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May
7
2013

When the Cat’s Away

in Parenting

Photo by MaxMilli0n on www.sxc.hu

Photo by MaxMilli0n on www.sxc.hu

This weekend I headed to a writer’s conference in Dallas the same day my husband boarded a plane for the Philippines. This is first trip in a series of several that leaves me with a renewed respect for single moms. The balancing act of school, work, housework, homework, and kid drama becomes all the more difficult without someone to share the insanity with. But I also know that I can’t fit into his carry-on bag no matter how much yoga I do or weight I lose, so I had to figure out how to make it work.

The 12-hour time difference doesn’t help with the communication efforts, so email has become our go-to form of staying connected. And unlike the verbal diarrhea my husband is generally met with when he comes through the door at night, with email I can edit my emotions before hitting send. Instead of him hearing something like, “six times! I’m telling you I had to tell YOUR child to clean his room six times before he ever heard me! And the cat pooped two inches from the litter box AGAIN. And did I mention that the stupid rabbit ate the strawberries from the garden? This afternoon has been insane!”… he instead gets an email that says, “Meh, it’s been ok. You know, the usual drama.”

Come to think of it, that may be another reason he likes traveling.

And honestly, I’ve kinda gotten used to it too. I’ve learned a rhythm to make my family function when he’s gone. Dinners are generally simpler and less scheduled. Rather than returning to the living room for conversation and downtime, I spend the kids’ bedtime sitting outside their doors with my laptop in hand writing. I get extra work done and still get to sleep earlier. I’ve learned that if I stay busy enough, I don’t recognize the empty spot in my bed as much.

It hasn’t always been like this. A few years ago something major seemed to happen every time my husband traveled. We either got a massive stomach bug, someone had an ER visit, or something broke at the house. It was inevitably something. Every adventure for him seemed to be a test for me. I’m not sure if I passed the test or if it became obvious that I couldn’t take the pressure, but my spouse’s absence is no longer the foreshadowing of doom.

What about you? Do you have a traveling spouse? How does your family adjust?

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