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Elite status

September 28, 2010

My job requires some travel. Not too much in the summer, but a lot at the beginning of the school year, which is now. My travel schedule since the middle of August has been messing with our custody schedule, because it’s rare that all my travel happens on the three days I don’t have the kids in a week. More often than not, I bleed over by half a day or a day into LOD’s off days, so we end up having to trade days to even up over the course of the month.

In a lot of ways it’s inconvenient, because it’s a deviation from the normal schedule. But listening to my friends who are still married dealing with their partners’ travel schedules makes me actually feel grateful that we’re not together. When one half of a couple is gone, the other has to shift everything to pick up the slack and it can be a major disruption. For us, since we’re two self-contained units, one of us out of town isn’t substantially different from one of us home but not with the kids that night.

I do feel really lucky that not only does LOD trade days with me so I can do my job, but he also doesn’t resent it or hold it against me. It is what it is–days we rearrange–not anything more.

This separate and equal thing is working way better than I thought it would. Of course, I’m typing this from a hotel room that’s almost as big as my apartment, and LOD had to run the homework gauntlet tonight (this week’s vocab quiz: homophones). So maybe LOD should weigh in on what it’s like for him when I’m gone for three days in a row.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. September 28, 2010 11:23 pm

    This made me smile because I was out of town a few days last week, and I’ll be out of town a few days this week, and I had to tell Kyle no less than half a dozen times what days I’d be gone so that he could make arrangements at work. That said, I have to give him credit for rolling with it, no complaints whatsoever.

    Also, when we used to live in Manhattan and I’d travel for work, I always marveled at the size of my hotel room compared to our apartment.

  2. September 29, 2010 9:12 am

    The one thing to keep in mind is that LOD also appears to have a fairly flexible schedule. If he had to travel for work or had some other just-can’t-get-out-of-it commitment, things would be a lot more hairy on that front. My advice is to enjoy the flexiblity while it lasts, but start creating a contingency plan for when the inevitable happens.

    • askmoxie permalink*
      October 1, 2010 1:09 pm

      PP, I’m enjoying it now because before, when I had them most of the time and LOD had a fulltime job with super-stringent hours it was a big nightmare when I traveled. Believe me, I know how easy it is now.

  3. Alison permalink
    September 29, 2010 10:40 am

    Sometimes I read your blog and feel like a moron for staying married. Raising kids seems so much easier in your two-household world. However, I try to make myself feel super-smart by taking what you write about and figuring out what transfers over to a still-married household: negotiate the terms, get a mediator if you need to, roll with changes, don’t make life any harder for your partner than you need to, understanding each other is required in any relationship, fondness is required in marriage.

    Is the wrong lesson to take from your blog, “Co-parent like you’re exes?”

  4. Elizabeth permalink
    September 29, 2010 11:05 am

    I’m glad it works for you, but how do the kids handle it? My 4-year-old frequently views disruptions in the schedule as “breaking promises”. She doesn’t deal well with Daddy not showing up/being there when he is supposed to (sometimes because of work, sometimes not).

    • askmoxie permalink*
      October 1, 2010 1:12 pm

      The kids seem to be ok with it. I think it would be different if I was gone for a week at a time, or if they only saw one of us once a week and that got disrupted. But the difference to them between being at my place WThF nights or FSaSu nights in one week seems to be negligible.

  5. Josie permalink
    September 29, 2010 3:42 pm

    Alison – there was actually an article in a local paper (I’m in Europe) about a couple who did just that, they were about to split up and then made it work by starting to co-parent, being in charge of everything every other week.

    I’ve only been separated two months but I was the spouse working full time and taking care of most everything while my husband was out of town two or three nights a week. When we split (his initiative), he wanted to stick to that schedule and I said no. We now have our son alternate weeks and I feel like I have my life back as I get proper breaks, me time, can work out, make plans to meet up with friends without worrying that my husband is going to change his work plans at the last minute and thereby force me to cancel… And I am a lot less stressed out and less resentful as a result. So yes, I think there is a lot to be learned from all of this, though personally I try not to dwell on what might have been.

  6. Donna permalink
    September 29, 2010 5:24 pm

    Alison

    that is 100% the wrong lesson. Good parenting tips are good no matter the parenting situation but honestly, this blog simply makes me so glad I am married and have a true partner. (But not in a I’m better than anyone way).

    I trade time with my wife often when she has work and things ; she will return the favor in kind. Parent with your spouse, not against.

    Being divorced has nothing to do with it, the lesson is Parent like you’re human beings!

    p.s. I got a chuckle about the being off the “normal” schedule. Honey, there is nothing normal about your schedule.

  7. Gigi permalink
    September 29, 2010 9:24 pm

    Okay, I’m sort of bitter. My husband was gone a lot of the time my kids were babies, toddlers, preschoolers… there was no fifty/fifty. And even when he was home it was pretty much just me doing the parenting. Divorce looks like a break that’s worth it.

    • Lisa permalink
      November 11, 2010 9:43 pm

      Good gawd woman have you TALKED to your husband? Or at the very least made some plans for yourself in the evening so you get a break?

  8. anne permalink
    September 30, 2010 12:49 pm

    Moxie, you guys are always so reasonable, and I need to hear and digest this. My ex travels a lot more than me, pretty much twice a month. Sometimes he can arrange his travel on his “free” days (we split the week 50-50), but frequently it’s out of his control, which I understand. I guess because it’s been so much more one-sided, I’ve been cranky about it because it’s always an assumption that I have to rearrange my schedule to suit his (sometimes without a lot of notice) – but we have no choice as we don’t have family here – and it’s our son who’s care is at stake. I have had to weasel out of my work commitments and give up some social things to accommodate his schedule – and then I feel resentful when he wants “his time” back with our son. Of course I do give the time back (I don’t when it’s personal travel which he also does), but I feel bitchy about it, especially when he makes squibs like, “well I am the one who makes the money in this arrangement”. BTW, I haven’t received child support in the two years we have been separated, and by Canadian law, under shared custody, the higher income earner is required to pay child support. That’s a whole other story.

    I sent him an email yesterday morning requesting a schedule change in 2 weeks, to accommodate one night of out of town work travel for me. He is in town and I have yet to receive a response from him. This is after I just agreed to rearrange next week to accommodate his work travel.

    Sorry for the bitch session.

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