He used to work even more than now, but he's still gone quite often.
He doesn't travel out of town, but he does leave early for work most days and rarely makes it home in time for dinner, bed, and bath. He used to have to go to work on weekends from time to time or be on the phone quite a bit even if he was here physically.
It's something that has been difficult in the past for me to accept.
I used to cry while serving dinner because I felt so profoundly disappointed that he wasn't here. I resented it being challenging for me to plan anything due to his schedule. I thought I was being punished every night at bedtime as I tried to put one, then two, then three little kids to bed by myself.
You know what made it all worse?
Other people's pity or outrage over my husband's work.
I can't tell you the number of comments I have received from other moms about how they would never "allow" their husbands to work that much. Or they didn't understand how I could handle his absence. Or the questions about my assumed rage over the entire situation.
Don't get me wrong, I also have had a lot of friends over the years who simply said, "it's hard to have a husband who is gone a lot, do you need anything?"
Bless those people.
You know what honestly made it all worse?
Me. I'm not innocent in fueling some of those comments with my venting or straight up complaining.
As we all know, staying home with young kids can be lonely, physically and emotionally draining, and thankless. There is very little allure in the areas of financial reward or immediate personal satisfaction.
I struggled. I still struggle, just not as often.
Remember when I wrote this a long time ago about seeing him go off to work?
I still feel that pang of jealousy from time to time.
I also used to fill that martyr role really well. Remember this martyr post?
I'm sure I still have my martyr moments, just thankfully not as often.
But honestly, as I am about to have my fourth child and I have gotten a lot of questions about how much Alex works and how I'm going to survive from friends over the last 8 months...I feel absolutely zero negative emotions about my husband's schedule.
Do I prefer him to be home than at work?
Of course, but here's the thing...my husband is amazing and I wouldn't have him do his job any differently.
He has a powerful work ethic. Maybe it's partly his first generation American thing, maybe it's the awesome job his parents did raising him, or maybe it's just him, but he takes his job to provide and to do his best very seriously.
I am grateful for that.
I'm also grateful that I don't struggle with getting my husband off the couch, working a lot seems to be the preferred tendency to me.
I used to have this perception that if he worked a lot then our children were surely going to be psychologically damaged and in need of therapy to know how to love.
They may in fact have those challenges....but it won't be because of Alex.
I assume it will be due to technology because that feels like a good thing to blame for issues these days.
Whenever I feel a pang of frustration at his schedule, I remember conversations with my friend Kathryn, who also has a husband who works a lot. She's always had the right attitude about it. She's always known what it took me years to figure out....my kids are being raised in a wonderful family by two wonderful parents.
My kids have a father that gives them a powerful example of working hard, who also takes them camping and to church. A Dad that spends hours building pinewood derby cars with them or letting his daughter paint his toenails. He explains football and supply and demand. He reads Harry Potter and Fancy Nancy whenever he can. He has spent countless hours hustling from important meeting at work to important Christmas program back to important meeting so that his kids can see his pride in them for their 5 minute performance.
My kids also have one whole parent who is ALWAYS around. They never have to suck it up when they don't feel well because no one can stay home with them. They never miss participating in something because of their parents work schedules or financial limitations. They know that every bit of what they have is because both of their parents work hard.
They are never without clothes or shelter or the little things like....food.
My kids live a luxurious life. A safe, loved life.
And so do I.
Every family has to figure out what works for them, what their goals are, what their kids need.
There is no joy in comparing....whether to feel envy or to criticize.
I am so grateful to be done (mostly...I'm still HUMAN people!) with worrying about my inconveniences because I have a husband who works hard. We come first and we always will....besides, I can't imagine how else I would want it all to be.
Other previous posts you might like along these lines are here and here and here.