A Mom Blog Social Network
Like many modern families, my husband and I have found ourselves in the crazy world of long-distance parenting and weekly separations due to work. Though not ideal and certainly not our long-term plan, I have learned many surprising things after the past few weeks. While I still hate the empty space beside me in bed, I’ve had a couple, “Damn, girl!” moments that I’ve translated into three key lessons to share:
Think Like A Woman, Not A Wife. We’ve been through these long-distance workweeks before and I remember spending the entire week pissed off that my husband was not only not having to change diapers, care for a little person’s needs 24/7, get up in the middle of the night or knock out any household chores, but he was sleeping BY HIMSELF in a hotel and eating out. It was almost adding insult to injury when he’d call at the end of his day because I was a raging, exhausted bitch that definitely didn’t want to hear about his “hard day.” To help me avoid this negativity when doing long-distance this time around, I started to think of myself as a woman doing her thing, versus a wife missing her husband. As soon as I shifted my focus, it all became less about what my husband was NOT doing, and more about everything that I WAS/AM doing. I have more pride and definitely worry far less about dumb stuff—like my invisible scorecard that I used to maintain so I could be sure to tell my husband how much I had done as my passive-aggressive way of making him feel guilty for not helping more. (I know you are nodding right now… just throw that card out, sister!)
Time Together Is Truly Together. When my husband comes home on the weekends, I truly feel like our family is enjoying its own personal holiday. Everyone’s mood is lighter, we forget about our phones, and we actually make plans to do things in those 48 hours. I’m not talking big stuff like a weekend getaway, I am referring to my son logging some hours amping up his Skylanders with his trusty teammate—Dad. Or my daughter spewing story after story about the goings on in Kindergarten that week while we down some McD’s. And when the kids are in bed, I pour some wine and we chat about the latest hot-topic for our family or marriage before zoning out to some DVR’d TV show that we secretly enjoy watching together like River Monsters or The Voice (we are so romantic). These things may not be the makings of long-term memories, but we are truly “in the moment” while doing them because we don’t take time for granted anymore. Being “present” in each other’s company is definitely a big change—one that we didn’t even know we desperately needed to make. And THAT is something that will help us make it long-term.
Flirt More, Bitch Less. Since becoming a mom, I have become somewhat of an ice queen. Admittedly, I don’t greet my husband at the door with a warm smile and welcome-home-kiss. I barely turn around while doing the dishes! And I certainly don’t prance around in sexy lingerie every Friday in hopes of being swept off my feet. Actually, the opposite occurs—I throw on my least attractive sweats and slink off to bed as fast as possible before my husband realizes he has missed his chance for any bedroom fun. After all, I will be up early and will be the one that has to be back on duty the second my feet hit the floor!
So how does my husband’s absence actually improve this routine? Much to my surprise, I have found that having my communication limited to phone calls or texting for much of the week/month has allowed me to relive the days when we were dating and didn’t live together or share a mountain of parental responsibility. I actually get excited to see his texts pop up and have even been inspired to fire off a sultry little note after tucking the kids in bed. I am also more playful and flirty versus tired and bitchy… the latter being my normal mode when drudging through the day-to-day under the same roof. (Not that I am any less tired as a functioning single-parent… I just don’t waste valuable minutes griping about it over and over because I know there is really nothing more he can do about it.)
So even though I’m doing a happy dance that I only have to make half the bed and clean one sink in our bathroom, and I don’t miss getting pissed when finding my hubby napping on the sofa amidst the chaos, I do miss being hugged when I’m having a meltdown and I know my kids miss their “fun parent” who throws them on the bed like it’s a circus trampoline. While I can’t say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, I can strongly support the notion that shaking things up every once in a while is definitely a good thing for relationships- marital and parental.
Sparkle and inspire!
p.s. I applaud you if you actually read this obscenely long post. I’ve taken to talking to myself since being alone… and even THAT is a long conversation!