I never thought I would be THAT wife and mom … the one juggling a full-time job, a home on the market, a rambunctious toddler, a baby on the way … and a long distance marriage. But here we are. In early April, my husband interviewed for a job over 2 hours away. We were three days post-embryo transfer (IVF) when he was offered the position. He had to decide quickly – they gave him forty-eight hours to do so. Forty-eight hours to decide if he was willing to temporarily split up our family and move. In the end, he accepted the job.
So while we wait for the right person (or family) to make an offer on our home here … and I find the right daycare for our son there … we will be living apart.
This situation isn’t all in the con column. There are some pros to this arrangement.
Pros: Distance makes the heart grow fonder. We actually communicate better with each other. There is no one around to interrupt our toddler’s night time and bedtime routines. I have my bed to myself. We finally hired someone to cut our grass.
Cons: I am pregnant, running a household and making all the decisions on my own. I am working full-time and am the only caretaker for our toddler. I miss the daily physical contact I had with my husband when he lived here full time.
It isn’t ideal … but we are making it work.
Early on, I was happy to have him gone. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband dearly. But, at the time he moved, I was mad at him for (temporarily) breaking up our family. I didn’t want to see or speak to him. FaceTime sessions at night were for the sake of our son. A couple of weeks in, we had an explosive argument over the phone and FaceTime. We got it ALL out on the table. It wasn’t pretty. But it was necessary.
Then something weird happened.
We got past our anger and frustration. We have to intentionally communicate with each other. He isn’t physically here for me to mention something in passing or be my captive audience when I needed to chat about something. We had to go back to basics. Intentional communication. We make it a point to speak on the phone each night and text each other throughout the day. It takes work, but now I look forward to speaking with him each night and seeing him each weekend.
Before this, I didn’t realize that a lot of our communication was truly one sided – he was talking to me more about day to day life, both trivial and important. I didn’t talk much about my day unless I was REALLY overwhelmed. He always got my high-level highlight reel. He gives ALL the details. Our communication styles and needs are different – but we are finding our way in this new family dynamic.
Quality family time became our number one priority.
Not only did our communication style change, but the way we spend time together did too. Our time together is intentional as well. Because we only get two days together each week, how we spend our time on weekends is much different than it used to be. We decline most invitations from friends, attend only family dinners and events, and try very hard to stay close to home. Saying no to invites that will keep us from spending time together as a family is an absolute must right now. I have also changed when and how I run errands and grocery shop. I try to run as many errands as possible during the week, and I rely heavily on Amazon Prime and grocery delivery services so that I don’t have to spend my weekend grocery shopping. Making these adjustments allows me to maximize our quality family time on weekends.
It took a while for us to get into our groove and appreciate this new family dynamic, but we are making it work for us. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, but if you ever find yourself in this situation, know that you can make it through.