Our lives are upside down right now, or maybe sideways, trying to revolve around E’s crazy work schedule. He’s not at sea – it would be a poor choice to try to take his submarine out into the ocean, since half of it is still a just twinkle in the shipyard’s eye. And for that I’m thankful. But he’s Very Busy And Important at his job in a way he has never been in the past and handling everything about the kids, the house, the cars and our life is starting to wear on me. Especially because although there is an end in sight, things are going to get worse before they get better – and “better” is still going to suck.
I feel the need to insert a disclaimer every time I talk about my life as a Navy spouse to head off the eye rolling. I am 100% aware of my privilege in complaining about my life. There are billions of people across the world who are worse off than me, millions in America who would kill for a stable job and steady income and amazing, free (socialized!) healthcare, thousands of families whose loved ones are deployed to battlefields and war zones and much more dangerous conditions that an office in Connecticut and probably two dozen other spouses stationed right here on E’s boat who are dealing with problems much worse than mine. But just like someone who goes from making $100,000 a year would have a hard time adjusting to making only $25,000 a year, I’ve gone from having a husband around 50-60 hours a week to one I only see 4 or 5 hours a week. Total. And the kids see him even less. We’re adjusting.
ALSO, since I’m already on a super-tangent, I am not in any way comparing my single-parenting of my kids while E is at work to an ACTUAL single parent. It’s not even kind of close to the same thing. A paycheck magically shows up in my bank account every 2 weeks even if all I’ve done all week is take Instagram photos of my food and buying crap at Target and having random bits of my body removed for fun (yah healthcare!) so my life is pretty good.
And just like that I’ve written a whole post about why I shouldn’t even both to write this post. I would suggest to myself “Self, quit while you’re ahead!” but I don’t actually feel ahead. I feel forever behind.
I’m torn between trying to fill our days with as many things as possible and holing up in a blanket fort on the couch to watch Disney Jr all day. I don’t want to take the kids out to the zoo and the aquarium and the park and lunch only to find out E got home early and we missed our only chance to see him. If we stay home to see him there’s a huuuuuge stretch of morning when the kids are awake and bored and I start to lose my temper because I know we’re only going to get an hour with Daddy anyway. The worst was trying to split the two – we got home JUST in time to watch Daddy walk out the door. Both kids were hysterical for an hour.
In some ways, life would be easier if this was a deployment. There would be regular family support group meetings giving us updates. Our bank account would be in better shape thanks to extra pay and E not having to eat unexpectedly on the run or drive back and forth to work. I could use that cute DVD Sesame Workshop sent me to explain to the kids Daddy was gone for a while but would be back. I would feel much less guilty about planning fun family trips and vacations and outings without E. Right now I worry I’m abandoning him, being unsupportive of his job, excluding him from our family (or at least I worry HE feels that way) when, no. I’m not doing it. The NAVY is doing it.
It’s a life I enjoy, mostly. One I signed up for willingly and knowingly after growing up in a military family. But right now? It freaking sucks.