It never fails. My husband packs his bags for work and gets on his merry way. He arrives safely and everyone back home (my two kids and me) are settling into daddy being gone — and BAM! You know what hits the fan. At first, it was kind of comical. He leaves, and Mommy gets stuck dealing with whatever can go wrong that week or month. Now, it’s just downright frustrating and is starting to make me resentful.
I know it’s not his fault; he doesn’t wish these things upon us, but I’m getting a little tired of almost always having to deal with all the emergencies by myself.
Let me give you a few examples.
When my older son was around 5 years old, and I was about 11 weeks pregnant, his work took him to Mexico. I went for a regular checkup at my OB/GYN, and there was no heartbeat. I had to drive myself home and wait for the worst. I was in pain, shock, scared, anxious, and alone. I couldn’t exactly curl up in a ball and not parent. A good friend came and picked up my son in the thick of it, and my mom cared for me until my husband could make it home.
Another time, I had been unwell for a few weeks. I decided to pop into the emergency room after I dropped my son off at summer camp. I figured I’d get some meds and be done in time for pick up. The next thing I knew, I was being taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital to have an emergency appendectomy. I called my husband, who was in Canada, by the way, and broke the news. From the stretcher, I had to figure out who would get my son from camp and care for him while I recovered from surgery and who would pick me up and drive me home. By the time I had my appendix removed, got home, and put my son and myself to bed, my husband made it home just before midnight.
Earlier this year, as my husband was walking out the door to fly to California for two weeks, we found out a few of our older son’s friends that he was with the weekend before had tested positive for COVID-19. Panic set in. Does he still go to California? What if my son gets really sick? What if I catch it and am too sick to care for the kids? How will I work and take care of the kids at home? Same story, different week.
Just this past weekend, I started having severe back and stomach pain. The panic immediately set in — who was going to take care of the kids if something major goes wrong, because… wait for it… my husband is out of town. I called my mom, who thankfully lives nearby, and she rushed over so I could go to urgent care. I really didn’t want to go to the ER because I knew it wouldn’t be a quick visit. Go figure, urgent care sent me to the ER. I spent 4–5 hours there and was sent home with painkillers and muscle relaxers. I wish it was that easy — pop a pill, go to bed, and rest all night. Not so much with two young children in the house, so I toughed it out until my husband was able to get home a day-and-a-half later.
And it’s not always medical emergencies. I was very pregnant with our second child when the toilet decided to overflow into half of our downstairs. I had gone pee for what seemed like the millionth time that day, and the handle had gotten stuck. A few minutes later I walked back in to grab something from the bedroom and see water seeping into the kitchen and hallway. I turned the water off at the valve and sat down in the inches-high water and just sobbed. I knew this was not going to be an easy fix — and I’d have to handle the insurance, repair guys, carpet removal, etc. alone.
To be honest, I knew there would be a price to pay when he took a job that required a lot of travel and I worked full-time myself, but after 7+ years, it’s taking a toll on me (and the kids). He does his best to be supportive from thousands of miles away and most of the time is able to catch a flight home, but it’s never easy — on either of us.
I am grateful every day for my village of family, friends, and neighbors who come to my rescue when things go wrong and Daddy is out of town, again.