Half-time single parent

22 May

Michael has been travelling a lot, and his travel schedule is about to get busier.  Before the end of July, he’s planning to go to Ross River, Old Crow (again), Beaver Creek, and Trout Lake, NWT, for about a week each time.

I hate it when he goes out of town.

Michael being out of town means having to find the time to walk the dog — usually with kids in tow — for an hour every day.  (Except, of course, when there’s a small child on the walk, the usual distance one can cover in an hour is drastically reduced, which is no good for the dog.)  It means not eating balanced meals because it’s too much work to bother with cooking and too much to think about after having made special food for Jade and special food for Halia.  It means trying to get through the most challenging time of day — bedtime — either with a baby crying of exhaustion or a suddenly-emotionally-needy young child crying about being left alone for longer than five minutes.  It means facing the night’s wake-up calls alone and with little hope for a nap the next day.  And half the time it means having no car, which in Whitehorse is really not a good thing. 

I know there are things I could do to make life easier: batch-cooking Halia’s food, preparing Jade’s keto meals and snacks the evening before, making sure I wash the dishes so the kitchen doesn’t become a disaster, making a meal plan for myself, giving up on staying abreast of my online life.  I also know that at least weekdays I have support, with Amanda being there, which is certainly better than millions of single parents out there who do this gig full time with nary the prospect of a break.  And all this travel is good for our finances, of course. 

And, the truth is, I’m really very proud of Michael for being so sought-after; he is in demand because he does good work, and he’s genuinely interested, which allows him to build great relationships with his clients.

But I still hate the travel.  I’m torn between “I’m putting my foot down, this really doesn’t work for me, there’s gotta be another way” and “suck it up, sister, and stop being so whiny and so selfish”.

Michael doesn’t like to hear me complain about bemoan his schedule because he says it’s hard enough to be away without my saying things to make him feel guilty.  When he was in Old Crow, he chided me for Skyping to him “Wish you were here”. But I draw the line at pretending I don’t mind at all.

I guess I should at least be thankful that I’m on maternity leave.  Because, in my experience, the only thing more exhausting than being a single stay-at-home parent is being a single parent with an 8-hour-a-day job.  My hat goes off to all the single moms and dads out there.  Talk about everyday heroes.

(But I still hate it.)

8 Responses to “Half-time single parent”

  1. Kara May 22, 2009 at 10:03 pm #

    I hear you! Right now Matt is booked to work Faro until he takes his 4 month parental leave. But come fall when has to travel for work again, it is going to be hell. I am allowed to travel with him though and I think we will do just that.

    I am the laziest about cooking when Matt is gone. We eat like crap when he is away! Good thing we only have one crappy restaurant here in town, because if I was in WH we would be ordering in all the time if he was away!

  2. Gen May 23, 2009 at 6:32 am #

    I could’ve written that post almost word for word, Fawn!

    Before I decided to get married I warned my husband that I would NOT be tending to the kids alone at home while he did fieldwork somewhere for weeks on end. I just wouldn’t get married and have children if that was going to happen.
    We’ve been struggling to find a balance to our lives where HE can pursue his passion, I can pursue mine, and WE can have a decent family life. But we’re not there yet, either.

    It’s hard. I hear you, it’s damn hard.
    And we should have coffee sometime and bitch about it!

  3. Jenn May 23, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    Chris has been full time in Montreal since September, and we have what works for us. At this point I am looking forward to him coming back to us -hopefully in the near future. I do know however, that adjusting to him being home will hold just as many frustrations as adjusting to him leaving. We will cross that bridge when we get to it.

  4. Marian May 23, 2009 at 2:55 pm #

    Like father, like son. Jim was away a lot when the kids were little….and when they weren’t so little. It was tough, especially on weekends….and we couldn’t afford long distance phone calls, and there was no Internet (and I walked five miles uphill back and forth to school….not really!). I couldn’t wait to have an adult conversation….and hopefully eat out. All Jim wanted was a home cooked meal! It must be even more difficult with Jade’s diet.

    I do know now that it was worth it and it does get easier as the kids get older, but that’s not much help while you’re going through it.

    I hope the trip here isn’t too stressful….and we really can’t wait to see all of you.
    Love, Marian

  5. Jenny May 23, 2009 at 3:54 pm #

    How long is your maternity leave?
    I know most other countries have a lot longer than in USA. Here it’s all of 6 weeks, unpaid
    I quit work during my pregancy and have never gone back. My girlfriend HAD to go back when her baby was 6 weeks old and she said leaving him at the babysitter’s that first day was one of the hardest things she’d ever done. Cried all the way to work! Her kids are 12 adn 17 now. For many years she’d start her day at 5 a.m and it would be non stop until 9 pm or so when she could finally go home after work, baseball games, school events etc… It wore me out just visiting!

    • fawnahareo May 23, 2009 at 7:40 pm #

      We’re blessed to get a year of job protection with a good chunk of it eligible for employment insurance benefits. Some people still don’t think it’s adequate, but I can’t complain since my government job tops up my pay while on leave. Talk about spoiled.

  6. maleesha May 24, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    I hear you. THat has to be hard and a LOT of work. Hopefully the time will go be somewhat fast.

  7. Aida May 29, 2009 at 7:59 pm #

    you wrote it word for word. Frank travels a ton, its very unusual for him to be home for a month. he is gone every couple of weeks. i tend to eat the SAME freaking thing everyday, cook on a weekend and freeze it kind. the kids are fine with it for a bit, but by day 3, they want something else..lol

    i am glad we dont have take out cause if we do, like Kara, i would probably order in all the time!

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