When my husband asked if it was ok if he flew to the UK for a couple of weeks with work a few months ago, I swallowed hard and said “of course it is, we’ll be fine”. We have a three-year-old and a 2-year-old. I can count on one hand how many times the two- year-old has slept through, my husband is very much aware of this plus the fact all of our family are in the UK, hence his concern at leaving me to cope on my own.
As the time for his departure drew closer I tried to maintain my positive mind-set, I wanted him to go away guilt free. Whenever the self-doubt began to creep in I reminded myself of some of my friends who cope amazingly with husbands who work long hours or are away a lot and aren’t often available to help out with the kids. I have one friend whose husband was away in the army for 6 months when she was looking after two very young children without any family close-by. I also have friends who have separated from their partners and therefore frequently have to manage alone.
The problem is I’ve been spoilt. I have a husband who is hands-on and helps out as much as possible. The girls are early risers which adds to the frustration given the fact the 2-year-old doesn’t sleep. He generally gets up with one or both of them in the morning. He is also usually around to put them to bed at night. At the weekend all of our time is about being together as a family. The truth is I knew that we would be fine, we would (hopefully) all survive. BUT, we would miss him. What I was more anxious about was how the girls would cope without seeing him every day, as they are so used to doing.
We are currently on day 8. My three-year-old tells me at least five times a day,
“I miss Daddy so much Mummy”
The two-year old’s priority at the moment when she is awake tends to be eating or crying (I think she has teeth coming through, don’t they always?) however every time she sees a photo of Daddy or sees him on the iPad she chants,
“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy”
There have of course been a few incidents since he left such as; the youngest falling down the stairs, me setting off to a birthday party the other side of Sydney to realise en-route the sat nav had died, the 3g on my phone was stuck on egg timer mode and I had no idea where to go and taking a wrong turn on the way home from the party resulting in us being stuck in more traffic so the thirty minute journey took an hour and a half. However, these things would have happened regardless of my husband’s absence. It’s just I would normally have called him in a blind panic to help me. Instead I had to revert back to the independent woman I know I’m perfectly capable of being and deal with it myself – like I used to (and like heaps of other Mums without partners around have to do).
I have received lots of kind offers of help from friends, but to be honest – so far we are doing better than just fine. We are doing great. We are having lots of fun and I’m enjoying even more quality time with the girls. My eldest daughter has stepped up, loving the responsibility of helping Mummy while Daddy is away. When the youngest stacked it down the stairs she was considerably calmer than I was as she hugged and reassured us both saying,
“It’s ok, you’re ok”
Most days my husband and I speak on Facetime or messenger and he asks how we are all doing. I reply telling him – I was up half the night with the youngest and then both were up from 5.30am and that my cold is really bad and I have a sore throat and that she fell down the stairs and we got lost. I revert back to leaning on him to tell him all the problems, when what I should really say is,
“We are doing great, how are you doing? Obviously we really, really, miss you. BUT we can cope (I’m also looking forward to a break as soon as you get back)”