Half a year in, as a family of five and I’ve been thinking about what that’s been like for us. Officially, we are a five, but on a normal day to day basis, for the most part, there are just four. Having a part-time Spouse is something I’ve grown accustomed to, over the years. In a lot of ways, I actually prefer it when he’s away. The kids & I have our groove now and he tends to disrupt it (having a giant toddler to attend to will do that). There are few things more disheartening than running yourself to exhaustion, putting your all into keeping three small humans alive and happy, and them forgetting you even exist the second their Daddy comes through the door. Even if it does mean I can have a hot brew.
This life, it’s all they know. This is the way we’ve done things since they’ve been old enough to remember. Even I can barely recall a time when he used to make it home in time to help with bath & bed duties. Every family’s dynamic is different. Daisy’s beginning to discover this, through her friends at school. There are friends whose entire extended families live in the same town. Friends who see grandparents on a daily basis. Friends whose Dads are home for dinner each night. Friends who go to before and after school club. Friends, like her, who have a stay-at-home parent. Friends whose parents are no longer together. Friends with siblings. Friends without. In a class of 60, there are a lot of different scenarios. So she’s never questioned our own dynamic, but she has come home in tears a few times because she misses her Dad (can’t imagine why), which is something she’d never done before.
That’s difficult. It makes me wonder if this situation we’ve imposed upon ourselves is maybe not what is best for our kids, after all. I know it’s not the easiest option. For me at least. The Spouse gets three nights a week, child-free and then half the year spending weekends playing catch with his mates. One of us has drawn the short straw here and I’m fairly certain it’s not him! Ahem, I digress…
We made this decision for our family because we thought, at the time, it was the best one for all of us. And maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. That’s the thing with family. The people within it are constantly growing, constantly changing. Their wants and needs altering. I’m not sure any dynamic will ever be perfect. You make the best of your situation.
For us, that means letting the kids watch far more tv than I should, mid-week. It means convenience food. It means star fishing. It means a distinct lack of sleep. It means playing good cop and bad cop. It means we live for Sundays!
For the most part, we’re happy. And I can’t ask for much more than that.