Why Can't I Handle My Husband's Travel?
By Rita Arens on March 24, 2014
BlogHer Original Post
There's this thing going on in my life right now that I keep wanting to write about and keep feeling like I can't.
Here's the thing I want to write about: My husband has been on week-long business trips every week but two since the end of January. During the two weeks he was not on business trips, my father-in-law died and then we were on vacation. I haven't seen him on a normal Wednesday since the beginning of 2014.
That's what I want to write about, because that condition is shaping my entire life right now. Here are the reasons I feel like I can't:
- I don't want to hurt his feelings by complaining publicly about a situation we're in because of him. Even though it's not his fault—this is his job. He didn't ask to be sent away for weeks on end, and he is trying his best to do right by his client and his employer and also get through this part of the project as succinctly as possible.
- There are lots of people who are bona fide single parents or whose spouses are gone for months at a time who (in my mind) will look at me whining and tell me I suck and this stretch of work travel doesn't even qualify me for the U.S. team in the Great Olympics of Suffering.
- He's not in physical danger (any more than anyone is) while he's gone, unlike spouses who are deep undercover or fighting fires or in the military. He's just not here.
- I'm privileged to begin with, and I know it, so I always feel guilty about whining even as I go ahead and do it, anyway.
- I only have one child. I always lead with "I only have one child" when I'm thrashing myself for whining, because my amount of chaos as a parent is so low compared to those I know who have multiple children that I feel like I should be able to handle anything with one hand tied behind my back.
- I'm feeling anxious anyway, and whenever I start going through a period of high anxiety, I overreact to everything. Even my startle reaction amps up. The other day on my run I saw a dead deer, screamed, involuntarily jumped three feet to the left and nearly had a heart attack. Heaven forbid you tap me on the shoulder when I am not expecting it. This is purely physical and not something I have control over, but it's pretty embarrassing. I know when I startle easily I am going to whine faster.
And here I am, writing about it anyway. My husband left again this morning a few hours ago, and there's been a knot in my stomach ever since. As my daughter watched him drive away, she said, "When he started traveling, I didn't realize it was going to get this hard," and my heart shattered again after I'd spent all weekend sticking it back together. The depth of their amazing relationship can be a pit she falls into when he's not there to read with her at night. Last week she took an hour and a half to fall asleep after hugging the iPad we'd been Facetiming on, and it. was. so. hard. to. watch.
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