Recently my husband and I were discussing with a friend the different travel requirements of my husband’s job.
Briefly, my husband works for a major auto company (think 2 letters…but not the one going bankrupt) as a liason between their corporate credit division and all the dealerships in SE Texas. He spends a lot of time traveling his district (SE Texas is big, y’all), meeting face-to-face with people, keeping everything on track and helping to grow his company’s business. He’s also flown regularly to vast and varied areas of the country to meet with company execs and other district managers.
He’s gone about 50% of the time.
Our friend said something to the effect of, “Wow, it must really mess up your family’s schedule to have you coming and going like that.”
To which I responded that my husband isn’t very often part of our schedule.
Doesn’t that sound awful? But it’s true. The kids and I do our thing – I keep our world rotating, do what needs to be done, and when my husband can slide into our orbit, he does. We’re usually pretty unfazed by the coming and going at this point.
Part of me is bothered with my complacency. But a larger part understands that this is how I “handle” it – I can’t be lost and alone every time he’s gone, because he’s gone a lot. And sometimes without much warning. And sometimes for much longer than he intends to be. Our lifestyle demands total flexibility on my part, and almost total independence.
I said we were unfazed, and this – at least for me – isn’t entirely true. If I’m being honest, I’ll say that sometimes it’s hard for me to figure out our roles when he’s home. I know that when he’s gone, everything is up to me. But when he’s home, what’s “my” job? What’s “his” job? It’s a challenge to always communicate our expectations to each other when he is home, because the distribution of responsibilities is a bit out of whack. That does lead to misunderstanding at times.
There is also the added challenge that when he’s home, he’s HOME – meaning, he works out of our house. There’s a whoooooole other kind of lifestyle attached to that – like how he’s here, but unavailable, which is confusing to the kids and sometimes frustrating to me – but I won’t go there right now.
I look at how our lifestyle has evolved to this point, and I’m not sure it’s something I would prefer over, say, a husband who works 9-5 and is home for every dinner. But in these times, with this economy, and with our family’s needs, I’m grateful he has a good job and that we are provided for. I just know that this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, even if it has to be for me right now.