I'm a mom of 3, soon to be 4. My husband and I work hard to create a path for a better future for us, as well as our children. 3 years ago, I was a SAHM with my three kids (Ages were 2, 1 and 6 mo). I was bored when the kids went down for a nap, or when they were playing so I decided to start an online business-selling custom designed photo invitations and announcements for various occassions. I am a college graduate, but not in this field. Over time, I taught myself the software needed to fulfill this itch I was feeling toward working but still being a SAHM. This business took off and I was able to care for my kids during the day and work in the evenings when they went to bed. My husband worked days and was home in the afternoons. It was the ideal setup.
2 1/2 years ago, my husband got laid off. I wasn't making enough with my side business to support the family. We both decided to look for jobs and see who found one first. That person would go to work full time and the other stay at home with the kids. The idea of working full time devestated me, because all I ever wanted to be was a good mom. Career was never #1 on my list. But I knew that I had a degree and had a better chance at getting a better paying job then my husband. We ended up getting job offers on the SAME DAY. God was watching over us, because my job was only part time, day hours and his was full time, 2nd shift hours. We didn't need to look for daycares, etc. I worked, satisfied in my part time career and still being able to spend most of the day with my kids.
Last year, after having a hard year with our income producing investment NOT producing income, we decided to make a change. My husband decided to start a trucking business. My first reaction was "If you go trucking, we can sign the divorce paperwork now." He reconsidered for 2 months after I said that. I didn't say it because I didn't love him, or because we were having problems. I said it for completely opposite reasons- I loved him so much, I didn't want him to be gone most of the time. I told him, it would be hard for me to manage the kids, the house, the investment property and all the paperwork that I knew would inevitably fall on me to do for his new business.
In the end, we decided together, that if we want to reach our goal of a better future, we would have to make some sacrifices. We gave a timeframe of 3 years. After which, we would have 2 trucks and he would hire drivers, so that my husband can be at home. The kids would be young enough and just starting things like sports and after school activities, that we want to take part in. For him it would be that he would miss out on time with the kids and me. For me, it would mean a lot of extra stress and burden with the additional work load.
At this time, I went to work full-time, put my kids in a private pre-school, 1 minute from work, and am working the same hours they are in school. The kids were happy with having a structured learning environment (which was hard for me to do at home becuase of the difference in age and development levels), and I was happy working where I was, doing what I do. I didn't have to sacrifice time with the kids because when they got out of school, I was there to pick them up and then we spend the restof the day together. My husband invested all our savings into a truck, trailer, and all the astronomical fees, taxes, etc that went along with starting up this business. Last July he started driving.
He would come home once a week, for a day or two, sometimes less, sometimes more. Depending on the load he had. Reality is: If the truck is not moving, we are not making money. We planned his trips accordingly so that he didn't miss a holiday, birthday, or special occassion. We even managed to get away on a cruise last year just to rekindle our marriage from the months of him being away.
Right around this time, we found out that we were expecting our 4th child.
I tell you. Just when things start to fall into place, we have to plan to rearrange again. I just got offered a promotion with large pay increase at work. We just got into the swing of things of having this mad crazy life, and to throw in a pregnancy, just put everythign else on hold...
I accepted the promotion without anyone knowing I'm pregnant. But when the pregnancy hormones hit, my life turned into one big unmanageable ball of stress. All of a sudden, I couldn't handle all that was on my plate. The kids were missing daddy. They cried at night wanting to give him a hug and a kiss, and I cried right along with them... draining me emotionally. The investement property was still not producing income (or paying for itself for that matter) because of the economic downfall... draining our pockets faster then we can fill them. My job was more demanding with changes that were not planned... draining my stress levels. And my husband was gone more then ever becuase it was a low season in trucking and we had to make our payemnts... draining us of our relationship.
I honestly felt like a single mom that had to wear 10 different hats every day, just to survive. When my husband came home, the first few minutes were filled with love and joy, and then the reality of what had to be done now that he was home hit, and the yelling, arguing and general unhappiness started. The kids sensed it. He knew it. I cried uncontrollably about it. I felt like my life was falling apart. With my other pregnancies, my husband would be the shoulder I cried on when I had a hormone crazy day... he would massage my feet... He would get me whatever it was I was craving at whatever time I craved it... He would help me with every chore and do all the "man" work around the house and property. I felt really unloved, really down and just really unhappy. I thought long and hard about him as a husband and as a father... I asked him if he wanted to leave. Whenever I brought up the idea of us parting ways, he would cry saying that he was only doing this for us. Somedays I accepted this answer. Other days, it was hard for me to understand how he couldn't see how much I do and how I just can't manage it all.
Trucking is VERY hard on our marriage. There is so much more miscommunication and lack of communication, which is such a key ingredient in a healthy marriage. I can imagine it's the same challenge for any profession that has to do with being away from the household.
Last week, he was in an accident. His truck is totalled, but he walked away without a single scratch. He came home and we just hugged and cried. How do you juggle the realities of life with the important things in life? We talked about stopping the business. We talked about him getting a "normal" job. We talked about changing our goals for the future to accomodate our current life.
I am due in about 6 weeks. I will be going on leave in 4. Him finding a job that pays as much as trucking does is unrealistic. Reality is, we need his income now more then ever because I will be out of work with no income for some time.
At this time, we are unsure of what the future holds for us. I am trying not to stress about it, as the stress brings on contractions and I don't want to put my baby's health in jeopardy.
I feel your pain about your husband not being around. It's a hard hard life. You feel so lonely. So unloved and unappreciated. So unhappy.
I can't offer you any magic advise, except to reevaluate your life and your priorities. I've foudn that with each curveball we've been thrown, and with each reevalution that curveball made us make, our life got better and we got stronger. Perhaps your husband feels the pressure of keeping up with his family life standards and is concerend about potenitally losing his job and losing it all. Perhaps he'd dealing with somethign behind closed doors that he just doesn't want to talk about. Although it may be easy for you to be open and honest with him, I think men's ego and role as "head of household" sometimes gets in the way of their reality and they have a harder time communicating to you. Perhaps, just loving him and being their for him, no matter what the cost of sacrifice on your part, will allow him to realize that he can come to you with anything. Perhaps the problem is deeper then you mentioned here, and until the root of the problem is found and resolved, making a smart decision will be near impossible to do.
God knows what He's doing. When you beleive in Him and trust that He will guide your life the way it's meant to be, somehow a burden gets lifted even if nothign else changes in your life.
I basically tried to deal with it as much as I can as a human being... but I came to a point where I threw my hands up in the air and realized that I can't control all that happens. Something miraculous happened then... I was calm. I felt at peace, knowing that I have a great life, and I am a strong woman, and that God will never give us more then we can handle.
So, here's to us mom's with husbands that may not understand our daily struggles, and to knowing that God has our back.
If anything, know that there are many of us out here going through a simliar struggle...