View Full Version : DH will be working in Europe next year-coping strategies?
My DH has been offered a position that will be too good to refuse, in Europe. He's very successful in his field but is feeling pigeon-holed & powerless in his current job here in Aus (they keep sending him interstate with very little notice, means any social plans for the kids & myself constantly get sidetracked). The European role will give him exposure to great companies, fantastic money (finally we can get that extension!) & will set him up for a great solo career path here in Aus. The only catch is that he'll be away from myself & our 6 little kids for up to 6 weeks at a time (back for 2-3 weeks), for up to 3 years. And we have no family support whatsoever.
We moving to Europe with him is not an option (even though he is Irish, the Irish economy is kaput, something we dont relish being part of) & DH will be working all over the place; we'd much prefer stay here where we have friends & school, than be alone in a European country, even if we're seeing him on weekends.
I am a very organised person & am used to doing almost everything for the kids for years, but having DH away for a few days at a time is not the same as having him away for almost months on end. I plan on putting the twins & DD3 in creche 1 day a week so I have a whole day to do non-kid things (or catch up on sleep), we have skype so the kids can chat regulary to him. We receive council support for cleaning & limited child-minding because I have bad pelvic instability. Apart from that we have no support.
My DH is concerned that I will get over-stressed and take it out on him. I have told him that, just like if he were home, there will be days when I do have a bad day and will be grumpy on the phone, after all he cant expect me to be Mother Teresa all the time. I also suggested that even if he is eating out every night, that he not flaunt it at me, because that will make me even more pigeon-holed.
Can anyone make suggestions on how to cope when things are not going easily: when I'm unwell or dealing with unwell children, when I'm incredibly sleep-deprived or when I haven't had more than a passing word with an adult for days on end?
** bump **
Thanks WCM. Surely someone can give me some tips?
Wow, I really don't have any useful advice. I just wanted to say I really admire you for giving it a go. Thank goodness for Skype - it's a lifesaver for us as our families are in England. Do you have friends here who you can swap babysitting duties with? I swap with a few friends and it works well - day time and evenings. I know that would be harder for you with 6 children though! Is your DH really going to be able to come back regularly?
My DH is in the Navy so I am VERY familiar with being apart from him & also not living where we have any support.
I guess the key to it is Communication.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
It's SO important when having a partner working away for long periods of time....because basically, it's all you have. You have no face to face contact, no embrace. Talk is all you have, so talk about EVERYTHING. Even if it seems trivial for you.....You will be lucky, speaking to your DH every day, or most days. We can go up to 2 weeks with only email, I miss DH's voice so much & often find after that long period when I answer the phone & hear his voice I burst into tears it's so over whelming,:crying:
Keep busy. Have a good routine with your kids in place. And relax. Unfortunately being a single mum part of the time with kids things dont always go to plan. Especially when you work so hard with them for weeks & weeks & then your partner comes home & everything goes out the window.
This used to stress me out, but Ive learnt to relax.
Plan holidays often. Visit friends or family. Or have them visit you.
ALWAYS have something to look forward too, for the kids especially. Get your kids involved in craft/art projects for Daddys return. This helps.
I cant really think of much at the moment, my DH left today for 6 weeks over Christmas so Im feeling a bit bummed. I guess as well you have to be prepared for it to be tough. Some days will be tougher than others but if you love eachother & communicate you will be fine.
Love ALWAYS conquers all....
But i do wish you & your family all the very best. :gl:
good on you for giving it a go. my DH works away buts its only 2 weeks away then 2 weeks home. over xmas its 2 weeks away 1 week home though. you make me feel bad for ever complaining because i only have 1 kid and 2 weeks is so much better than a couple of months. i also get 1 night a week off at my MIL takes DS and if im sick or anything she will help. Im panicking about next year when the MIL & FIL go back home to the UK for a couple of months as that will leave me with no family local the closest 6 hours away.
ill be thinking of you when i want to complain next.
I am the same as EF - DH is Navy too and though he has a shore posting ATM the past 3.5 yrs have been 8 on 4 "off" (where he is still going to work every day but is home evenings and weekends). I am not going to lie it is hard work and can be very isolating esp with little family support - my mum is my lifeline and I ofen rang her in tears when things got a bit much - I found it was better to vent to her about the day to day stuff rather than to DH - esp when I might only get to chat to him for a few mins every couple of weeks. For us it made DH stressed if I was upset when we spoke - he felt helpless which made things hard for him so I tried to keep it cheerful as much as possible when we spoke - I'd tell him what was going on via email so he was in the loop when things were not great - ie when the kids or (and) I were sick or what have you but I focused on the funny stuff the kids were up to etc when we were on the phone - obviously this wasn't always possible but I did try :yes:
I also agree with EF with the routine - get by one day at a time I found the days were fine - the kids are a great distraction and I try to make a point of getting out even just meeting a GF for a coffee, or if you have a friend with an easy babysitter (or a hubby who can be at home with the kids) get her to come over and grab a DVD some choc and a glass or 2 of wine - we tried to do this every now and then which for us was hard when the hubbies are away but when we had 2 of our hubbies at home we all went over to the person who had the away hubby made for some fun evenings :hyper:
The evenings once the kids were asleep were the hardest for me - I pretty much (and this is really sad) had a tv show that I looked forward to each night so I had something to keep me busy at night. On the nights when their was nothing on I rang my mum , sister , nanna or GF's to have a chat:phonecall: - I am sure my poor mum got sick of me calling but she never complained (at least to me) :frustrated: :D
Hope you guys can work out some strategies that work for you. :gl::goodluck:
I understand completely where you are coming from, my dp left this morning and we don't know when we will see him again, could be anywhere up to 14months before he's back, and we have a baby due in June... He's RAAF so I'm use to him going away for work, but nothing this long. We've always known how long he'll be away for but this time it's unknown...
My only advice is communicate as much as possible and if you have a return date mark it on the Calander so you can count it down with your children.
Best of luck!
Dp us in the uk for up to two years.... Skype and regular phone calls have been the savior of my sanity..... That and keeping busy!
[QUOTE=bgbgbb;5411581Can anyone make suggestions on how to cope when things are not going easily: when I'm unwell or dealing with unwell children, when I'm incredibly sleep-deprived or when I haven't had more than a passing word with an adult for days on end?[/QUOTE]
Hey there bgbgbb! Hope you don't mind me jumping in, but I was wondering if your older three have their own jobs to do? They are more than capable at this age (and it's a necessity to have all hands on deck when going it alone!), and that may make your life a little easier. When someone is not well it is hard to cope, so just relax and do only what needs doing - why stress yourself over beds not made when you really aren't up to it? Maybe have a 'cooking' day when all is well and pre-do a week's worth of meals so when that happy hour hits you only need to defrost and reheat a casserole or similar, or drag that slow cooker out from the back of the cupboard and set it up in the morning! If you are sick that makes things quite difficult but just take it easy, relax (can't stress that enough) and don't forget a little time for yourself - daycare is a wonderful idea! At least that will limit the amount of downtime spent on your own health, and give you more energy to cope with the kids.
I go it alone with six kids, but I have the luxury of having several teenagers on hand who are just the best with the little two. My husband is around but we are separated, and he was an interstate truck driver who was away all the time anyway so I have been living like this for the past five years, and before that I was a single mum with four kids working two jobs - all without support nearby. You will be able to do it - you are amazing for doing it so far! If you are craving adult human contact (gosh, I still do that!), are there any avenues for you to take such as playgroups etc? What about taking the kids to aged care for volunteering? Everyone gains from that.
All the best with your new venture in life, and you always have us here at bh who will listen! :cheerleader1:
No advice but I'll be joining you. DH could end up any where in Asia-pacific after may. Not looking forward to it but like your family, it's the best thing for us.
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