“You’re so lucky!”
“You don’t have to wake up early to help with breakfast or do that extra load of laundry!.”
“You don’t have to deal with a man-child every single day!”
These are only some of the few things I keep hearing from friends and family on account of how my husband is only home on the weekends.
After almost two and a half years of marriage, I only smile in response. There is of course no benefit in pointing out how I’d gladly trade my husband’s job with their spouse’s, so I could have him home every single day. Only people who live separately are truly able to understand what it means to hug your beloved goodbye every Monday morning, knowing the next time you get to see them is after five long days and nights.
It Wasn’t Always Like This, at First
Even before getting married, I knew I would have to live without my husband because he had switched jobs right after we got engaged. Maybe I should have taken the hint then and there—but the guy truly loves and misses me when we’re apart. Now that we have a beautiful baby girl, going back to work every Monday has become even tougher. The move was necessary for future career success and we both believed it would be temporary.
Sadly, things don’t work out as you desire and my husband has been unable to find another job within the main city. He’s been trying his hardest and applying pretty much everywhere, but we’ve both stopped questioning our circumstances and have left it to fate. That most certainly does not mean it has become any easier.
This Is What It’s Like to Be on Your Own
I’ll be candid: Being on your own during the week is not the piece of cake it may seem. If you’ve been through this, you can relate. It’s not that you just miss the extra help and the free drives everywhere—it’s the small things that tug at you each and every single day: The loving smiles, the bear-tight hugs, the patient listening ear, the sudden playful tickling or the sense of constant comfort and absolute warmth. And let’s not forget the minute arguments and nonsensical fights that generally end quickly because staying angry for too long is almost impossible.
There are also the bigger things: Sitting alone at night, awake with a crying baby because she can’t sleep, little to no free time as because there’s just too much work to do, not getting any outside chores completed because the supermarket is pretty far. (I don’t know how to drive and going alone with the little one is immensely difficult on my own.) The worst parts for me though are those moments when I’m exhausted to the bone and there is no one to hold my hand and tell me how much my efforts mean to our little family. With just a single sentence, my husband is able to charge me back up. But he isn’t there to say them because we barely talk through the weekdays.
When my husband isn’t home, it’s like all the lights have dimmed down. I notice this most when he gets back, because laughing, talking and daily tasks become so much easier and more natural—it’s like all the gloom has been sucked out of the environment and things have brightened up when he returns.
And Baby Made Three
Since our baby birth, it seems letting my husband go after every weekend has gotten harder still—for both of us. He envies how I have the baby with me while all he has are photos and videos of our daughter on his phone. I understand, but even so I believe men simply don’t feel as deeply as women do—so I stick to the mantra of “I miss you more.” He knows I’m right, so he only laughs.
Our daughter is the joy of both our lives, but raising babies on your own is no easy task. They demand the best of you and pretty much drain you of most of your energy. I feel I am not enough as I try to keep up with her growing needs. And I know that for me, doing it all alone is both—and depressing sometimes, too.
It’s the times when I want to simply throw down everything and cry at the top of my lungs alongside my daughter is exactly when I need my husband to be here the most. The times when she refuses to sleep or eat is when I need him to take charge and handle things in his level-headed way. This is the reason why God created parents in pairs: When one has had enough, the other can step in.
I love seeing the two of them together. My husband is the most caring and gentle dad I know and our daughter is definitely the love of his life—after me of course! It breaks my heart to see that she is not as close to him as she could be if he were living with us the whole week. I’m hoping that as she grows up she realizes just how special a place she has in her father’s heart and reciprocates the affection.
This Is What Keeps Us Going
To all those who think life becomes easier when you are living away from your spouse, here’s a little tidbit: The grass seems greener when it’s on the other side. Don’t tell couples like us how relaxed or uncomplicated things are for us. Most have no idea how families like us would change our situation within the blink of an eye.
A marriage is about companionship, support and being there for one another—not just for the big life events but the small daily affairs. It is about laughing together and fighting on the most insignificant of things. It’s about telling each other just how much you mean to the other, whether through words, a simple touch or just a glance. These gestures reinforce that, no matter how tough or unpleasant it may get, you two will stick together every single day. Marriage is about being together—when you can!
My husband and I continue to strive for a tomorrow that enables us to be with each other, raising our baby together. Hope keeps us going. As for those of you who have your spouses with you, be thankful. Show them love and let them know how much their presence matters.
For the ones like me, hold on. You will get through this, too.