The Oilfield Parent Balancing Act


I should have known better. My husband is home for the week and I thought that maybe just one day free of a schedule and rules might be okay. I was wrong. And it ended in a colossal meltdown. Lesson learned.

For many oilfield wives finding a balance between parenting when our husbands are away and then switching into co-parenting mode when our husbands are home requires incredible skill. Although, it seems to get easier every time my husband comes home, it is still a struggle. While I don’t think of myself as being a stickler for rules and schedules, the necessity of the rules and schedules I do have becomes rather apparent when they are not followed.

This time around we’re in full homeschool mode. And while homeschooling does afford us some flexibility in our schedule, having daddy home also requires that we work a bit harder to make sure that all of our learning tasks are accomplished throughout the day. In order to ensure that we stay on task and have ample family time we are including my husband in all our homeschool extracurricular activities such as going with us to our co-op meeting and taking Will to jiu jitsu. I’ve also assigned my husband lessons to work with Will on and learning activities for them to do together. So, far we seem to be able to mostly stay on task.

The other issue that we’ve had to address is the difference in rules. These mostly deal with sleep and TV. I’ve found that I have to keep a very strict set of rules in place regarding these two things otherwise we end up with epic meltdowns. This is where I messed up the first day my husband was home. I should have immediately communicated the rules and guidelines I have in place. Instead, I felt like I shouldn’t step on my husband’s toes and that maybe a day of television watching sans bedtime routine would be okay. I quickly corrected that mistake and things are running somewhat smoother.

All things considered, while I am certainly no pro at switching parenting modes, I am getting better. I know I have a lot to learn, but I imagine it will get easier over time the longer my husband works in the oilfield. In the meantime I’d love to hear from those of you who are seasoned pros. How do you manage the parenting balancing act when your husband is home versus when he is away?

About chelsea

Chelsea is mama to 4 year old Will and partner to her oilfield man and best friend of 16 years, Jacob. She splits her time between the family’s camper in the North Dakota Oil Patch and a small urban homestead in Kentucky. Chelsea writes about the family’s camper adventures at She is a batik artist and loves teaching others about the art of batik at She can also be found working on her other sites and In her moments of spare time she enjoys knitting, sewing and gardening.

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