes into getting them ready for school the next day or out the door in the morning. When he first starts being in the house more I find myself jumping when he walks around the corner - or that he is in the way in the kitchen. There is an adjustment period. A period where I am maybe even a little cold toward him. I try not to be (honey, I am sorry for this part of the process).

::Yet, it all goes back to money. I am blessed to be able to stay home with our children. He works and then works some more and then takes on another summer job (at a juvenile detention center as a teacher) so I can do this, for me, for our kids. (were those commas misplace?) So, when we get our $1112 house insurance bill or our $950 house tax bill in the mail it does not send us into a tizzy. When these
bills land in the mailbox at the same time as the tabs and insurance for the vehicles it does not send us begging to our parents - it comes out of the business account. When we can't take it anymore and we have to get out of dodge for a vacation we can. We use the extra cash from installing docks and we drive for a week or so. It affords us our cell phones and our internet. It pays the extras that we can't afford otherwise, and some of the necessities. So, while work = him being gone, it also = us being able to live.

::I used to cry when he would be gone a long time or when he was leaving. I would throw a fit at the fact that I was home sla
ving away and he was off driving around from lake to lake or at work chatting with adults and so forth. But, I came to realize that we both are sacrificing for our family - that is what parent's do. That is what we do. That is how it works around here. Now I walk him to his truck, kiss him, tell him I love him, and that I appreciate what he is doing for our family, and try to send him away on a good note. Because I have come to realize that he is making the ultimate sacrifice for us - his family. He is not having fun being away, he is not enjoying himself. He is working.

::However, if and when he retires he may die an early death at my hands ....
after all I have gotten used to him being gone (
Start thinking of a hobby now dear). It has become part of my insane sanity now ;)

You can read more of Jules' wit, wisdom, and incoherent babble here:
Just Jules

p.s. I just read Sage's perspective after my final proof read.
I want to state I wrote this whole post before reading his.
I say that because they echo each other a lot.
Scary.... be very very scared... I am

(p.s.s. I am not Sage's wife in disguise - promise - I can't be because I don't know how to talk Redneck, I have never eaten anything 'collard', I have never traveled further South than Iowa, I don't like biscuits nor do I know how to make them, I have all my teeth, and none of my relatives are married to each other.)


Just Jules said...

This post was written on my second day of passing kidney stones while on Vicodin.... I pray it makes ANY kind of sense!!!

Anonymous said...

you are definately out for ole lady-dom! you can't whop up a cathead you are outta here!!!

Yup thats about how I see it. I think that is a pretty universal take on traveling spouse.

People like him, and me don't retire. We die working on something so don't sweat having to poison his grits, or whatever it is you yankee people eat.

Margaret said...

I know what you are saying. My life is the same way. I am married to a truck driver who is never home.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Okay I'm glad this all works for you, but I'm left to say that I think it is sad that you have to "sacrifice". You shouldn't have to sacrifice all the time do you?

But like you said, it works for you and it is a style of living that you have become accustomed to.

But I have just been thinking about all the stuff we do and what I feel is a sacrifice and I'm thinking... why not adjust so that there is an even amount of sacrifice and well...not sacrificing???

Or maybe it is just our attitude on it?

I know for one, that i hate working and being away from my kids more than I want to be. I use to complain all.the.time.

Then one day I decided I was sick of complaining. I was sick of hating it and being depressed about it. SO I decided to look at the good like you did in your post.

The things we are able to accomplish and the life we are allowed to live and the things that do make me happy. Like my kids cuddling with me when I get home... and the down time we get to talk about their day.

I still hate that I have to work right now, but I've found my happiness even there. It makes life a lot smoother to work through... and it helps because I just can't be depressed for long bouts of makes me sick.

Great post Jules! LOL@your P.s. about sage and your p.s.s. "I have all my teeth and non of my relative are married to each other" hehehehe)

Anonymous said...

I totally get the "adjustment" part from having to act like a single parent off and on. That's my life.

We really try to be consistent with the kids. If there is any major issue or decision to be made, we always discuss how to handle it together. That way we present a united front to our kids, and we both take part in the way they are raised.

I also get the challenge with the downtime --- sounds like my husband to a T! We have gotten better at taking some R&R time together, both planned and impromptu. It's especially fun when we can both carve out some time when the kids are at school!

Anonymous said...

For the record, I too have a full set of teeth, and none of my relatives are married to each other either. :-)

Just Jules said...

HAHA Mt. Girl... good to know on teeth and relatives. noted. Thank you for your input.

Shelle- obviously the busy season is ending and I am forgetting the insanity- the true overwhelmed feeling I have in the heart of it all. But, yes, it is hard in the thick of it. I do feel like "my time" and "our time" suffers. We continue to work on that. However, I know working parents who suffer from this because they are both working it is hard for them to be away from home any more then they are when they are working - so they too sacrifice couple time too...

Margaret - thanks for your comment. A truck driver's wife knows better than I.

Sage - damn, I am out of the running for your second wife cuz I am not sure what a cathead is much less how to whop one??? Grit- that is what comes into the house from the bottom of the shoes. You eat that? ewwwww

ZenMom said...

We had a choice a few years ago - The ZenHusband could take a regional sales job and make oodles of money and never be home. OR he could start his own local business, make less money, and be a part-time SAHD.

For us, it was the right choice. And we are really glad we made it. I think we'd have both hated the other option.

Just Jules said...

I totally agree - to me as the wife doing with less is surely favorable over him being gone.

Chief said...

Duke travels all the time too. Sometimes they are scheduled and sometimes they are spur of the moment. I have gotten so used to it that it doesn't bother me unless we had something important planned and it is unexpected. 1 or 2 nights at a time is ok, but of course I don't know it any other way. It's been like this for 16 years.

Chief said...

Im such a good all only have to yell at me once and i fullfill all my assignments


Anonymous said...

I knew you didn't know grist.
or Catheads
or collard greens. No wonder y'all are so poorly looking! Feed them folks!

If its like a second cousin is that ok?

Anonymous said...

Ole Sag-a-licious teaches class here for free.

Just Jules said...

Chief - i kinda wonder if you would kill duke if he were around more... maybe huh?

Sage - will have to look at that recipe when I feel a bit less nauseated. Rice and veggies and meat... is that making me look "poorly" so therefore cathead adn biscuits and colored/collard greens will put a little meat on my bones? Thank you - but I may just skip it all together.

Just Jules said...

cathead biscuits .... read the recipe. Has nothing to do with catfish... phew! Alright - still. flour and moisture = paste up North - how do you all get it to make food? must be the increased heat and humidity

Chantol said...

Wow, you are super mom/wife! I would be exhausted. You seem like you handle it all well.

Stacey said...

I feel ya Jules! My hubby is gone in November for at least three weeks... Not as long as yours, but since we work together 24/7, when he is gone, I really feel it! Thanks for sharing and reminding me that it is a choice we made and now we simply make the best of it!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

When I first got married, WonderWife™ was working insane hours that had her up and out of the house at 3am and back in the afternoon. By the time I got home from work, she was in bed. She'd sometimes get up for an hour to hang with me while I ate dinner.

Looking back, I'm not sure how we managed that time. But we did.

I'm glad to hear that despite how difficult it is for you guys, you are too.

Just Jules said...

Although it would be easier to have him around and the children would benefit it is what we have to do right now.

Things will change a lot for as next year as our youngest goes to school. I will have to grow up and head back out into the world to make a contribution. sigh....

I guess I am not Peter Pan - I too have to grow up (again).

It will be interesting to see how things change.

Nova said...

Wow, you certainly both sacrifice a lot for your family.
I think if you didn't feel a little awkward at first when he is around then it would say that his presence is not felt/appreciated. I'd see it as a positive.

Just Jules said...

Plus, Nova, it means I am not used to a guy being around when he is gone. He should take that as a good thing.

April said...

While I'm certainly not taking anything away from how amazing you are and I can certainly appreciate that your situation works for you, I could never do it.

I actually had a guy ask me to marry him who I had to turn down because he was an umpire for baseball and would be traveling for too many months out of the year. What if we had children together? I could not and would not be a single mom while being married. I was already a single mom to Ethan, which was fine and I made it work for us. But I certainly wasn't going to be one while married.

I've known several people who were not right in the head because their parents were married but the dad was never around b/c of work. They resented their dads and their moms because the mom wasn't happy being alone all the time. Now, I'm NOT saying this is the end all be all case for everyone. Shit, for all I know, it's the exception. I'm just saying that it's certainly possible.

You're a much better/stronger woman than I am because I could never do it. Maybe I'm selfish or needy or whatever, but I need to have that physical connection for more than an hour and a half a day. I need my relationship to be more than just part time. It's important to me for my kids to know and be around both parents a lot. Granted, I only have one child and his biological father is dead, and the man he calls dad he only gets to see every other weekend and spends the summers with.

But I know that when I have another child after Joe and I get married, that child will know his father just as well as he knows me. Seeing daddy won't be a treat, it will be a daily routine. Because after being a single mom, I know what I want for the next child. And I don't want to be like a single mom while married.

Again, this is NOT an attack against you and how your family operates. I am truly happy that it works for you and I truly believe that you are a stronger woman for doing what you do. It's just not for me.