It's always a struggle when I have to go out of town for work. Or at least it always was. Now I try to schedule my travel for when the kids are with their mother. There is the pressure to bring home enough money or do what you need to do to ensure that you are financially secure. When you are salaried, you cannot equate the amount of time to the amount of money you bring in but you know that you have to be gone or else the money will disappear. When you are hourly or contract you can more easily see the connection which is both a curse and a blessing.
Your response should not be that he is busy. Tell the kids that he has to work. And the reason he has to work is so that they can have the things they want, the food, clothes and house they need. Try not to make it seem like it is a choice between being with them or choosing to be away.
And he needs to really make an effort to spend more time at home too if his schedule can allow for it. That alone can be very stressful, feeling the pull of work and the pull of being with the family, but working from 6am - 11 pm will put him in an early grave.
And I firmly believe that it is not your responsibility to entertain the kids. You have enough pressures on you being a full time mother and a full time teacher. They can find stuff to do.
- Mahatma Gandi
I probably sound like an ungrateful witch.
Not at all. Given all you are responsible for, I believe you have valid concerns. I think your BH needs to decide what is more important here. From what you describe, he isn't being an involved father. He's being a sperm donor who occasionally sees the kids. Eventually, your kids are going to realize that.
Isn't there some saying about the amount of time your kids spend with you as adults is in direct proportion to the amount of time you spend with them as kids? If so, your husband is going to be in for a rude awakening.
"Some of us don't see people how they are but how we need them to be".....quote from Uncertainone
If he can't be home, can he do something like write them little notes to open while you're having dinner? My H used to do this while he was travelling (he'd leave a bowl of them and they'd pick one to open each night). Can he call or text or Skype for a few minutes while you guys are having dinner?
I think lack of daddy time is the first issue, but is it possible that them not being busy enough a secondary one? Most of the home schooling families I know are extremely busy-- they spend time with other home schooling families doing educational trips and playgroups, and they have their kids involved in a lot of sports and/or community/volunteer activities, partly for social reasons and partly to add structure to their day. If you have an activity from 3-5 or 4-6 a couple of days a week, by the time you get home and have dinner, bath, reading/homework, the kids are pretty exhausted, there's not so much downtime to fill.
I hope you guys can resolve this in a way that feels good for everyone.
Is it really the case that the 4 or 5 hours he would have to put aside to make that happen is the difference between sinking or swimming financially?
Brooke, I've kind of gone against the typical homeschooling grain. I'm not involved in clubs, groups, co-ops, or anything else. We've been very simplistic in our approach. I have several friends that have events and stuff scheduled literally every day. Their kids are worn out. The parents are harried. I did't want that for us. I didn't want us so busy with "stuff" that we didn't have time to be a family. Well, we're not really much of a family now anyway, despite my best intentions.
I know there's a balance too. I've realized that. And I'm looking into programs to put the kids in. It will give me some down time if they have an hour long class or soccer or something. Give me a chance to catch my breath.
FWIW, there was a "come to Jesus" last night in a very matter of fact, this plan isn't working, there are two solutions, let me know what you think, kind of way. Very one sided conversation. He didn't say a word. But I've put it out there. He can make his choice. Otherwise, I'll make mine.
Also, the children put their first entries in their journals last night. Cutest. Thing. Evarrrr! Oh my gosh, these things are going to be pure gold when the kidlets are much older. That was such an awesome idea Dameia, thank you!
"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
We joined the y so we could swim or walk the track, or take a class when we felt the need for something more.
We too are very minimal homeschoolers, we do not do "field trips" everyday as some do, nor do the kids take tons of outside classes, they take what interests them and they HAVE to follow through so they make their choices wisely
In our case we got to liking dad being gone, it made life so much easier, so much less fuss, simpler meals, easier clean up, etc. That is not good, and not what you are going for, I know, but something he should be aware of, you and the kids are bonding in ways he has no idea about, he is very excluded from this bond (of his own choice, not saying you are purposefully doing it, it just happens, even if you try to "include" daddy, the kids wise up and they realize that what is important to a person is where they spend their time and they see where all dads time is spent, even if dad uses the "I am providing for you" line, they know the truth).
I say let dad answer any questions himself, if they want to know when he is getting home, let them call him then when he does not get home by x time he is the liar not you. Let him make plans with the kids for Saturday and let him deal with the fall out when he bails, that is not your job. Time goes by way too fast, your H needs some reality consequences now, not when the kids are grown and he looks back and then realizes what all he missed out on, cause there are no do overs in this area, when the time is gone, it never can come back.
I have one friend who travels M-F and he is a single dad with 8 kids, (only 5 are still in school, and the older three help out with the younger) but he has a date night every Saturday with one kid, just the two of them go out to dinner and chat, catch up, etc. Perhaps he could work on some of that one on one time with them (and he only has two to divide his time by )
Also, having his own business, perhaps he needs an employee or another employee so he can have more family time?
congrats on your "talk" last night, I hope it goes to the heart.