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Surviving time apart

(10 Posts)
purplesunflower Tue 23-Oct-12 20:09:43

Dh has often worked away from home, but it has tended it be longish trips abroad (a week or so) every month to six weeks. He has recently taken a job that means he will work away from home for 3/4 days every week.

We spent a long time discussing if it was the right thing to, but both financially and for the sake of his career it makes a lot of sense. So does anyone have any tips on how to survive this? I also work, but mainly from home and we have two small dc. He is a brilliant dad when he's home very hands on with the kids and happy to do whatever needs doing, but inevitably I do most of the house stuff so we can enjoy the weekends together and so I feel pretty exhausted. I don't want to end up resenting him and destroy our relationship.

Please do share any wisdom

foolonthehill Tue 23-Oct-12 21:35:18

a cleaner, and a dedicated night out for you every couple of weeks. Hope you can afford it......

purplesunflower Wed 24-Oct-12 07:28:11

Thanks. We have a cleaner, but you're right about a night out- just need to find a baby sitter. We've never really managed to find a good one.

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 24-Oct-12 07:30:28

Watching for tips as dh is about to be away for 3 months.

My dc are school age though, and I work full time.

foolonthehill Wed 24-Oct-12 10:19:10

Systems for everything, get DCs to make their own packed lunches at the breakfast table (or the night before after tea if you are not morning people) purple.

babysitters: check with local infant school/primary school breakfast clubs/afterschool clubs...they often have people just out of college doing childcare and will have been CRB checked etc. Some childminders baby sit, you can look on www.childcare.co.uk for local nanny/babysitter/childminders.

have a dedicated night off cooking each week (pizza/take away/ready meal). Always cook twice when you are cooking and freeze one half for later it takes no longer to prepare/cook and you reap huge benefits.

Always have a couple of pints of milk in the freezer and a spare loaf.

internet supermarket shop

Make one day of the weekend free time for the family, concentrate clubs/jobs/necessities on the other one so you don't spend the whole weekend trying (and failing) to get things done or resenting DH because you are doing it all. if you are on your own at the weekend then film night with popcorn and a family swim or something means you are not permanently waiting for DH to be there before you can have fun.

if you internet bank, Get DH to be responsible for bills/insurance renewals etc if he has access. Even whilst he is away...better than being bored in the evenings grin.

for weekly commutes ask DH if he can do his laundry where he is staying...rather than bring home a week's worth of dirty washing. If work are sending him then he may qualify for reimbursement of costs of service washing/ironing if it is done whilst he is away.

purplesunflower Wed 24-Oct-12 20:55:38

Loads of great ideas, thank you. I think I'm pretty organised most of the time - but like the ideas of dh doing the internet stuff and getting his washing done while he's away.

I think I'm more worried about making sure we don't damage our marriage in the process. DS (6) is incredibly active and barely sleeps. The only way we have found of coping is to get him involved in lots of sport but it means weekends are completely taken up with this and it means that dh and I get little time together. Combined with the fact that ds is up in the very early hours it's quite a strain at the best of times. I guess we'll have to find a baby sitter and make some time for each other

peppapigpants Wed 24-Oct-12 21:02:07

I'm just coming to the end of four weeks without DP while he's been working in Australia...3 or 4 days a week would be preferable to this!

When I was 2 and my sister 4, my dad joined the RN and uprooted the family, we moved hundreds of miles away from grandparents, moved house four times in 5 years, my sister and I changed schools so many times (she was at three different ones in her first year at school!). My mum was only 22 when I was born. She coped, she had a great support network from other navy wives in married quarters, she couldn't even drive back then, but she freely admits there were many nights when she put us to bed, sat down and cried! Dad was away for up to six months with minimal contact possible.

They have now been married for 47 years, so there is hope for you both smile

foolonthehill Wed 24-Oct-12 21:08:13

can you not do active things together as a family?? your DS's needs are only part of the family strategy. But i do understand.

A trampolene is probably already in place in your garden, but if not i would get one!!!

Also beware the sleep deprived child who over-exercises to keep his adrenaline levels up in order to keep himself awake. iIf he is getting under 9.5 hours sleep at age 6 it may be worth looking into sleep strategies rather than more exercise (sorry, professional world crossing into MN world).

purplesunflower Wed 24-Oct-12 21:48:09

Peppa. Thanks nice to hear some good stories. My dh has done a couple of longer stints too so I know it's tough.

fool- yes we do active stuff together too and we do have a trampoline. He probably gets 8.5- 9 hours sleep so it's not too bad. But he has never slept well and I'm pretty sure I have tried every strategy there is, but always happy to try others. The main problem is night/ early waking. Keeping active has helped a bit, but mainly helps control behaviour I think.

fiventhree Wed 24-Oct-12 21:59:01

Great ideas there, fool. I agree about being organised. Also, although it is hard (both in terms of time and energy) do try and get out for you once a week if possible, or set something up where friends come to your house. You do need adult company.

The only way I have ever sorted out night waking issues is with absolutely zero reward. ie if the child isnt ill, tuck back into bed and say practically nothing, unless he is distressed.

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