SurvivingInfidelity.com Forums
Off Topic
User Topic: When one parent is absent
Aubrie
Member
Member # 33886
Default  Posted: 6:43 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

So I'm a SAHM. Homeschool both kids as well. They definitely get their Mommy time in.

What I'm struggling with is when QS goes on work binges and the kids don't see him for days/weeks on end.

Our evenings are weird. They're empty, boring, and the silence is deafening. When Dad's not home, everything is just off. It wasn't so bad when they were younger, but now they're older and catching on.

I don't really know what to do to help keep it fun and fill their time so they don't miss him as much. We do all manner of "fun" during school and the day. I don't want it to be another, "Great, now what Mom?"

They would kill me if I broke out more schoolwork or made the fun stuff obviously educational. Don't ya know? Learning is a bore! (That's what DD says)

They have downtime to do what they want in the afternoon and I don't want them sitting in front of the tv from dinner to bedtime.

My creativity is failing me. Any ideas?


Me - FWW * Him - QuietStand

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne

"What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, what if you fly?


Posts: 6048 | Registered: Nov 2011 | From: South, Y'all!
MyTurnATL
Member
Member # 28856
Default  Posted: 6:59 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

First of all, it is not your job to "entertain" your kids. You don't have to keep it fun.

When my kids were younger, we enjoyed game night and movie night and chore night (not their favorite) and do your own thing night and puzzle night, among other things. Really, the best thing you can do is allow your children the time to figure out how to amuse themselves.


Posts: 452 | Registered: Jun 2010
jrc1963
Member
Member # 26531
Default  Posted: 7:05 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

Really, the best thing you can do is allow your children the time to figure out how to amuse themselves.

AMEN!!!

and Screen time isn't always a choice... (TV, Computer, Computer/Video Games) They can find ways to entertain themselves that don't require electricity.


Me: BSO - 45
Him: FWSO - 68
DS - 12
D-Day - 12-11-09,
R - he finally came home
Your life is an Occasion. Rise to it. - Mr. Magorium, "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium"

Posts: 24341 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: Florida
metamorphisis
Administrator
Member # 12041
Default  Posted: 7:06 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

I agree with MyturnATL. Plan a few nights, maybe you could get their ideas of what they'd like to do and write them down or schedule them throughout the week. A movie night can be paired with dinner in the living room on a blanket for an indoor picnic. Another night could be games and snacks.
But most importantly, I would expect one or two nights to be "free" nights. For my ds that can be some time with legos, help me make dinner, homework, video games, a bath and then read a book. The night goes pretty fast broken down into chunks and he can pick most of it. Most importantly he is giving me a bit of a break.
I'd resist the urge to occupy them all the time or like mentioned earlier it gets so you have to do it all the time. You are with them all day so I'm sure you need downtime too.



“We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are.”... Anais Nin

Posts: 43958 | Registered: Sep 2006
Aubrie
Member
Member # 33886
Default  Posted: 7:11 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

I'd resist the urge to occupy them all the time or like mentioned earlier it gets so you have to do it all the time. You are with them all day so I'm sure you need downtime too.

I understand. I think what I'm struggling with is the, "Where is Dad?","When is Dad coming home?", "Why is he gone all the time?" I hate having to tell them I don't know, he's working.

I just feel bad that they're sitting home, waiting for Dad to show up. Sure they do stuff, but there's this underlying anticipation of hearing the truck come up the drive.

Just feel a little overwhelmed and kind of heartbroken for them. Maybe if evenings are "fun", they won't think so much of him? I don't know.

[This message edited by Aubrie84 at 7:13 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]


Me - FWW * Him - QuietStand

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne

"What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, what if you fly?


Posts: 6048 | Registered: Nov 2011 | From: South, Y'all!
jrc1963
Member
Member # 26531
Default  Posted: 7:14 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

Aubs... maybe DAD should be the one explaining it to them?

Does he not see them at all? or can he maybe do a breakfast date with them before work?

Since you homeschool, you could get them up early for breakfast with dad and then send them back to bed for a bit before your day actually starts?


Me: BSO - 45
Him: FWSO - 68
DS - 12
D-Day - 12-11-09,
R - he finally came home
Your life is an Occasion. Rise to it. - Mr. Magorium, "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium"

Posts: 24341 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: Florida
Aubrie
Member
Member # 33886
Default  Posted: 7:18 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

Does he not see them at all?
If we're lucky, a few minutes before bed. The one day they see the most of him is Sunday. However, Sundays are full. There's no one on one, quality time.

Don't really know how the breakfast thing would go over. My DD is turning into a morning hater. But that is a neat suggestion. Maybe we'll try that.

[This message edited by Aubrie84 at 7:18 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]


Me - FWW * Him - QuietStand

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne

"What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, what if you fly?


Posts: 6048 | Registered: Nov 2011 | From: South, Y'all!
metamorphisis
Administrator
Member # 12041
Default  Posted: 7:21 PM, September 23rd (Monday)


My littlest guy practically waits at the window for daddy so I get it .
Is there any way he can explain to them where he is and when he is expected home? That stinks Aubrie and I know it's hard. My dh's schedule is all over the place with school, which is 3 hours of commuting a day. There are quite a few nights he isn't here but we have it all written out so I can tell ds what night it is and when he can be home. I suppose that's not as easy in your situation.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 7:21 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]



“We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are.”... Anais Nin

Posts: 43958 | Registered: Sep 2006
Aubrie
Member
Member # 33886
Default  Posted: 7:38 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

Is there any way he can explain to them where he is and when he is expected home?
Is this a serious question?

I cannot tell you how many times I've gotten a text or call that pushes of TOA hours away. I don't even tell the kids anymore because when I say dinner time, then dessert time, then bedtime, I'm the liar. I've started saying, "He gets home when he gets home. I don't know."

I can't write anything out or make concrete plans on anything with him unless he "only" has a half of a work day scheduled. Cause the half day turns into a whole day, which would put him home at dinner. Crazy making, but that's what I'm reduced to.

Still thinking over the breakfast thing.... Good idea jrc.


Me - FWW * Him - QuietStand

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne

"What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, what if you fly?


Posts: 6048 | Registered: Nov 2011 | From: South, Y'all!
dameia
Member
Member # 36072
Default  Posted: 8:01 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

A teacher friend gave me an idea to help my kids practice their writing and I just modified it a bit for your sitch....

After dinner each kid writes a little something in their own notebook. Something about their day, a poem, a story, etc. Then, after they go to bed, QS reads it and write a response. Comments on their day, continues the story they are writing, his own funny poem, whatever.

That way they feel like they are interacting with him, and he gets to do some quality time with them as well.


Me: BS
D-Day: 7/7/12

One should rather die than be betrayed. There is no deceit in death. It delivers precisely what it has promised. Betrayal, though ... betrayal is the willful slaughter of hope. ~Steven Deitz


Posts: 1102 | Registered: Jul 2012
jrc1963
Member
Member # 26531
Default  Posted: 8:04 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

Dameia - what a cool idea. I wish I'd thought of that.

Aubs... maybe DD won't be such a morning hater if she knows it's a date with daddy.


Me: BSO - 45
Him: FWSO - 68
DS - 12
D-Day - 12-11-09,
R - he finally came home
Your life is an Occasion. Rise to it. - Mr. Magorium, "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium"

Posts: 24341 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: Florida
Aubrie
Member
Member # 33886
Default  Posted: 8:23 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

Dameia, that is a very neat idea!


Me - FWW * Him - QuietStand

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne

"What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, what if you fly?


Posts: 6048 | Registered: Nov 2011 | From: South, Y'all!
tired girl
Member
Member # 28053
Default  Posted: 11:29 PM, September 23rd (Monday)

Can he set aside one night a week that he makes it home period?

Also what about some extra curricular sports for them to get involved in?


Me45 Him 45 Hardlessons DS 25,23,20
D Day 1/18/10 his 3/8/2012 mine
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt

Posts: 4506 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: az
IRN2006
Member
Member # 23717
Default  Posted: 12:00 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)

Also what about some extra curricular sports for them to get involved in?

Or, are there places that cater to homeschooling families. Our Y offers gyms classes specifically for homeschooling families only.


Posts: 1295 | Registered: Apr 2009
gonnabe2016
Member
Member # 34823
Default  Posted: 12:36 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)

I have a mish-mash of thoughts on this:

First, I agree that it isn't your job to *entertain* this kids 24/7. They do need to be able to occupy themselves.

Then....can't remember, but is QS's job cyclical at all? Where he has *busy* times and *down* times? If that's the case, then a simple "this is dad's *busy* time of the year and so he'll be working a lot....." explanation might tide them over.

But I seem to recall that *he's* his own boss. If I'm right, then he needs to have a "come to Jesus" meeting with himself about his priorities. If the amount of money he can bring in by working a *normal* work-week is enough to pay the bills and get you guys by....then he needs to learn to say *no. can't stay. gotta get home." This is a difficult concept to get a self-employed person to accept because you are always coming up against the "but, but, but's* as far as *building their business* and the potential *damage* to their reputation if they say *no*....but again. Priorities and boundaries come into play here.....

He should be able to, at the very least, commit to being home at <x> time a couple of nights a week.

(and the journal idea where QS *talks* to each kid every night is awesome!!!)


"Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." - Sir Walter Scott

In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.


Posts: 7695 | Registered: Feb 2012 | From: Midwest
Naivete123
Member
Member # 38715
Default  Posted: 1:58 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)

I love all these ideas. WH travels often. Our normal schedule is M-T no tv, an only 1 hr. kindle time. More than often they forgo the kindle time and run around outside with their friends. They do this on the weekends too with down time. We are blessed at the moment to live in a "gated" community with security guards so all the kids can run around freely. And there are a lot of kids their age to play with. I dread when we move back to US and our semi-retired neighbors is all the kids have to look forward too.

Thanks a lot for this post and all the great ideas to keep them busy!


I WILL NOT drink the Kool Aid.

The grass is greener on the other side. But they put chemicals on theirs.


Posts: 60 | Registered: Mar 2013 | From: USA
confused615
Member
Member # 30826
Default  Posted: 8:11 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)

So..it's not that the kids are actually bored..it's that they want to see their dad.

You trying to find ways to amuse them/keep them occupied so they don't miss daddy will be a never ending battle. He's their daddy...they want HIM..not fun.

If he is his own boss,then during his "busy" time, he needs to carve out some time every day and spend some time with his kids. Even if it's just taking an hour out of his schedule to come home for dinner. He needs to schedule it, just as if he were scheduling a meeting or an appointment..and make sure he makes it the *most* important meeting of his day. Because..it is.


[This message edited by confused615 at 8:12 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)]


BS(me)41
FWH 45
4 kids..21,20,11,9
M: June 2001
D-Day: 8/10/10
Status: Happily Reconciled.

..that feeling you get in your stomach, when you heart's broken. It's like all the butterflies just died.


Posts: 7136 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: Indiana
landabear
Member
Member # 15046
Default  Posted: 8:16 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)

The one day they see the most of him is Sunday. However, Sundays are full. There's no one on one, quality time.

I know you spend a lot of time at church on Sundays, and I understand that is very important to you.

BUT as this is the one day every week he will be there....can you cut all activities after 2pm off? At 2pm, the family including Dad is home, no one else around, period? That would add family time, and give the kids a kind of bank of Dad's time to pull from emotionally during the week.

As for weeknight evenings, I would say extracurricular activities are probably the easiest answer. The community center(s) near you should have something available at a decent price.

Doesn't even have to be sports really; we have a bunch of different community centers within 20 minutes of us, and they offer indoor pools (lessons and open swim times), art classes, open gym for the kids to just kind of play, computer classes, etc.

If you are trying to do something as nearly free as possible, can you get with other homeschooling mom's and swap specialties? Let's say one of you is good at art, then other can teach piano, another loves conducting science experiments...maybe Tuesday night the kids are at Piano Mom's for lessons, then Thursday at your place for art, that sort of thing? Even a 30 minute appointment could break up the evening.

Or if they love to watch sports, make some popcorn and head out to the community ball fields. Usually free to get in on nights other kids are playing, and they can munch popcorn (or drink hot chocolate, if the evening is cool) and watch soccer, baseball or football.


BS
Divorced: March 2006
Married to a wonderful, FAITHFUL man: October 2009

Posts: 740 | Registered: Jun 2007 | From: Midwest
Aubrie
Member
Member # 33886
Default  Posted: 9:18 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)

Can he set aside one night a week that he makes it home period?
He only dedicates a 100%, "for sure" day off. Sunday.

Also what about some extra curricular sports for them to get involved in?
Will look into it. See if the kids are interested. Thanks for the Y tip too. Something to research.

is QS's job cyclical at all? Where he has *busy* times and *down* times? If that's the case, then a simple "this is dad's *busy* time of the year and so he'll be working a lot....."
Yeah, more or less but it's not charted like tax season or Christmas season. It just happens at random times. When I explain that Dad's busy, I deal with the fallout. "Again Mom!?"

I probably sound like an ungrateful witch. That's not my intent. I understand his hang-ups on finances and the reasons behind it. I'm trying to be patient with him. But this is our children. DD is 8 now. 8! She needs her Dad. She craves his love and attention. And I can only teach her to be "independent and strong" so much. There's a void in her life. Same with DS. QS gets upset because DS is such a Mama's clinger. DS adores his Daddy. But there's no time spent with him. He turns to me.

It takes a friggin' act of Congress for him to come home and spend a day with us. He enjoys himself tremendously when he does. It's just getting him to do it habitually that's the issue. He literally hasn't taken one day off, other than Sundays, since the 9th. Which doesn't seem like a huge deal. Till you realize he left at 6 a.m. and didn't get home till 9-11 p.m. every single day. That's very hard on the kids! It's hard on him. When he's here, he's a zombie. Utterly exhausted and completely sleep depraved.

I've been told he'll have this weekend off. Not holding my breath. Not telling the kids. Don't wanna get their hopes up. If it happens, it happens. Whatever.

He told me to book a short out of town trip in October. I did. But I'm not holding my breath that he'll make it. I'm going with the kids, whether he does or not.

I could accept it so much easier if it was just affecting me. I could deal with it. Because I have been. As much as I miss him, my life is going on. Can't say much more in that regard because we're in the OT forum.

It's the issue with the kids that is breaking my heart.

Thanks for listening and giving me ideas. I'll see what I can do. All the other advice, I know. But I can't make him do anything. It's his choice.

*shrug*


Me - FWW * Him - QuietStand

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne

"What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, what if you fly?


Posts: 6048 | Registered: Nov 2011 | From: South, Y'all!
tushnurse
Member
Member # 21101
Default  Posted: 11:00 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)

That stinks. You know what you deserve the break too. If I spent that much time with my kids, teaching, momming, and never going to work I would loose my mind in short order. Seriously. Mom deserves a break too. I would definitely look into some Y classes, and perhaps can mix up the schedule a bit, so they go early afternoon to a dance class, swimming, or karate, and then have evening class on those days.

When my kids were smaller we too had one evening a week where the TV stayed off, and we didn't go anywhere. We had dinner together, but after that we were all on our own. It gave me some quiet time, and the kids usually spent it playing with legos/dolls, or reading.

It stinks that H is making work his first choice, but you know you can't make him do anything he doesn't want to do.

You definitely should not be the bad guy in this, when the kids ask hand them the phone, and let them call him. Let him take some of the heat, who knows maybe he will realize his kids not only need him but want him.


Me: FBS
Him: FWS
Kids: 15 & 17
Married for 22 years now, was 16 at the time. .
D-Day Sept 26 2008
Fully R'd, and Happy Happy Happy

Posts: 7797 | Registered: Oct 2008 | From: St. Louis
gahurts
Member
Member # 33699
Default  Posted: 12:41 PM, September 24th (Tuesday)

Aubrie,

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.


"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indominable will" - Mahatma Gandi

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - Aubrie


Posts: 3322 | Registered: Oct 2011 | From: Georgia
lieshurt
Member
Member # 14003
Default  Posted: 1:04 PM, September 24th (Tuesday)

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.


I'm sorry if you don't like my Honesty, but to be fair I don't like your lies.

Sometimes it's better to push someone away...not because you stopped loving them but because you can't take the pain anymore.


Posts: 13647 | Registered: Mar 2007 | From: Houston
brooke4
Member
Member # 13581
Default  Posted: 3:43 AM, September 25th (Wednesday)

I agree about the come to Jesus discussion and a little re-prioritizing--I find it a bit surprising he can't commit to being home for dinner at least one night. 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? If not, that would be a line in the sand issue with me. As the mother of teenagers, I will say with certainty that NOW is his time--these are the years where you build your relationship with your children.

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.


Me: BS, 40, Him: WS 41
Married: 15 years
3 children
D-Day: 10/2005

Posts: 1490 | Registered: Feb 2007
Aubrie
Member
Member # 33886
Default  Posted: 9:17 AM, September 25th (Wednesday)

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?
Nope. Not at all. But he would get behind on a project. He's scheduled everything so tightly together, if one thing goes wrong on a job, it's a snowball effect. Poor planning.

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!


Me - FWW * Him - QuietStand

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne

"What if I fall?" Oh but my darling, what if you fly?


Posts: 6048 | Registered: Nov 2011 | From: South, Y'all!
GraceisGood
Member
Member # 17686
Default  Posted: 11:58 AM, September 25th (Wednesday)

We too homeschool and my H was away from home 220 nights a year and the nights/days he was home he spent doing "his" thing, so the kids felt very left out.

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.

Grace


We have a tendency to think the love offered us is a reflection of our worth and value.But in actuality,it's a reflection of the person that is giving it.We love out of who WE are-not because of who the receiver is.At least in terms of real love.TSMF

Posts: 3433 | Registered: Jan 2008 | From: how far the east is from the west
Topic Posts: 25