My guy travels. A lot. He is often in another country and sometimes on a different continent. This is part of who we are as a family; it has been this way for years. But that doesn’t mean that we are experts at living a separated life.
When my guy is gone I don’t function at my best. Details go unnoticed and balls get dropped. It must be frustrating for him to come home and find that a bill was misplaced, a bulb or two is out and the computer is doing this weird backing up files thing. But the kids are fed and heard and loved well, so apparently he trusts me with them and we do this all over again.
Women often ask me how we do this life apart, and I tell them we don’t do it well. We aren’t supposed to. There was a time when I took over all aspects of our family and home, and we lived as though it didn’t matter if Dad was there or not. The kids forgot to ask where he was and when he would be home, and we hardly talked about his work at all. Honestly, it was harder to have him come home and mix in with us than it was to just have him be gone, because rules had changed and there was explaining to be done and who was he to have an opinion?
That was not success in any way for our family. It was unfair to the kids to have one parent try to be everything for them, it was unfair to put that pressure on me, and it was unfair to my guy to cut him out of the important things in life. We were not meant to do life alone, so we had to stop trying.
These days each child has their own relationship with their Dad, and I’m often surprised to learn something from him about one of the kids while he is away. It shows that they want him to be a part of their worlds, and he is asking the right questions. I have stopped trying to get it all done, and rest in the knowledge that my Superman will be home soon to make the world right again. In the meantime a ball or two gets dropped and the computer continues to back up files.
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18
It is only normal that the second in command tries to keep the ship afloat and on course during the absence of the captain. The mistake comes in the efforts of the XO to take the place of the Captain, to assume responsibilities that are not for them to assume. That is why I used the word “normal” above. In typing this reply my semantic reflex was to go for the word “natural.” “It is only natural…” I immediately saw that mistake. Like your mistake, it ISN’T NATURAL. It was not natural for you to assume the authority of and the concomitant responsibilities that belonged to your husband in certain areas. You each have a God-designed purpose and your were getting off of your purpose and into his which was leaving you and the family anxious in his presence and was, I suspect, creating friction between the two of you. In places you were not helping, which is your directed purpose among others, but inadvertently usurping his authority and robbing him of his role while placing yourself in an unnatural relationship with your husband and children. It was confusing to the two of you as well as your children. I’m happy for you that you got that situation corrected and things now run more smoothly in the natural way.
Even though my guy is the leader of our household, we work more as a team than a military operation. Many decisions must be made in his absence and if our children thought that I had less authority over them, chaos would ensue! I agree that what we were doing before was against the natural order of things, but this is a different lifestyle that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to completely follow traditional roles. Thanks for reading!
I didn’t mean to infer you need a more rigid structure as to your roles in the marriage. I was wanting to point out that there are natural roles that are best suited to a particular gender and it can be anxiety producing for the other to have to assume them, even when necessary. Most wives prefer for the husband to be the disciplinarian if practical while they are the nurturers. Both can step into either role when necessary, but often aren’t comfortable doing so.
Whew! Good. I thought I had offended you for a moment. Working again on Part 3 today of the Duty series. Hope to post tomorrow.
My husband doesn’t travel, but for years now, the lack of structure in his schedule has kept life from being balanced. During those years, I also did everything and shockingly *gasp* my family suffered.
As we adjust to this new routine, I’m learning to release unhealthy roles I’d adopted and the result is a more peaceful mama, enjoying her children. I’m finding that when my anger flares, it’s an indicator that I’ve picked up an unhealthy role again.
This post is timely as today is our first official day of summer and I needed to be reminded that my job description never was meant to contain ‘everything to everyone.’
I completely agree – I’m finding that when my anger flares, it’s an indicator that I’ve picked up an unhealthy role again. I had years of bubbling frustration/anger just waiting under the surface. Nice to let that go!
@Marcy- “I needed to be reminded that my job description never was meant to contain ‘everything to everyone.'” This is so true for almost all women, especially the wife/mother combo ones. Some of it seems to stem from how men and women will prioritize differently as to what is most important and then as to just when to act on that priority. “I thought “we” (she) decided “you” (him) were going to…,” How come you haven’t started that yet? Never mind. I’ll just do it myself! He may be guilty of not acting on the agreement but you added it to your own plate. Sometimes the “misunderstanding” lies in the art of the deal making. You THINK he agreed to something when he did not. “You know we really should do…”, says she. “yeah, we should,” says he. That WAS NOT his agreeing to do it. That was him agreeing something needed doing, but passive aggressively avoiding agreeing to what was perceived as a thinly-veiled demand that he do it and do it now. Now not only can you argue about IT needing doing, but whether or not he agreed to do it. Can you say “friction”?