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Looking after children while DP is away a lot

(8 Posts)
Shelduck Sat 22-Nov-14 14:02:11

DS is 2.5 and we have another due in March. DH and I both work full time, with a little overlap in hours, and we share childcare and housework. Let's say for the purposes of argument that we have no friends or family that can help us out. (Not strictly true, but nothing that we can rely on enough to make plans around it.)

DH is looking to apply for a job that will take him overseas up to 3 months of the year, probably for a fortnight at a time. He'll get weekends in lieu but that's it. DH will not go for this if he doesn't think I'm 100% ok with it. I'm worried about how I will cope, but I so want to make this happen for DH because he's miserable in his current job and it's kind of his term to get a bit of a break.

Obviously there are lots of things we need to discuss and think about. But i'd be really grateful for the benefit of your experience, particularly if you have two or more children, have a DP who is away a lot or are a single mum, work and have no family who can help out. I wish i was the kind of ballsy, energetic, resourceful kind of mum who could roll up her sleeves and get on with it, but in truth i find getting through the daily routine overwhelming enough as it is! Do any of you have either words of enouragement or a reality check? Thanks for reading this far!

gymboywalton Sat 22-Nov-14 14:09:23

';i would say don't do it.
my dh has always had a career which has involved a lot of travelling and i would say the years when my children were very small were the most miserable ever. I had a 3 year old and a baby of 5 months when he started working away mon-fri and i was so unhappy it's unreal. You never ever get a break. there is nobody even to make you a cup of tea or to hold the crying baby while you wipe the toddlers bottom.

i would get a phone call from dh and he would be in a hotel room or in a restaurant somewhere and the resentment i felt was horrendous.

when he come home for the weekend the pressure to get on and have fun would be huge but we would have such different expectations it was very hard. We rowed every sunday night.

i really really wouldn't do it.

addictedtosugar Sat 22-Nov-14 14:24:45

Not as negative as above.

DH has always spent time travelling. I was less than impressed when he was told a 6 month mon-fri stint was starting when DS2 was going to be about 6 weeks.

Yes, it tough, but it is totally manageable. The thing that jumps out from your post is the childcare. Currently you have minimal childcare costs. How would you manage the times when DH is travelling, and you need to work? The kids were in nursery full time when I was working and DH travelling.

I had some amazing friends who would occasionally turn up with a take away to give me a social life (do you mean this level of friendship wouldn't be available?).

I've got to go out. Will come back later.
It is totally doable, and if you end up with a happier DH, might be worth a go.

Shelduck Sat 22-Nov-14 17:13:46

Sorry for confusion over childcare in my post. DS is in nursery 4 days a week, and that would probably go up to 5 if DH got this job. When i said we shared childcare, i really meant evenings and weekends etc. i.e. DH is a very hands-on Dad, certainly not the case that he leaves all that to me i.e. I'd definitely miss his involvement!

Shelduck Sat 22-Nov-14 17:30:00

And in terms of support, it's not really the social aspect that bothers me so much, more how i get any sort of a break at the weekends, and what happens if something goes wrong e.g. if i'm ill. Our parents do help out, but due to distance and health issues they can't always be there, and they're not getting any younger.

Buttercupup Sat 22-Nov-14 17:45:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

addictedtosugar Sat 22-Nov-14 18:18:55

OK, I read that as you worked something like 6-2, and he worked 2-10, removing the need for childcare. If you both work days, its totally doable.

If he's only away for a fortnight at a time, thats likely to be a sunday travel, the weekend in the middle, and possibly the Sat at the other end. 6 times a year. You could probably arrange for your parents to come and visit for some of those trips away. Or you could go visit them for the weekend?

You just get on with it. Yes, it can be a bit relentless if the kids are ill. If you are ill, you have a slob weekend, where everyone snuggles on the sofa watching films!!!!! BUT, for 6 weekends a year? The chances of someone being ill are fairly slim.

In some ways, it can be easier. Kids and I are totally happy with pasta every night. DH would want more variety, and some meat. So evening meals are simpler. I eat with them (now they are bigger, we all eat together at 5pm whether DH is here or not). Yes, I don't get any time out of the house without kids, unless I put in a half day holiday. You would be on ML when this starts, I guess? Which in some ways makes it easier - you could go with him if he was going somewhere that would work, or you can go to your parents. However, it is pretty relentless with a small baby. Ours are 3 and 5 now, and its fine - they are big enough to set of on playdoh/colouring/cars and achieve something. So I would imagine the second year would be the toughest - back at work, with and under 2.

Once you get to the point of fairly predictable kids to bed at 7, and thats it for most of the night, and thats when you get your break. and control of the TV viewing

Also, for two weeks, some things just don't happen. Don't change the sheets, don't sweat it. There is less laundry (til he gets back), and you can do what YOU want to do with the kids the whole time. It can be quite refreshing.

You mention DH is unhappy where he is at the moment, and if this is a good step, I'd say go for it. If its a disaster, he can always start looking for something else.

Shelduck Sat 22-Nov-14 22:17:12

Thanks everyone for taking the time - i really really appreciate it. We've got a lot of thinking to do, and one of the main things will be for DH to decide if a new job is worth the time being away from me and the boys so much. (He's very much a home-and-family-work-life-balance sort of person.) but from my own point of view i really appreciate someone telling me that it's doable, whatever we eventually decide. Thanks again. Have a wine on me.

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