And so I wonder if perhaps I could possibly be completely crazy

I hate it when my husband goes out of town. With a deep, resentful hatred that is exactly proportional to how much fun he gets to have while he’s gone. If he tells me the car broke down and he had to spend the night in some seedy motel where he heard sirens all night, my hate-o-meter recedes to a low simmer. If he calls me and tells me what a GREAT lunch he had with an old friend (who, hey, just happened to be at the LAST conference DH attended) and how they all enjoyed their delicious steaks, well then, stand back, because steam might just come out of my ears. Hot, hot steam.

The last time DH went out of town, it was particularly bad. He was excited about the trip, and felt good about what he was presenting.

I felt great about the laundry.

Not.

I whined, I moaned, I spat, I hissed, I did everything I could to make our phone calls miserable. I made it clear that I resent the time he spends away from the family getting popular accolades for his accomplishments, while I stay at home and hang up his shirts and mop the floor and get the kids to swimming and basketball and school and piano lessons and bathed and to bed. And then, as a reward, I get to do the dishes.

So, his response?

“What do you want to do? Let’s make it happen!! You want to take a class? Let’s do it! You want to get a job? We’ll work out daycare! You want to go to New York to take that certification class that lasts for 3 days in the middle of the week? I’ll get somebody to cover for me! We’ll make it work!”

But why would I want to do all that? It means time spent away from the kids. And I’d miss them too much.

And this is where my husband sits in dumbfounded silence, trying to reconcile my resentment at his intellectually stimulating activites with my driving need to stay home and play blocks with my toddler.

He’s not the only one who tries to sort this out.

This last week, the kids were sick, so I went to church alone. This is the second week we’ve had sick kiddos, and last week it was DH’s turn to enjoy the Sacrament without little hands pullling at the tray, threatening to dump the bread all over the floor (um, not that that’s ever happened to us. Ahem.) Driving to church alone, I felt kind of free, and excited to have an actual, bonafide spiritual experience.

And I did enjoy the meetings, very much so. But as I sat completely alone on the pew, I found myself obsessing over the families. When my kids are with me, I hardly notice other families, focused as I am on keeping my own children from having nuclear meltdowns. But without them, I heard every wail, every whimper, every shushed whisper from every parent, and I longed to hold the kids, play with them, put them on my lap and pull out finger puppets and see toothless wet gums as they laughed. I opened my purse to grab some toys to hand to the family behind me to soothe their savage toddler, and was amazed to find nothing in there that would interest a child. Why would there be? I had packed it that morning, specifically for myself, happy to leave out all things toddler-y. And yet, without the silly toys, the crayons, the crumbling granola bars, I felt strangely empty-handed.

It’s like the time we hired a babysitter to go to an office Christmas party, happy for a night out, and I spent the entire time holding somebody else’s baby. How sick is THAT?

I know this isn’t a new thing, and I know it’s not even a Mormon thing. It’s a constant give and take, isn’t it, between our own desires for intellectual stimulation, and our desires to be with our kids. I don’t know if fathers feel the same, and I don’t know how to solve it.

Any ideas? Or do I just have to wait for them to grow up, so we can have intellectually stimulating discussions then? But wait, then they’ll be teenagers, and by then, my brain just might explode.

About Heather O.

(Prose Board) lives in the south with her husband, her two kids, and her wiggly black lab. She is a licensed speech language pathologist, but spends most of her days trying to teach her own kids how to say please and thank you. She is a member of the Segullah Editorial Board, and is the founding member of the blog Mormon Mommy Wars.

89 thoughts on “And so I wonder if perhaps I could possibly be completely crazy

  1. I don’t have an answer but if you find out some or even possible solutions please post! I feel as if I’ll go crazy if I don’t get some by myself time but then end up calling every 1/2 hour to see how my daughter is doing and I only have one kid right now! I’ll be a basket case then mental as my family grows.

  2. First, my apologies to Heather. I meant to post the AML thingie (above) BEFORE you, but I must have pressed publish exactly two minutes after you did. And now I’ve stepped on your beautifully bloggy toes. Ack! Sorry!

    As far as husbands traveling and the green-eyed monster, I vividly remember six weeks after my third child was born, I came down with a raging case of strep while he was on a golf retreat in Atlanta. I was sleep deprived, sore from nursing, had a 103 fever, a screaming baby and toddler and a preschooler and I thought I might have to kill him and then bring him to life and kill him again just to make it fair.

    I will say, though, that my husband still travels a lot, and it’s gotten much easier as my kids have gotten older. When your kids are all small it’s particularly hard. I also try to remind myself that me making him miserable doesn’t make my day any better–just makes his day worse–but such “epiphanies” don’t always help when he’s having steak dinners and I’m reheating the macaroni.

  3. Wow! It sounds like you have a great husband. You should definitely cut him some slack and take him up on the suggestion that you take a class, etc.

    What a lucky woman you are!

  4. choose your comment..
    the-nice-I-don’t-know-you-comment
    “wow, that’s so great that you love your kids so much you hate to part with them.”

    the-keeping-it-real-because-you-did-ask-for-opinions-comment
    “take your husband up on his offer, so many guys wouldn’t be so generous. And if you don’t, then you probably will want to cease with the anger when he is out of town.
    Give your kids a chance to spend some time with their dad, to do things out of the norm. They will survive, so will you.”
    I’ve had such fun times on my own away from my kids that I think every mom should do it. It’s good for everyone involved.

  5. I get that way when my dh travels- I whine alot and friends take pity on me–I am just envious of going out to eat everynight- no prep, no dishes. I want to sleep in fresh made hotel beds and click on the TV because there is nothing else to do in a 15×12 room. Sit on a plane for 6 hours and read a whole book- better stop i’m getting covetous!

    My husband is much the same- he’d do anything to make me happy- trouble is I don’t know what I want- other than It ALL! so I muddle through trying to find my pace and balance in many domains…

  6. Wow, totally jealous that you’ve got the means and the support to do something. Take small opportunities to get away — go out one night a week, visit a friend or take that course for a couple of days. Force yourself and you will come home refreshed and find out that everyone can survive, even thrive without you for awhile. And maybe therapy, if you’re finding the idea of leaving them for short periods is paralyzing.

  7. My husband doesn’t go out of town often, so I don’t get that feeling as much. I remember a few years ago, he was talking about how he needed a day off of work to just go out and play in the woods by himself, and I said, “When do I get my day off?”. And he couldn’t answer me immediately. He’s great now though. Last year he sent me home to my mom two states away. Just me. I didn’t have a breakdown or anything, just a little blah, and he sent me anyway. I got to see a movie, go shopping, and sleep in, but I found myself feeling guilty that my kids couldn’t see their cousins or their grandparents along with me. Halfway through I wanted to go home to my kids.

    Schizophrenic? Maybe, or is it that we’re hardwired for motherhood, and our modern society loads worldy software into our brains? I guess it depends on who you ask; me, myself, or my doppelganger that hides in my closet.

  8. I have often felt like I was losing my mind, for more reasons than the ones you mention. My husband farms, so he’s gone before sun up and home a lot later than sun down most days, and he goes to school, so he’s gone 3 nights a week. Add to that an elder’s quorum presidency and a demanding mother, and you’ll soon wonder if I ever even see my husband (no). I have often said bad words about him under my breath when I’ve had to bear the whole load alone. I also say bad words when he tries to be helpful and throws off my mommy groove. I want him to have time for himself, and I do hate him just a little bit when I have to stay behind.

    I try to give myself permission to be who I am, and if that means I can’t be away from my kids without thinking about them, so be it. If sometimes I have a hard time deciding whether having a happy husband is a bigger priority than making him feel guilty for doing his job, that’s ok too. I will learn balance! I will learn charity!

    Right after that, my kids will move out.

  9. I have that same jealousy every day my husband goes to work…he gets to sit in a quiet office ALONE…the work that he does STAYS DONE and isn’t immediately wrecked by two small children…he gets to have lunches out or lunches brought in during meetings…it’s worse when he goes out of town, so I totally identify.

    I could work full time and have what he has, but I couldn’t bear to put my kids in daycare. No one could teach them and love them like I do. So, the frustration I feel with being a stay at home mom and seeing career opportunities pass me by is somewhat tempered by the fact that I made this choice to stay home with my kids. I don’t love it, in fact, some days I loathe it. If being a SAHM became intolerable for me, I could work and the sacrifice I would make would be that my kids would go to daycare. It’s not intolerable, so the sacrifice I make is that I get frustrated with the day to day of motherhood, I am jealous of my husband’s office solitude, and I see career opportunities pass me by. It’s a tough choice. Luckily, my husband is understanding of my frustrations and is supportive when I need some time off.

    So, the short comment is: I don’t have the answers, but I’m right there with you, sistah!

  10. When my husband came back from some island in the Philippines with pictures of him snorkeling and eating fresh lobster by the most gorgeous beach, I almost hurled him across the room.

    But when he invited me to go with him next time, I couldn’t do it.

    I’m there with you, too.

    Join a book club. It’s one night every once in a while, and it’s full of chocolate and girl time and stimulating coversation. It’s nice.

  11. I am wondering if you have ever gone with him. I have gone with DH a few times and I have a different perspective on how it is to be out there eating restaurant food and sleeping in a hotel.

    I was really jealous the weekend he was in Vienna, Austria because I have lived there and haven’t been back for ages.

    Once I realized that a lot of the tension before a tour was causing our pre tour fights it got to be less of an issue. I will say though that when I am alone I don’t sleep very well so I stay up too late. The first week is great because I can do things I have been planning on doing, but couldn’t because of various reasons all connected to his presence. That was all good. By the end of the second week I was right down irritated and thought is was time for this to end. By the end of the third week I had pretty much adjusted and was thinking of handing him the keys and going out for awhile while he took care of the kids.

    Your not crazy. You are normal.

  12. I agree that you are not crazy.

    I hate it when hubby leaves town, but not because I’m envious of him…just because it can be hard to do all the stuff of the day alone.

    Having done the travel-for-work thing before my marriedmomma life, I will just say that to me, traveling is not always as sexy as it sounds. My hubby travels a lot, but I really have no desire to go, because I know how old it can get.

    But then again, I’m a homebody by nature.

    I also would say that there is an element of insanity built into the stage of mom-hood where you are, imo. I’m not too much past it, but just enough that I feel like HUBBY is the one who misses out while I get to hang out with the kids and make memories with them while he’s gone. The last time he was gone, we partied so hard (we did something out of the ordinary every day, and that between doc appts for a sick child) it took me a week to recover. Seriously. We had so much fun.

    It’s SO cliché, but they really do grow up fast and as far as I can tell, you never stop gravitating to little ones. I do think it’s a bit built-into most women.

    But hey yeah, consider take hubby up on his offer and take a class or something. It’s ok to take a break once in a while. In fact, I found it was easier to do that when they were little — as they have gotten older, I feel more torn, more guilty, more like they need me around. They *notice* more when I have to go somewhere.

  13. Claudia, I did go with him, and it wasn’t all that fun, because (surprise!) we took the kids, too. Yeah, being stuck in a hotel with the kids while my husband is at a conference is WAY worse than sitting at home.

    And marie, it’s not paralyzing, or anything like that that is really serious(perhaps my tendency towards hyperbole has gotten me into trouble!) It’s just that I have chosen to stay at home, and I think it’s a good choice. But some days it’s hard. I guess that’s all I’m saying.

  14. And I read my comment and it sounds like I’m contradicting myself. I really don’t like it when he’s gone, but try to live it up with the kids when he is because my kids are old enough that I can. How’s that?

  15. And Heather, don’t you think experiences like this help us come to accept our choices more, too? You have gone the rounds, had offers to do something different, and still end up choosing to be home. That is a good thing; you are being consistent. :)

  16. My husband travels a LOT (he is in Ghana right now and will be in France and Ukraine next month). We’ve been doing this for over 15 years now, so you’d think we’d have it all figured out. It still causes tension every now and then though. But, as Angela said, it’s not nearly as hard now as it was when the kids were small. I used to be so excited for him to get home–not only because I missed him but also because he always promised that he would take over care of the kids and give me a break after every big trip. Problem was, he was usually so jet-lagged that he was useless! I finally had to accept that these trips were hard on him too and that I was not going to get much help from him for the first few days after he got home. Letting go of that expectation helped a lot.

    Now that the kids are older, the challenge is that we’ve all learned too well how to manage without him. I think he sometimes feels like a fifth wheel when he gets home from a long trip. Poor guy!

  17. My dh is out of town right now and yesterday afternoon an he was getting ready to go he kept complaining about how much he didn’t want to go. On the one hand I wanted to punch him for lamenting over his restaurants and hotels, but on the other hand, I’m glad he would rather be home.

  18. I think it would be a great idea to take your husband up on some of those offers to “escape.” It’s a good bet that resenting his activities is your psyche’s way of saying that you really ARE needing to take a little more time off for yourself, even if it does feel uncomfortable at first. And don’t feel guilty. In different ways, they will all benefit as much as you do!

  19. Oops, Heather, sorry to be so obtuse. I’m glad all that hissing, spitting and obsessing is just for literary effect.

  20. I was going to say, “If you’re crazy, then so am I,” but I think it might ALSO be a really good idea to take some of these suggestions. — Either do your own thing w/ the husband’s support or quit complaining.

    But I’m pretty sure this post was a plea for sympathy, not solutions. You know your options, you just don’t like any of them (and I’m completely sympathetic with you there. My husband has suggested the day care thing too (probably knowing I’ll say no), and I always am appalled at the very idea!)

  21. Oh, and church alone? Gives me a chance to focus on how lame some of the speakers are and how bad some of the singing is, and . . . Having kids there reminds me that I’m there to worship, not to be entertained.

  22. (This comment violated our commenting standards and has been removed) It sounds like he likes his job. He’s offered you opportunities to take time for yourself. You complain about his good times, but refuse to take any for yourself. How about appreciate what you’ve got, change, or shut your mouth? Everyone else has been way too nice about this.

    My husband travels about three times a year. Sometimes it sucks when he’s gone (like, it’s freezing outside and me and the little ones and I are kind of stuck in our partially-finished-with-the-remodel-condo, and they’re both sick.) and he send pictures of his 800 square foot suite at the Venetian and his awesome convertable Mustang. But when he calls, I tell him how lucky he is to get out, update him on the kids and I tell him how much I love him. This next time we’re dropping the kids at his parents’ place and I’m joining him at his conference. He’ll be busy during the day, but I’ll certainly find something to do. When we’re together, we spend money on babysitters so that we can enjoy time together. Alone.

    If you need “me” time, take up your husband’s offer. Go get a massage, spend an entire day at the spa or the library, or the mall, or whatever. Hire the best nanny in town while he’s gone. Don’t “whine, moan, spit and hiss”. Who wants to be married to that?

  23. My husband has worked away our whole married life of 13 years. Sometimes it is only for a couple of days a week, often for the full week. We went nearly 3 years of him leaving at 6 a.m. on a Monday and returning at 9 p.m. on a Friday. He has fabulous locations, hotels and restaurants. YES, I envy him because I love all that stuff. I found it was harder when the children were tiny, but so much easier now they are school age. We have just found a way to survive without him and get on with our routine, that sounds like we don’t love and need him which we do, but we have to get on with life too. As he is away so much I can’t spend my entire life feeling resentful, and believe me I used to. Have fun while you can and take what opporunities you can. I also have no problem with him knowing that life is difficult some time, after all we all deserve restaurant food, cooked, served and washed up after us!

  24. I have about 6 more weeks until I really know what you mean, but I think I kind of do. I’m faced with the prospect of working full time for 2.5 years while DH gets his degree in (got a suggestion for a major? Insert here!). This will leave my twins home with somebody NOT ME. But all I want to do is be a mommy. I know I will enjoy having adult conversations, and problem solving that doesn’t include screaming until I figure out the problem. But I want to be home to cuddle and make sure things are done “right.”

  25. Get over it!

    Heather, I like you, but seriously you have to get over it. What you are doing to your husband is rude and very unfair. He has offered an alternative and if you won’t take it, or can’t take it, it isn’t his fault. Stop complaining and do something about it.

    I love my kids, but when I have the chance I go..I go and shut the Mommy meter off. Occasionally thoughts will creep into my head, but immediately I cast them out. This trip is for me…not the kids.. and like what was stated above, your children will survive. In fact they might even just have fun with Dad.

    As soon as you can let go of your control YOU might just have fun without them.

  26. I read this Segullah blog all the time but have never commented. I just felt some of the comments made were so harsh. As I sat and read this post, I nodded in agreement with everything thing you said. I am envious when my husband gets to go on trips while I stay home. He would let me do the same in a second, but I would miss my children. Thank you for being brave enough to share these honest feelings, even if some think they are selfish.
    P.S. I think the book club idea is a good one.

  27. At my husband’s previous job, his boss would take them all (like 10 guys total, maybe) out to lunch at least once a week. Sometimes everyday that week. I was jealous because they got to go to Outback or Chilis, though often they just went to Arby’s or Wendy’s (the “expensive fast food” places). The way I dealt with it was to not feel guilty for going to out to lunch with friends or by myself so I didn’t have to make myself something. Usually it was Subway since that’s what I craved while pregnant. At his current job, they go out to lunch much less, but I still know that (if I’ve done a pretty good job with the budget that month) I can go shopping with my daughter or take her to lunch. Then, I get some of the “fun stuff” without having to leave my daughter behind.

  28. Yikes, guys, let’s calm down a little. This is a safe place to discuss and talk, so it’s ok to disagree without calling Heather a hairy ape.

  29. I wondered when the “REPENT YE, GET OVER IT, YOU WHINER” commenters would show up. Thanks for not disappointing me, y’all. Erin telling me I’m headed for divorce is my favorite.

  30. Yes, we are here…ever present..looming over to tell the world of their sins, and proclaim repentance….

    Or….or, we have been here, and through experience we have learned there is no good that comes from blaming husband for problems WE create…

    All of that being said, you are indeed in a place that most women find themselves. Balance takes time and energy that we don’t often want to use up, or put out because of the laundry, the dishes, the dirty house, the gardening yada, yada, yada.

    Switch the roles here, your husband did that to you, complain and carry on like you did, you would probably say shove it! At least he is being nice about it.

  31. My husband has traveled our entire married life – 27 years. He is gone part of every month. It used to be difficult. I was home with young and often sick children while he was staying at 4 Star hotels, and eating at expensive restaurants. Like many others, I made it a point to complain about my stay-at-home life everytime he called home. Until I had that defining moment where I realized his life which, really seemed so glamorous, was harsh in it’s own way. He missed the piano recitals, soccer games, tucking the kids in and all the other remarkable, never to be duplicated moments in our families life. I learned to adjust because I knew he enjoyed his job and was providing for our family.

    I once even told him “you are a pleasant distraction to our kids” because he disrupted our routine when he was home. Now that the kids are older a traveling husband has benefits. We have lots of frequent flyer miles and I can often slip away with him to recharge our marriage.

    To every time there is a season – try to enjoy the one your in – it won’t last forever.

  32. You aren’t crazy. You are normal. I can be jealous of just about anyone who gets to regularly leave the house in nice clothes without tackling three sets of car seat straps, listen to their music in the car, and not have to worry about being thrown up on all day long. Throw in the hotels and restaurants and it can get to be too much. I love my kids, and I love being able to stay home with them, but I have found when Dad is on the road things seem 10 times harder cause you know you have to tackle everything by yourself.

  33. Calling someone a jerk is bad manners.

    Let’s try a little empathy here! Sometimes it’s crappy to feel like somebody gets to have a fun time, and we don’t. Everyone feels like life is unfair at times. No reason to be insulting about that.

    I get totally jealous of my husband every day. He gets to spend an hour in the car all by himself listening to whatever he wants on the radio. No Crazy Frog and Radio Disney. It sounds like a dream come true.

  34. I did not call anyone a jerk!

    I think it is horrible manners that Heather throws a tantrum because
    a. husband gets to leave
    b. he supports her leaving but SHE WON’T

    I have empathy for Heather. It’s a down right crappy place to be in. My husband works out of town 7 months out of the year. We have 3 kids. Pouting doesn’t work. Making him resent you doesn’t work. Throwing a fit doesn’t work. If anything, it makes things worse–for everyone.

    So, when I say get over it, I mean, Heather here is a great big hug, ya I know it sucks, you/we chose to be a stay at home moms and this is what comes with it, get over it hug. It’s life, it’s sacrifice, it’s being a mom. Blaming your husband and making his life miserable is not the solution.

    If you ask him how he feels about you carrying on, I wonder how he would respond.

  35. Can’t say, you didn’t call me a jerk. Erin did.

    And you’re right–throwing a tantrum isn’t helpful. Not at all. My husband hates it, and I know he hates it. Everybody hates it, and I try not to do it (really. I do try.). I suppose I was hoping that other people have felt this same struggle, and how they have handled it OTHER than throwing a tantrum. (And, like I said to Marie, I suppose my leaning towards the literary melodrama may have gotten me into trouble!) Somebody has to earn the money, and sometimes that means traveling. And somebody has to do the laundry, otherwise we’ll all have to go naked. It’s just the life of a SAHM. But it’s the part of being a SAHM that I resent the most. I love my kids and I love being a mom and it makes me sadder than anything that I can’t have more children. Perhaps that’s part of it too–sometimes I feel gypped in both respects. I can’t have the career OR the family I want, whereas DH at least gets to have his career. So I was hoping for some thoughts on how to handle this very common conundrum from women who aren’t as prone to tantrums as I am. That’s all.

    And my husband and I are not on the brink of divorce. Seriously. I think he’s hot.

    I have to say, though, I’ve never gotten a get over it hug. So, you know, thanks for that.

  36. Please remember the commenting guidelines, don’t make me moderate instead of doing my dirty dishes :>

    Ps Heather my husband found your post most amusing and is chuckling here in the office with me–probably because the exact same exchanges take place here–It’s an inner struggle that manifests itself in hotel and resteraunt envy…

  37. This takes me back to when my DH was enjoying being shown around New Orleans when myself and daughter were puking up a lung, love cleanin’ up that vomit! Good times. Then there was the time he got to fly into Denver at however many tens of millions of thousands of feet high with a head cold, something like your head in a vise grip. Not fun. I think on both occasions there was whining on both sides even though one person had the overwhelming right to complain more. But being as how we love each other we both listened and loved. That’s how it works best, even if it doesn’t make sense. That’s how friendships work best too- listening and giving support even if sometimes the complaints don’t completely make sense.

  38. Travel, conventions, going to lunch, networking, building relationships and such are all just part of many jobs. My husband has traveled for much of our married life and 5 years ago I started traveling for work 3-4 times a month.

    My eyes were opened and I won’t lie.

    I like going back to my hotel room and having some alone time, even if it’s sandwiched between late night events and early morning wake up calls. I go to restaurants and it’s nice to order anything on the menu, with someone else paying the bill. Usually the sightseeing is from the airport to the event and back to the airport again. But, I do feel like I’ve seen a great deal of the country. I enjoy the hubby keeping up with the laundry, or keeping the finger on the comings and goings of the house while I’m gone. It can be nice, but it is in most trips are exhausting. Still no big complaints.

    What I do have issue with is spouses that don’t consider the burden that comes with supporting a family. Yes, your husband has a job and it has some perks, but it’s filled with real people, real responsibilties and real worries and concerns. It can be filled with worries of making enough money to cover the expenses of a family, making sure there’s health coverage, kissing up to bosses, deadlines, worries of losing a job, because good work doesn’t alway guarantee you’ll keep your job. All sorts of things happen while your spouse is working. It can all be emotionally and physically draining.

    Then, if you happen to have a wife at home that spend like there’s no tomorrow. Many husbands are having to worry about covering the shopping trips and the spending that goes on at home. Wives that act like this is their god-given right…complaining about their husbands not making enough money. It’s so disrespectful. There are so many husbands out there that can’t please their wives no matter what they do.

    Try to put yourself into your husband’s shoes. I fully know the burden’s of raising a family and how discouraging some days can be. But you are a team and your husband is supporting you and your family and fully willing to help you be happier and fill more fulfilled. Do something that will make a difference in your life and the whole family will be happier. Your husband comes home from a full day at the office… make him a great dinner and get on your way!

  39. I didn’t quite call you a jerk. I described the behavior that you wrote. I don’t know what else to call someone who revels in miserable happenings for her spouse, and attacks with venomous contempt when he’s having a good time.

    If your husband was a garbage man, would you treat him just as horribly if he had a good day at work? Probably not, because that’s pretty much an ugly, thankless job. Not much to be jealous of there. That’s just what the problem is: You are jealous.

    Where is the love, encouragement and support that you should be giving your husband? Does he act like a jerk when you tell him about new things that your kids are learning? Does he moan, grumble, spit and hiss when you tell him how tender your little one is during a sweet moment when they snuggle in and say “I love you, Mommy.”?

    Staying at home is not easy or glamourous, but it has it’s own *daily* opportunities for quiet thanks and gratitude. Your post seemed like nothing other than a big, useless rant. It wasn’t inspiring, uplifting, or encouraging in the Gospel. (For further clarification: this blog is to “encourage literary and artistic talent, provoke thought and promote greater understanding and faith among Latter-Day Saint women. We encourage insightful writings which explore life’s richness and complexity while reflecting faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”)

    If you had included some sort of insight on how *you* were working to overcome this apparent bitterness and jealousy, then we could offer support, encouragement and insight. Perhaps we could then gain from your struggle to reconcile your very common experience with your knowledge of the Atonement.

    All I got was that you needed a wake-up call.

  40. If it makes you feel any better, before we had kids, I had a job that had me traveling quite a bit. Sometimesnow-a-days, when I’m lamenting my husbands exotic travel itineraries, I have to remind myself of the airport hotels, the rushed trips where all you get to see of Hawaii is the lobby of the convention center, the 20 cities in 21 days, dragging luggage all over tarnation, trying to focus on business stuff when all I wanted was to crawl into bed from exhaustion. By the end of many of my trips, all I would want would be a bowl of Cheerios from my own pantry instead of being forced to eat ONE MORE fancy restaurant dinner.

    Even fancy has its limits.

  41. Holy cow, Erin. Heather has already said a number of times that she was engaging in a bit of literary hyperbole in her initial post. Writers do that sometimes. It kicks things up a notch, makes the prose interesting. Whining, moaning, spitting. All excellent active verbs, but according to Heather’s own explanation, to be taken with a grain of literary salt.

    And your statement of condemnation (“You are jealous.”) isn’t really a wake-up call because that’s exactly what Heather’s been saying. “I’m jealous when my husband goes out of town. Am I alone here? What do I do?”

    This is an extraordinarily common problem among women whose husbands travel. I see it all the time, and I’ve experienced it myself, and here at Segullah one of the things we try to do is work through our struggles in an atmosphere of support and mutual respect. While Heather’s post might not have been explicitly “encouraging in the gospel,” it seems to me what she was hoping for was encouragement FROM her sisters in the gospel, which can never be achieved with name calling or issuing vituperative judgements.

  42. Erin, this is our comment policy:

    2. No insults. Please critique the argument, not the person.

    Heather has shared a part of her life with us, a real struggle she has, which definitely “reflects life’s richness and complexity.” Further, her pull towards mothering reflects her commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While not every women with a husband who travels experiences this, I think her story gives us greater understanding for those who do.

    I understand that you disagree with her point of view. But I still feel that what she’s got to say deserves empathy more than attacks.

  43. One again I invite you to please read our commenting guidelines, while we respect differing opinions we like them to be presented in accordance with our blog policy.

    I for one appreciate the “life’s…complexity” of heather’s issue. Obviously her husband’s comment shows this is not dangerously dark ground.

  44. Heather, thanks for the clarification. There is always more to the story than what the original post holds. I know that, and was responding strictly to that, I apologize if it offended you.

    You aren’t alone in how you feel, and you feel this way for a reason. You are experiencing life and the glories of that life. Awhile back I was full head into resentment of being wife/mom/housekeeper, etc. and I couldn’t figure out why, until I realized what the real problem was. I missed my single life, so I had to cry it out. I just had to cry and know that when the time comes for real ‘me’ time that I would take it. It may be a little here and a little there, but take it nonetheless.

    It helped. Cry it out sister, cry, gnash those teeth, say angry words, and then embrace all that you have in being a mother/woman/wife/sister/housekeeper/vomit remover/septic tank finder, and know we are all out here doing it to. :)

  45. Erin, you pretty much called me a jerk. Not to my face, though, as I don’t have a picture of me up here, so I’m not all that offended. Go forth with faith sister.

    Lucy, I would love to play some tennis.

    Can’t say, do I know you IRL?

      1. I meant, no,(I was confused for a sec on what IRL meant, but now I know) but maybe you do. Where are you from?

  46. Ah, if you have to ask, we probably don’t know each other in real life. (IRL) I just figured your anonymity was because you and I know each other, and you didn’t want to reveal yourself.

  47. confession: I do post under a different name *hangs head in shame* but seriously, I really do like your writing.

  48. You sound completely normal to me.

    Totally mixed-up and frustrated being completely normal for everyone on this mortal coil. *lol*

    I think you need to find a balance. A job might be too much time away from your babies but a class — maybe one of the continuing education classes offered by your local school board? The ones in my area meet once or twice a week for a month or two. I keep meaning to take one of the sewing courses. Also auto maintenance/repair. But it take away too much of my much-needed quiet time after work. So maybe I’m just as crazy as you. ;)

  49. For clarification, all that appeared in the comments before my second response was Heather’s first line. “Can’t say, you didn’t call me a jerk. Erin did.” My reply would have probably been different after having seen your further explanation. I am sorry for the misunderstanding and for any hurt I have caused.

    Unappreciative wives are a pet-peeve of mine (right next to people who complain about their kids…while their kids are right there). The more honest praise and lovin’ you give your husband, the happier you’ll both be.

    Now I’ll respond to your real questions.

    First, make it a matter of prayer. No, not that he’ll have a horrible trip (kidding), but that you will have peace, love and appreciation in your heart for your husband while he is gone. Have you gone through the Sunday School checklist? Are you saying your prayers, reading your scriptures, attending the temple and serving others? Darn that list, there’s always something more that we have to do to draw closer to the Savior. The closer you are to Him, the further you’ll be from those nasty feelings.

    You have to drop the tantrums. Cold turkey. It’s okay to complain about a bad day. But, relationships are two way, but you must be willing to make the first *good* move. By this I mean, apologizing, being gracious, giving praise, serving. Love more. No one appreciates a whiner.

    Find something that you can do for yourself. Seriously, a massage is something you can step away from your kids for. It takes an hour and a half with travel time usually. Get one once a week and be the envy of everyone. Or take a class. Do you still need to “mommy justify” it? Take a sewing or knitting class like has been suggested. You can make stuff for the kids. I go to the gym. Five or six days a week, early in the morning when my husband’s schedule permits. Otherwise, I can drag the kids during the day and dump them with some nice ladies in a fun place for an hour or so. (The YMCA has great prices.)

    All the best.

  50. I love me a good hyperbole. (And I’m leaving it at that.)

    I guess I could feel guilty here, having just returned from a trip to San Francisco while my post-op husband dealt with the two youngest kids and broken plumbing. But I don’t. He wanted me to go and I did and we both survived.

    Of course chaperoning 80 plus high school band kids isn’t really a vacation, but I did enjoy the view of the bay from my hotel room and having someone else make my bed and cook my breakfast.

    Hang in there Heather O. Teenagers will crack you up mercilessly and there will never be a dull moment.

  51. I can’t have the career OR the family I want, whereas DH at least gets to have his career.

    I’m empathizing, particularly with the latter. (With my health I couldn’t work if I wanted to….)

    And, ahem, sometimes venting to girlfriends (as in, perhaps, on a blog) can be a way to NOT go back and vent so much on one’s hubby. (I can’t help but wonder if the same responses would have existed if the conversation on the phone had been left out.)

    But in the end, to me this post isn’t about the vent, it is about how complex life can be when you have different parts of you pulling at each other, and you are trying to figure all of that out. To sort out one’s personal pre-mom identity with motherhood, to know what to do with talents and dreams along the way, to be so connected by and drawn to your kids that you can’t bear to leave them, to have to face the day-to-day grind that can be so draining and difficult to find value and purpose in (yeah, it’s there, but sometimes it’s hard to feel!)…and to have all of that hitting at once?

    This, from all I can tell, is SO common, ESPECIALLY in our day when women have so many options to choose from. It’s a blessing and a curse all at once.

    Life is complex, and that is what this post, to me, is ultimately about.

    And now that I read it again, I’m sorry I shared any advice at all, because I just understand the struggle and I KNOW you are not alone (whether in specifics about how hard it is to have to care for everything at home while hubby is away to aching for aloneness at church to being drawn to little ones even when you are alone, to….)

  52. My husband is gone right now with military duty, which means I’m doing the single-momma thing with five children. I am so thankful to be home with them, and not where he is. He is alone, and I get the hugs. Yes, I also get the 15 loads of laundry a week, and the hours in the car driving kids all over town, and the mac and cheese for dinner, and the baby who’s in destructo-mode all the time, but then come the hugs…

    He hasn’t been gone long, and he won’t be gone much longer, but can I tell you how sad I was when my kindergartener came home with a valentine addressed only to Mom, not to Mom and Dad? The things DH misses make me sad for him, and then I can let go of the stress and tension and resentment that builds up over all that alone time that he’s experiencing. Just let me have my hugs, thank you very much.

  53. I really truly should be sleeping, but now that I’ve made it through the 67 comments I can’t resist adding my own sleepy two cents.

    Even though my husband gets to go to some exotic locations when he travels, in my case I guess my loathing of his having to travel has far more to do with wishing he were at home to help me with the kids and household than wishing I could be in his place. He doesn’t try to conceal from me the fun things about his trips, but he’s also told me about the things that are less fun: worrying that the presentations he has to make won’t go well, sometimes losing grant money over internal politics, helping poorly-prepared or less-than-stellar grad students polish *their* presentations, sometimes skipping the nice restaurant meals to finish preparing for a presentation, and sometimes never seeing the outside of the conference hotel. And he enjoys the freedom but also misses his family. It’s not that he hates traveling, but it’s *all* fun and games. For my part, when we talk on the phone while he’s away, I do tell him everything that’s been hard (sick kids or whatever else goes wrong) but I don’t think I do it in a blaming wa,y and he has learned that as long as he listens and empathizes, that’s all I need. It does me SUCH a world of good when he just reflects back what I’ve said: “Wow, that does sound like you had a hard day. Thank you so much for taking care of the kids while I’m gone.” When he says those kinds of things to me I forget all my woes and even feel proud of myself for surviving.

    I do also let myself slack while he’s gone — I take the kids out for fast food a lot, I let the house get messy, etc. And I can NEVER get to bed on time when he’s away; I just have some psychological block about it. Oddly, I do often find myself trying to get everything nice before he gets back — and when I say oddly, I mean it’s odd that I care to do that since he does know how hard it is for me to be a single parent and is not going to expect to come home to perfection. I think I do it because I like having an audience for my best efforts, so I’m motivated to try so that I can show off if I succeed. But if he comes home to a clean house I think of that as bonus, not as a requirement.

    For me your husband’s suggestions for a break (taking a class, etc.) to me would have felt a little too much like tasks or assignments, which would feel like too much if I were already overwhelmed — not that I don’t think he means them in the kindest way, but personally that is how they might feel if my husband made those suggestions to me. But, I do STRONGLY recommend taking him up on making sure you get regular time off — not necessarily to accomplish anything at all, but just to be away alone or with girl friends. I really have to force myself to take these times, and often at first have a hard time figuring out what to do with myself, but once I’ve been away from the house for a few minutes ideas start to come. I like to go to a bookstore and browse, go to the library, go to a park and write in my journal, go hang out at my mom’s house and talk with her, etc. Your mileage may vary but every person needs SOME alone time.

    Also: my husband has a conference that’s in Hawaii once every four years. He’d already gone twice and this past fall was to be the third time. The previous two times I hadn’t gone (didn’t want to bring young kids and be stuck alone with them in hotel, couldn’t afford it, etc.) but I’d always complained bitterly. This time we could *technically* afford it, and could possibly arrange babysitting. But every time we talked about it I’d get overwhelmed with what it would cost and how hard it would be to arrange, so we’d drop the subject, even though he’d told me he did need to buy tickets soon. Then one day he came home and told me he’d bought his ticket — and I burst into tears. He said, “I thought you didn’t want to come,” and I said, “I DO want to come, I just don’t know HOW we could do it.” We talked about it all evening and then he came up with the (brilliant, even inspired) idea of hiring a young couple in our ward to watch our kids. We looked into it, worked it out, and in the end I went on the trip with him. I had great inner conflict on spending that much money just for me to have a vacation, and it was a huge amount of work to get everything ready for us both to be gone, but your post makes me realize that I’m so glad I did — now I don’t have to say that Dean went to Hawaii THREE times without me. And I really did have a great time. I didn’t even miss the kids that much. (Actually I’m kind of lucky that way — I mostly adore my kids when I’m with them, but forget all about them when I’m gone. It’s possibly sociopathic of me maybe, but convenient for enjoying trips. And the kids are SO cute when I get home.)

    Anyway, thanks for letting me ramble in your comments. And good luck figuring out how to reconcile your jealousy against your preference to stay home; I do hope you’ll find some solutions and relief.

    Oh, one more thought — I liked what someone said (I think it was Michelle) about how she’d had to give up the idea of her husband making it up to her when he got home. I’ve gone through that too — when I finally accepted that, in spite of his good intentions, he just didn’t have the ability to make it come out even, it was actually a relief to just let that go and stop keeping score. (Of course, if I *were* keeping score, going to Hawaii with him definitely tipped the scales back in my favor.)

  54. Woops, up there somewhere it should say that my husband’s traveling is NOT all fun and games. (There are other typos and extra words and stuff in there, but that’s the only mistake that really confuses the meaning of what I was trying to say. I think.)

  55. Didn’t have time to read all the other comments, so hopefully I’m not saying something that has been repeated umpteen times. :) When my husband travels (once or twice a year for a week at a time), I get jealous too, and his protestations that he hates being without us and having to eat at fancy restaurants and sleep in those clean, quiet hotel rooms, with HDTV and continental breakfasts, just make me madder, because I would dearly love to trade places with him.

    What I do to keep the jealousy under control is indulge in my own luxuries. I call it my mini-vacation. The kids get frozen pizza and tv dinners most nights when he’s traveling. I rent videos for them and spend my time reading or playing on the computer. I take the kids out to eat at child-friendly restaurants. Unfortunately, I can’t get maid service, but I would if I could figure out how to afford it!

    It doesn’t take away all the resentment, but it does make it livable. I don’t feel so cheated and left out if I am getting some of the same things he is getting.

  56. The feelings I get on reading this post are so horrible. I have never seen anything so negative on Segullah, although I have only been reading it for a few weeks. Usually everyone is supportive. Those of us with workaway husbands do struggle sometimes. We can’t help it, it is part of life with it. We miss the love, the support and everything that comes with it. We are grateful that they work to support their families. But, let’s face it ladies we are only human. Also it really is hard being a SAHM sometimes too, the guilt when you leave them, particularly when they are tiny can be immense. Please cut us all some slack. I feel that every comment made was aimed at me and it’s not even my post!!!!!!!! Love needed, not criticsm.

  57. Zina, I liked what you had to say. About your real struggle to go to Hawaii and doing it anyway and loving it. I don’t think you’re a sociopath for not obsessing over the kids when you’re away- I don’t either. I get a break so seldom I really let them go when I’m gone. It takes a day or two to shirk off the mantle of mother and find myself as a woman then I’m good to go!

    I agree about not making your hubby make it up to you, not possible, it’s not about keeping score. That is a battle both sides are sure to loose throughout marriage.

    IMHO the reason this battle becomes so heated is because this is such an individual issue. Families are SO different! Size, income, living quarters, personalities, health, ages, etc. all those things go into the equation of how to solve mommy burnout. The best way to solve it is with spouses consulting together for a solution. You can consider the things other people do, but don’t think you have to do what they do. But for heavens sake if you are unhappy DO SOMETHING!

  58. Simply in response to Erin’s claim that the blog is supposed to “promote greater understanding and faith among Latter-Day Saint women,” I think that one of the greatest mistakes we all make is to not validate one another’s struggles. Whether we agree with how they got there or not, our role is to encourage one another and point each other to the Savior, who is the only one who can help us “fix” anything. It is pompous and prideful to say to anyone, “all you have to do is this…” and then point out what they’re doing wrong. It’s a hard lesson I’ve learned with my own siblings because I always think I have the answer. It’s not constructive. A recent quote I came across that helps me to temper my pride a little is “”Help me not to judge too harshly those who choose to sin differently than I do.” So having said that… Heather, I know what you mean. The other day my husband told me about his prime rib lunch and I felt jealous too. The fact that you don’t want to do other stuff because you want to be with you kids shows you do love them. I happen to believe that there’s a season for all things too, and I’m trying hard all the time to be more grateful and appreciative for the season I’m in right now. Main point: you’re not alone in this. Hang in there.

  59. Maybe part of the problem here is what are perceived to be the default roles. Your husband’s default role is to be the breadwinner and go to work each day; yours is to stay home, take care of household needs, and be the primary caretaker of your children. So when your husband suggests getting a sitter or altering schedules so that you can take a class, that feels like you are not holding up your end of the bargain or asking for an accommodation. Maybe it would help if you both tried thinking about all the things that need to be done (earning money, raising children, cleaning the house) as on the the table, ready to be divided up, with no assumptions coming from default or assumed roles.

  60. I know exactly what you mean, Heather O. My mom just volunteered to stay at my house and take care of my two kids for a long weekend so my husband and I could fly to Texas and be at a good friend’s wedding. I’d just finished complaining that my husband got to go without me. I just sat there dumbfounded for a minute and tried to think of an excuse not to go. I have to mentally prepare myself to leave the kids for any length of time.

    That sounds really sick when I read over it, but I’ve got a real Helsinki Syndrome thing going on with my “little captors” here. I finally begged off because of the cost of last minute airfare, but a little part of me fantasizes about what it would be like to go. These kids sure have me wrapped around their little fingers. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  61. just visiting, you totally nailed it. You are exactly right about the assumed role thing, and the feeling that if I need a break, it must mean that I’m not holding up my end of the bargain, which feels kind of unfairly stacked in my husband’s favor in the first place. Thanks.

    And thanks for the support from all the other commentors. I am sorry that this turned into something that has made so many people uncomfortable. OFr my part in that, I apologize.

  62. It sounds like you are a wonderfully dedicated mother. The world needs more women who are willing to make the sacrifices to raise their children themselves. I commend you. However, if you desire intellectualism, and you husband is supportive, then I think it could possibly make you an even better wife and mother to feed your needs. If taking a course at a university is what you want, then it will likely take 3 hours a week plus travel time, and then homework/studying you can fit in at convenient times at home. If you are able to find someone suitable to watch your kids for 3-5 hours a week, and if it will make you feel more satisfied, then please do it. If feeding your needs will help you love your husband more and resent him less, help you cherish the wonderful moments with your children more, then take advantage of these opportunities.

    It seems like your heart is in the right place. You seem to have your highest priorities in order. It is just my opinion that meeting your own physical and intellectual needs will allow you to better give of yourself to care for your family.

  63. You’re welcome. Glad it was a bit helpful. One further thought (related to “everything is on the table”): The choices you and your husband have made for the 9 to 5 hours (SAHM and not-SAHD) don’t have to govern the 5 to 9 hours as well. There’s no default rule — there’s just a lot of work that needs to be divided. Both of you have put in a hard day, so neither one of you is more entitled to a “break” in the evening than the other. So maybe he takes care of dinner and bed on Monday so that you can go to yoga, and you take care of dinner and bed on Tuesday so that he can read uninterrupted; you take over on the Friday overnight while he’s out of town, and he takes over on the Monday overnight so that you can spent the night visiting friends in the city. You have sole “responsibility” for 9 to 5 because that’s how you have decided to divide the labor; don’t feel guilty if you decide to divide 5 to 9 differently.

  64. just visiting, I love what you have said, and to me, that is about the best simple summary of how ‘equal partnership’ can work with gender roles — BOTH work hard in their “separate” roles during the day, but “from 5 to 9″ is something that can (and is, imo) always in flux, and can be determined how best to meet the needs of the family.

    There’s lots of room for lots of variation even within the traditional role structure.

    And Heather, I so hear you with the feeling like you aren’t keeping up on your side. My husband recently took over a part of the housecleaning (and did a bang-up job, I might add) that had previously been ‘my’ job (which, esp because of health situations, really wasn’t getting done). And every time I saw that space for the first little while, it seemed to symbolize my failure.

    These last few comments really helped me realize all the more how important it is for us as a couple to evaluate and re-evaluate and be willing to really be partners, rather than dividing things so much in our minds that we really don’t just do what makes sense.

    (I think some of that comes from the fact that BOTH of us are ALWAYS drowning in all that needs to be done, so it’s easy to have things slide or to gravitate more to what we do all day and keep that going almost out of habit into the night. And often, as such, it’s the same things that slide over and over (one part of the house that becomes unbearably neglected, or some couple time, or some m&m by herself time, or….)

  65. I don’t have kids yet. But these are great ideas to help me deal with the reality of becoming a SAHM. I can’t lie. I’m scared. I don’t know if I have the dedication, determination, and creativity to deal with kids. And I have this fear that I will be jealous and upset with my husband all the time because I will think SAHM life is miserable (it’s irrational, I know). I will DEFINITELY remember that 5-9 thing on dividing up the work left to be done. And until SAHM life hits me, I’ll keep reading Segullah and pumping myself up. I consider it kind of like lifting weights for motherhood.

  66. Amanda,

    You are not alone. And if you are like me, you simply may not have all it takes, or all you think it takes. Or at least not at first. I think one of the biggest fallacies about SAHMhood or motherhood at all is that somehow we are automatically qualified, and if we aren’t, that means we shouldn’t be doing it. But imo, our growth is part of the program, too.

    Ten years into it and I can honestly say that I think I have made progress, and that makes me have hope for the next decade. (I’m scared that I’ll mess up my teens in some way or something…so each stage challenges us in new ways, no?)

    FWIW. Just know that it’s ok if you don’t do it all right. None of us does!! :)

  67. My husband is gone so much I tease him that he’s not sure if he works for Marriott or Delta. And while I do sometimes get jealous that he’s getting to eat at nice restaurants and seeing different places, the fact is that most of the time he goes from the job site to the hotel and he pulls long hours. He misses out on a lot of the things that happen at home, and while I’m used to him being gone, sometimes it really stinks. And it is not fair that he’s eating at Tommy Bahamas and I’m lucky to swing Taco Bell. However, I get to stay at home with my daughter, and while that sometimes can get a little old, I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

  68. I have to say that I am a little surprised at some of the responses to a reasonable question. I stay home with my children as well and I have had these moments many times. My husband’s career, chosen long before we married, has always meant traveling. Sometimes it is for a few days, sometimes (like now) it means 6 weeks of travel when we miss him terribly. I remember days of whining and being really upset about the travel. Honestly, I have my days when I wish I could be out with friends and have the “freedom” that he enjoys on these trips. And then he calls. And I hear how worn out he is and much he wants to come home. Sure, he enjoys some parts of it else he wouldn’t keep taking these jobs, but it has its drawbacks as well. Your question; however, isn’t about him. It’s about you, and your time at home. It is an ageless question and one that could be asked by any one of us at any time. While I don’t think that the whining approach is helpful, as you have acknowledged, I don’t think that pretending it’s ok, or “getting over it”, would help you either. So, I appreciate your question as it is one that I have worked with for many, many years.

    People ask me all the time how I handle these trips. How do I do this by myself? How can I be ok with all of the time away? The truth is that it is simply where we are and we have learned how to still be a team even when he is away. Sure, the manual labor that comes with a family is enough to make me pull my hair out as it is simply not my thing. But it is part of the life we chose. But I imagine that you know that, too.

    So, my answer is not as faithful as to say “pray about it” or study your scriptures more, though very good ideas. It is not to compress it all into getting a massage or go to the library, again, worthy endeavors. I had to find a way to enjoy the every day stuff of this life with these kids because before you know it they will be moving on and asking these same questions of themselves. There won’t be little faces to wipe and little hugs to give. I spent too many years begrudging the time my husband had away and all he wanted was to be home. So, I work to be grateful even when it is so hard to do. I know all too well how hard it can be as I have many bad days myself. Many. But, I slow things down for all of us, ignore the laundry and the dishes for awhile and just relax into the warmth of this home and life he is away working to provide us. Stopping the world for a few hours is not always easy or practical, but when you can say that you would rather be home with these little creatures than away doing anything else, you will simply apologize to your husband that he has to miss the fun and love that will be home waiting for him when he returns.

  69. I loved this post. My husband is self employed and some times has some down time during the day.. and I always find myself thinking .. he should come home and help during those times. But even with 4 small kids.. I don’t do ‘work’ all day.. I find time for blogging and reading and sometimes even a nap. Why shouldn’t he take a break during the day too?? Well if he does.. I don’t want to hear about it.

    And he’s just like your husband. He goes immediately into fix it mode.. when sometimes I don’t want the problem solved I just want to complain about it. Is that so wrong? (again.. not looking for the truth here just wanting to be heard:)

    I’ve said many times that since becoming a mother I’ve lost the ability to truly relax.. unless my kids are asleep and I’m in the same house as they are. Vacations with out them? ooohh.. so much they are missing out on! Classes? Workshops? But this time is so precious with them! And although I sometimes complain about no me time.. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  70. My husband is a traveler. He has been in Mexico City all week. I am not jealous….at all. He is so tired when he gets home. He is up all night doing email that he can’t get to during the day, and all he really wants is to be home with us. He doesn’t have too many fancy trips that include things that have been mentioned like Snorkeling, but he has gone to Hong Kong for the day or even to DisneyWorld. I still would never trade places with him. He works hard. His boss is mean (I would never survive) and my best days are weekends when we are home all together.

    That said, we are all different and need different things. I have never really needed to get away from my kids. I still don’t. We are working on going out as a couple and leaving the kids behind (they are old enough to stay home alone), but we like them and they like us and we know our time with them is short.

    You should give one of those things a try. Taking a class doesn’t sound like it would take you away too much. Do a few things here and there and maybe that will help you better handle the business trips.

  71. I have not the time to read preceding comments. I hope something I say will be helpful and/or thought provoking and not too redundant. :)

    FIRST, I REALLY enjoyed your post!

    My husband doesn’t travel to exotic locations (ever!). He “just” works 2 jobs that take him away from our home life for at least 12 hours daily – MOST days. Even though he doesn’t travel, I still feel a bit jealous (when I allow myself to think about it) that he gets to speak like an adult to many other adults for a good percentage of his waking hours! Additionally, and something that causes me even more guilt than the previous bit, is the fact that I sometimes feel jealous of his time alone in the van as he travels to and from a job to another job and/or home! I don’t actually want to be away from my children MOST of the time, but I still feel that nagging ache to not be fully responsible for them and ALL that homemakering with homeschooling entails.

    You obviously KNOW and understand these sentiments and it’s really wonderful to read a post by someone willing and courageous enough to share such unpopular (seemingly so since no one talks about it!) feelings and ideas! Thank you for helping me know that I’m not the only one hiding my jealousy from my friends and sisters and feeling a bit of resentment to boot.

    To answer the question… I’ve found that one of my Mom’s general coping mechanisms is very helpful to me for this specific problem. I have to, simply, not allow myself to THINK about it! For someone who can’t shut off the thoughts far TOO often (causing sleep problems galore!), this is a great challenge – especially on those days when it feels like the devil is riding my back not just sitting on my shoulder… but the effort to distract myself is worth it because I believe there really is NOT anything to be DONE about it.

    You see, DH tolerates being away from our kiddos better than I did when I worked (and we only had one, way back then). I tolerate the mind-numbing repetitions inherent in homemakering better than he has for the short stints he’s mostly taken over (like after our most recent baby was born)… We are in our correct, appropriate, and fitting roles and I just have to think about OTHER things! Like feeling grateful for women bloggers with whom I can feel a kinship somehow stronger than I can often feel with women I see daily because here, in the blogosphere, you REALLY share deep thoughts and difficult feelings!!! ^_^

    Please forgive my verbosity.

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