I’ve spent a large portion of the last 5 years of my working life away from home. From 1 day to 5 months, it doesn’t get easier working away from family despite what you might think.5 months away from home is a long time to be working away from family. Fortunately enough this was before the birth of my last two children. Miss 7 was around then but her mother and I had just starting dating. Never the less, spending time away from home is tough and I personally feel it gets tougher as your kids grow up.
I believe this is the case because they start to get involved in new activities other than cry and wiggle around on the floor. I was lucky enough growing up that my Dad was able to make it to most of my school carnivals, football games and swim meets. I always knew I could look to the bleachers and see him there. But here I am, spending months on months away from home and then coming home and struggling to fit back into the family’s routines.
Routine is good, routine is safe and it makes the time fly (at least for me it does). Remove yourself from your family’s routine for a few months and suddenly fitting in becomes harder than ever. They have the morning routine before school, routines for after school activities and even bath time. Finding out where you can fit back in can be difficult but here are a few tips that I use to get back into the rhythm of my family’s day to day life;
- Get involved. You are not going to get back into their lives standing on the sidelines whinging about how you aren’t involved. ‘Get amongst it son’ and help out. After school runs to the dance class or footy training is a great place to start and you get an extra few minutes in the car to talk about how your child’s day has been.
- Stay in touch with what is changing back home. It’s hard being away but talking about what is happening at home, routines etc, helps you get your head around it early. Meaning you can jump straight in and give that helping hand to your partner. Get a head start and ask your partner what their routine is like for this day and that day and you’ll be laughing.
- Create new routines (within reason). Don’t come along and decide that you are going to take the family for a walk at 5 o’clock at night when that is normally feeding time in the family zoo. Talk with your partner about how you want to get involved “I wouldn’t mind taking Bobby to the park and kicking the footy around this afternoon”.
You will probably have to go back to work at some stage so don’t start making up grand plans when you are going to head back to the grind stone. It is however, essential to dive head first into it all and acclimatise back to normal life.
I’ve said it before, talking about these situations will only benefit you in the long run. Being open about what you are feeling with your partner will not only help them understand what you are going through but will help you gauge what he/she wants from you.
So what are you waiting for? Take the bull by the horns and find ways to get back into your family’s routines.