My husband is a workaholic. He leaves for work around 5 am (meaning we never see him in the morning). I don’t even text to ask when he will be home. Some days he makes it home for dinner, some days not. Once, he worked from 5 am to the next morning, then stayed at work the whole next day. He’s committing to his growing business, and I’m incredibly proud and supportive of him. Here’s the deal: we knew starting a business would be tough. We knew our family would have to make sacrifices, and we knew it would be hard. We’re willing to do it, and I know my husband sees my job and my schedule as a crucial part of our family life. We are committed to making it all work and making the most of our family time together.
Here’s how we make my husband’s 60-80 hour work week work for us.
He goes to work EARLY.
At the beginning of this school year, we had a very serious conversation about Justin’s work schedule. During the summer, Justin can work whenever he wants; I’m a stay at home mom, and my schedule is much more flexible. Now that I’m a working mom again, we have to adjust to that. In order to accommodate our work schedules, we agree we would rather Justin be home at night than help me get the girls up and ready for school. Nights are more focused on family activities, homework, cooking dinner, etc. so those times are more important to us. I have to wake up about 15 minutes earlier than I would if Justin were home so it’s totally worth it.
If I need help with pick up or drop off, I try Justin first.
If he even winces or thinks twice about it, I then go to my mom or his mom. There are rare occasions when I can’t get the girls somewhere. One of those is coming up this week. I have to work until 7 for parent teacher conferences. We’ve had this day on the schedule for a month. Justin’s schedule is busy, but flexible. Normally, if we discuss schedule help that is needed in enough time, he can make it work. So, Wednesday, he’s on. He will pick up Lillian from her music class at 4:45. Then get Annie from daycare at 5:00 and have them fed and bathed by the time I get home. Just because Justin works a lot, doesn’t mean he can’t handle this, and the girls love their special time with dad.
Family Google Calendar is our lifesaver.
Apart from Jesus, the family Google calendar actually saves my soul. We each have a personal Google calendar, but in RED we have the family Google events. EVERYTHING in our family life goes on here, including Saturday events, birthday parties, Annie’s dancing on Mondays, Lillian’s music on Wednesdays, work day commitments that will make one another late, etc. If it affects the family, it goes on the calendar, down to my hair cuts because we both know that means I’m not cooking that night.
When I need help, I ask for it.
Most days, I can handle the work mom life just fine. However, some days are rough. Our mornings didn’t go as planned, my students acted crazy all day, or one of my precious daughters are in a mood. It happens. I reserve these calls for especially terrible days, but every now and again I just call or text and ask Justin to be mindful of the time. “SOS come home as soon as you can.” seems to work just fine.
We depend a whole lot on our parents.
Both my parents and Justin’s parents live 5 to 10 minutes away from us. My parents are both retired, and Justin’s parents are self employed. They all help us a ton! If I had to pay a babysitter for all the hours our parents keep our kids, we would be BROKE! Every Monday, Mom gets Annie to dancing, and I pick her up. Every half day for students and in service day for me, one of Lillian’s grandmas picks her up and hangs out with her for the day. A kid vomits in the middle of the night, Grandma to the rescue! I can safely say that with Justin’s work schedule, I would not be able to meet the demands of my job successfully without the help of our families. Thanks y’all!
We communicate often and purposefully on how to maximize Justin’s time with us.
Sundays are off limits for us unless it’s a super special occasion. We learned the word “NO” early on in this adventure and use it often. Sundays are for church and playing as a family. We might even get a nap in. The bottom line is we try as much as possible to stay at home and have some quality family time on Sundays. We might ask our grandparent tribe to watch the girls for an hour or two so we can have a little date, but other than that, family time it is.
When Justin is home for dinner, dinner around the table happens.
I am lazy about this when Justin is working. The girls and I grab whatever we can find and dig in whenever it is ready. We also tend to eat in front of the tv on these nights. But the one or two nights a week we are all home in time for dinner, we sit and eat at the table. Is it hard? Absolutely. But it’s worth it to have a spouse who is committed to making a legacy for our children. It’s worth it to see him fulfilled by his job the way I am fulfilled by my job. Do we fight about his long hours? Sometimes, especially in the beginning, but things have settled. The bottom line is, Justin is the leader of our family in so many ways, and my role in our marriage is to support him in any way that I can. If that means I do an extra car rider line or clean the kitchen without him, I will survive. The saying is true, “The days are long, but the years are short.” One day we won’t have to deal with all the schedules and working around a hectic work schedule for Justin, and we will be bored out of our minds.