Just like a lot of Mum’s out there, I am the primary caregiver for my kids. My husband’s career requires him to travel frequently and be away from home for long-periods of time, which means parenting has pretty much been a full-time job for me. My boys were little when he started his first ‘on-the-road’ job, I think the youngest was less than 3 months old, and the oldest just nineteen months. I can remember standing on the doorstep holding a screaming baby and a toddler at my ankles sobbing my heart out because I was terrified I wasn’t going to cope without him.
But this is the thing. I did cope without him, because I had to. We didn’t have any family support then and we don’t have any now. The two of us have adapted to family life in our own way. The kids have grown up with me around nearly every single day of their lives and have looked forward to having Dad back at the weekends. They have their Nanna who comes for quick visits to get her ‘grandchildren’ fix, but during the baby years when times were tough – we just didn’t have any help.
My husband felt awful of course, leaving me there crying on the doorstep and would come back from his trips riddled with guilt, trying to do his best to help when he got back. He was often exhausted from his trips and I was shattered from the sleep-deprivation and the absence of help. My parents in England would regularly talk to me on Skype but felt so helpless. It was a bloody hard slog.
However, things have got easier and now the kids are at school I can thank my lucky stars I don’t have to go through it all again! The boys have adapted to having me solo-parent them during the week, and my husband has been noticing I am not totally drained on a Friday night. Now, I have the energy to share parenting on the weekend – instead of feeling a desperation to get out and run away somewhere!
Over the last few years, with his frequent travel, I have always been envious that my husband has experienced something that I never have. Missing the kids. I have spent so much time with them since they were born, I can honestly say I have no idea what it feels like to miss them. In fact, I have never been away from them for more than one night! This isn’t because I haven’t wanted to. I have desperately wanted to get away, but many of my friends have been in the same boat. A lot of us are ‘immigrants’ and so don’t have family support – we don’t have girls weekends and we definitely don’t have ‘long weekends’ or ‘mini-breaks’ with our partners.
Well…now it’s my time and I am doing it in a big way. I’m going to Australia and onto the UK for 3 weeks on my own! My husband suggested I go on an overseas trip this year and he would try working from home part-time and juggling the kids. I love him for this. He knows how much I miss my family in the UK and he knows how much I deserve a break from parenting the kids. I’m going to miss him enormously and look forward to one day having him to myself in an exotic location – but in the meantime this is the next best thing! I am going to have a ball and finally going to discover what it is like to miss my kids!