I see a lot of oilfield wives ask the same question: Does it ever get easier? Many women say it doesn’t. Some say it doesn’t get easier, we just get stronger. I’d agree with that, but I do think it gets easier.
Today we are two weeks into a 4 week hitch and we are 8 months into this life where my husband commutes 4,000 miles to work. As I was driving my son to school this morning, I recalled speaking to my oilfield man on the phone and he was relating that now that he’s at his halfway point, antsy to come home and it reminded me that I have two weeks to deep clean the casa. ONLY two weeks to clean. And attempt at least one home project that I promised I would. AND lose 10 pounds. Only two weeks. Crap.
I remember his first hitch when I was sure I’d never be able to sleep. Not so much because I need the warm body in the bed (hogging the bed), but because my senses were on high alert and every little noise woke me up. It finally got to the point where I just didn’t even try to go to bed till I was having a hard time holding my eyes open. A few weeks of going to bed at midnight and waking up at 5 from the toddler alarm clock proved that this was a bad idea. My next idea was Benadryl or booze and as it turns out, they both make me feel bad in the morning! These days, as much as I hate to admit it, I have a harder time sleeping when he’s home!
When he left for the first time, I couldn’t imagine having to do dinner, baths, AND bed time by myself. Now I have to laugh at that fear as tackling it all is just something I do.
Staying busy and carving out time for myself is crucial. My friends are few but ferocious and amazing and they really help me in this area. When OFM is home, they don’t hear from me and when he’s gone I’m basically camped out in their lives and inviting myself to dinner. They keep me sane. I’ve had a bit of a hiccup in finding time for myself as I’ve lost my beloved babysitter, but I’ve found a great church in town that offers a Mom’s Morning Out and that allows me time to go swim laps and grocery shop.
We’ve taken a couple of road trips to see friends and family and that definitely helps occupy our time as well. Plus, it gives the kids something to look forward to before daddy comes home.
The kids are getting better, too. (hopefully I don’t jinx myself with this one) We all shed our tears when we drop OFM off at the airport, but it used to be a huge upheaval for the kids -tantrums, grumpiness, acting out, for at least a week, sometimes two. Now we have a few days in a funk and the acting out isn’t quite as bad. My 3-year-old old still tells everyone we meet that ,“My daddy is up in Alaka” but he’s not so sad about it.
I think what makes or breaks this life is positive thinking. If you can concentrate on the positives like getting to watch all the goofy girl TV you can stand, or getting to sleep in the middle of the bed, I think it softens the rough edges of this life. I can cook less or even not at all. There’s a lot less laundry! Another plus in my book is that I can stay in my PJs till noon (or longer) and he doesn’t look at me funny. I’m not saying I like the fact that he’s gone, but if I sat around letting the loneliness consume me and feeling sad for myself, I guarantee this would never get easier. So, I focus on the positives and my tasks at hand and soldier on till he’s home again.