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.

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17 Responses to “Non-Deployment”

  1. MommaExpat says:

    Honestly there’s nothing wrong with venting about being a military wife. Although I am not one, my SIL is currently and her husband just left for 6 months. I can’t even begin to imagine what that might feel like, but I can understand the non-deployment but being away all the time. Hubs works till bathtime, which he does with no issue, but it’s hard being the only parent in the house. And having 2 on top of that? I can’t imagine. Have you thought about drop-ins at the CDC? Just a thought. Hugs!

  2. Amylyn says:

    I can’t imagine to know how bad this sucks. :-(. My hubby waa in ghe
    Navy but out before we met. But one of my closest friends has been dealing with something similar and now he is deploying for weeks on his sub leaving here with a 21 mos Old and a not even 3 week old. :-(. I sent her your blog!!! Hopefully she can connect with you. :-)

  3. Denae says:

    The unknown is always the worse, even if you only had 5 hours a week and you knew which hours those were you would be better off. I know its military life and blah blah blah, but its HARD. I feel for you and the kids. I know you will adjust. It takes time. You have done it before. Feel free to continue to whine about it (without the disclaimers), it might make it easier to process. Sometimes I worry about whining too much on my blog, especially while pregnant, but then I remember that it is MY blog and it helps me process. I add cute Elena pictures to compensate and no one has tarred and feathered me yet.

  4. Tara says:

    It’s okay to complain about stuff sometimes! There will always be someone with bigger trials than you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t complain/vent once in a while. My Army husband isn’t deployed either, but he’s always on call, and sometimes he works 20 hour days for a few weeks, and it stinks. I’m excited for the day he has a regular, 9-5 job. Love your blog, btw.

  5. Brigid Keely says:

    I do want to point out that your health care isn’t free. It’s a job benefit your husband gets. I really dislike, in general, referring to subsidized health care whether it’s military or medicaid or “Obamacare” or whatever as “free” because it isn’t. We pay for it with taxes. I’ve been paying taxes since I was 17, y’know? If I get universal coverage through the government, it’ll be something that I, personally, pay for with my taxes. This is a huge fucking tangent, I know, and I’m kind of sorry to clutter up your blog like this… but since a lot of objections to providing universal health coverage AND for continuing to fund VA coverage is because it’s easy for wealthy people to view it as “free” and “charity” that is somehow coming directly out of their pockets, and it’s harmful, I thought I’d bloviate a bit.

    Your situation sucks. As suck situations go you’re pretty lucky. You’ve got regular income, you have a nice house, you have health coverage, you have healthy kids, etc. But your partner is not partnering and that’s hard. And it’s ok to feel stressed and lonely and abandoned and freaked out. You deserve that! I’m hoping you can hook up with some other Navy Spouses and maybe plan some co-op child care or events or something? Just because there’s no formal support in place, no formal support groups, doesn’t mean you can’t maybe get together with some other parents and chill and eat and drink and have your kids play together.

  6. I’m sorry things are tough right now. Bobby works nights, so we don’t get as much time with him as I’d like either, but at least we are guaranteed Saturday and Sunday.

  7. Emily says:

    I second what Denae said… this is your blog to say what you want, and process what you need to! You don’t need disclaimers to be honest about your feelings. Though not a military family, my hubby is away on long trips quite often, and those stretches of time sometimes feel like imprisonment, without any real break from parenting responsibility. Any parent can relate, I am sure! Every time Bill is away for a long time, I try to hire a babysitter for a 3-4 hour chunk each week… and I don’t let myself do anything responsible in that chunk… I go see a movie, see a friend, get my nails done, etc, etc… It really helps!

  8. Elaine A. says:

    I get this. We are not military but my husband works A LOT. And I’m just now getting to the point where I feel like “I got this” (but trust me, there are still days/hours/bed times when I change my mind!!).

    As I type this my hubby is in another city and I feel like I have NO right to complain, for the same reasons as you but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still hard sometimes.


  9. Robyn says:

    You have every right to complain. Just because someone else may have it worse does not take away that right. And I feel you, even though my situation is very different. DH and I work opposite shifts (by choice, mostly) so that the baby won’t have to go to daycare. which means we never see each other and we are both sleep deprived and stressed. Sometimes i think i’m going to lose it, like last night, but somehow i didn’t…i guess the thought that it won’t be this way forever got me through. hugs to you!

  10. molly says:

    I’m sorry things are so tough right now. I don’t pretend to know what it’s like. Heck, I complain that my husband is gone for 13 hours a day, 5-6 times a week. I feel like I barely see him sometimes and the kids don’t either! But your situation is even worse. Hope things ease up soon.

  11. We’re a Reservist family but I feel exactly the same way when he’s gone at drill once a month. I’m hesitant to plan an outing because we may miss him coming home early or he’ll miss out on the fun we’re having and I don’t want him to think I’m purposely excluding him. But like you said it’s the Army (in our case) forcing his exclusion…not me.

    I hope things calm down for you soon.

  12. As the wife of a work-a-holic, I can relate. He can’t say no to anyone (except me I feel like) and while I can deal, it’s hard to listen to Brayden whine about him. It’s hard to do the parenting alone even though there is money in the bank account. I totally get it even though I am in a different situation. Hugs to you. :)

  13. Oh dear, I feel the truth of this post so deeply. My husband is a chef and is basically gone all the time (sometimes he leaves before I get up and comes home after I’m in bed). We call ourselves hospitality widows. Haha. What I’ve learnt is to just go on with life, make plans, have fun, do activities that keep things easy and enjoyable. It’s so hard (anyway for me) to live life around an unpredictable schedule. Then when we do get to spend time together, we just enjoy the moments we have.
    That being said, I also feel like I need to qualify my complaints all the time, which is silly really, because hard is hard, stress is stress, no matter what.

  14. Mama Durso says:

    You know, I started reading your blog after I saw your comment on another blog (I can’t remember which one… BA’s maybe?). This blogger was complaining about her life and giving the same disclaimer you did about it not being as hard as other situations. And you said that “hard is hard, no matter what the hard is” or something similar. And you were (and still are) absolutely positively correct.

    I know that a lot of “disclaiming” goes on in an attempt to brush off the trolls and other such people looking for blogs to punch holes in and I hope that that is what the first half of your post is geared toward. Don’t feel guilty about your complaints, you are allowed to feel overwhelmed and stuck and discouraged no matter your situation, because as you said, “hard is hard.” But you can do it, mama!

    P.S. I hope I don’t seem like a complete stalker after remembering a comment you posted on a different blog a long time ago… it’s just really stuck with me. :)

  15. Mama Fisch says:

    I don’t know how you do it.. my husband is home most nights by 5 and we are a team through most of the evening routine. The nights I am alone, I own it, but dang is it hard. The hardest part is not having someone to take over when you need that 60 seconds to breathe or when you need to pee!

    You don’t need to apologize to anyone. We are all just being moms, surviving each day and doing the best we can!

  16. […] yet. We went to Sesame Place this weekend, just me and the kids, since E’s schedule is preventing him from doing anything besides stare at a light on a dashboard and sometimes the back of his eyelids. I’m not alone […]

  17. […] last posts about E’s hideous work schedule and struggling to parent my preschooler came across wrong and I’ve been feeling dishonest. I […]

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