Sunday, February 20, 2011

Single Parenting

Chris is in Houston for 12 days. We have 6 more days to go.

I won't lie. Its been tough. I hate when he has to go away and this is the longest he has had to go in as long as I can remember. The boys are at an age now where they really miss their Daddy when he is gone and as much as I love being able to sleep diagonally across our bed, I miss the warm, solid, comforting body of my husband lying next to me more.

Plus this has been a trying week with me being sick - first with a vicious flu and now with a nasty head cold.

Being a single parent is not something that I enjoy. At all.

When Chris and I were dating, we lived an hour apart. I was in college an hour away from the city he lived and worked in. Three years of our relationship as a couple was spent over the phone Monday to Friday and at either our parents' houses on the weekend or in Edmonton where he lived. We got really good at communicating verbally but I couldn't wait for the day that we could be married and share a home.

When we got married, the first few months of adjusting to living with someone else was tough, but spending every evening and weekend together was so worth it.

Shortly after we both graduated from our programs, Chris got a well paying job in the field he had gone to school for. Unfortunately, this job required him to be away quite a bit. I was working full time before I became pregant so it wasn't as lonely as I thought. Until I was pregnant and feeling rotten all the time and then I was an exhausted new mom.

Chris did this job for a few years, right up until Luca was a year old. It was really tough. The majority of Luca's first year dealing with sleep deprivation, teething, illness, and big milestones was "enjoyed" by me alone. It was really difficult being the one at home to have to shoulder the difficulties of life with a baby all by myself. But it was equally as hard for Chris to have to miss out on the first time Luca crawled, his first steps, and his first words.

We didn't choose to get married and have children so we could live apart and he could be a Daddy a few days out of the month. It was tough on everyone.

When the opportunity came up for Chris to take an office position within his company, we had many serious conversations about it. It would mean moving 2 hours away - to a place where we didn't really know anyone and had no connections. There were tears on my part because I was scared to leave the town I knew, the family and friends that were nearby and our first home.

And taking the job would mean a pay cut. Gone would be the overtime, the "bonus" pay for working away, etc. Being at the peak time for the housing market in Alberta, it would also mean leaving our relatively low mortgage and taking on a much larger one.

It was a decision that we didn't take lightly.

But what ultimately won out was that Chris would be home every night at dinner time and every weekend. We would be a married couple living together and a Daddy that got to tuck his son into bed every night. That was worth every penny lost in pay to us.

With this office job comes some travel, but it is usually just Monday to Friday one week out of every few months. Its not ideal, but we can handle that.

Just like the choice we made for me to be at home with our children during these precious young years, it was equally as important that Chris be home during these years as well.

When Levi was born, Chris didn't have to miss out on his big milestones. In fact, I'm fairly certain that it was Chris that got Levi to crawl for the first time.

This is the life that we wanted for our family.

I am missing Chris so much this trip. And I'm getting tired of people saying to me "you should try being a single parent all the time" or "you should try doing it every other week".

No thank you.

I didn't choose to be a part time single parent, part time partner. We made sacrifices so that we didn't have to live that life.

I realize that for some, this isn't an option. Some people have to deal with working away for whatever reason. We had to do it too for a few years. But, when there was an opportunity for us to live as a full time family, we took it.

One thing that Chris and I firmly believe is that our family comes first. Any major decision is always weighed against what would be best for our family.

And what is best for our family is that our boys have their Daddy home every night. When Chris walks in the door at 6 o'clock, the boys are as excited to see him as if he'd just been gone for days. We share a family dinner together at the table every night, even though it means that I deal with hungry, crabby kids from 5-6 until Daddy gets home. Its important to us, so we make it work.

After supper, Chris bathes the boys and gets them jammied and reads them stories, then we both tuck them into bed. Then we spend the evening together, the two of us, husband and wife - talking, watching tv, whatever.

This is our routine. This is our family. This is our life. I wouldn't change it for anything.

So, for those of you that have challenged me to "do it all the time", sorry but I won't be taking that challenge. I don't want to and we have made the choice to not have to.

The boys miss their Daddy so much and I miss my husband, my partner. Friday night can't come soon enough.


Briana said...

I agree soooo much! I'm tired of being a part time partner, and I definitely don't want to be a single parent most of the time either! I just hope Joel can agree by the time we have kids! I hate him being gone all the time sooooooo much! Good to know I'm not the only one who thinks it sucks!

The Tompkins Family said...

I completely agree with everything you've written. Family is my #1 priority. I didn't sign on to do this alone and thankfully, I don't have to (and hopefully that never changes). I absolutely love that you have a partner as fantastic as Chris. You 2 provide such a warm, loving and stable life for your precious boys.'re almost there!

Karyn said...

Love you Janni!

I love that you and Chris have made hard choices and sacrifices for that which is most important. It shows in your boys and in your relationship with each other.

I'm glad you only have to be apart every once in awhile and not on a regular 'rotation'. I'm glad you miss your husband so much - and, I'm sure he misses you, too.

This is good.

Hang in there, glad that he is such a big part of your lives that he leaves a big hole.

CanadianMama said...

I really admire single parents because whenever M is gone I realize how hard it is. But, I agree with you, I didn't sign on to be a single parent 100% of the time.

No one should ever be made to feel guilty when they vent over something that is hard for them. Especially when your husband is gone for two weeks, you are sick, your kids are sick and your mom is too sick to help. In that case? You can totally compalin ALL THE TIME!!

Hope you are feeling better soon :) And yay, our husbands are home tomorrow!!

Vinjelu and Kathryn Muyaba said...

Jan our family falls apart without vinj... totally! I cannot do it alone by any means! With vinj and I when I was prego with seth it was bad at his job too! so so bad, I hated it, and said we would NEVER DO IT AGAIN!
Vinj baths his kids every night, reads stories, etc, and then to bed. Love it. Our lives are busy in a different way, but he is home every night with the kids.

I agree with you 100%!