Raising Kids in the Oilfield

Raising Kids in the Oilfield #realoilfieldwives #parenting #oilfieldThere’s a classic rock song that I can’t listen to without tearing up.  Cat’s in the Cradle is one of my all-time favorites.  It’s folksy and nostalgic and one of the best songs ever. I’ve always liked it, but never truly understood it until I became a parent.  Now I totally “get it”.  It puts to music the thoughts that run through a parent’s mind on a regular basis. And as an oilfield parent, it seems to describe our lives even more accurately.

Lyrics to Cat’s in the Cradle  by Harry Chapin

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, Dad
You know I’m gonna be like you”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Dad
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today
I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s ok
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Dad
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
“Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while”
He shook his head and said with a smile
“What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
You know we’ll have a good time then

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you comin’ home son
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
We’re gonna have a good time then
~

That song puts a lump in my throat and speaks to me on so many levels. It makes me think of my kids and what kind of parent I am. I often obsess about what kind of parent I want to be, versus the kind I don’t want to be. Especially right now while my husband is working an extra week, it makes me question if we’re doing the right thing. What will the kids remember when they’re grown? Am I too busy taking care of business to spend quality time with them? Am I stressed and grumpy more than I’m happy? Is my husband missing out on too much? How are we shaping our kids and their futures?

I might have my days of doubts, but honestly, what I think my kids will remember the most is a mom who held things together even when dad was gone. A mom that disciplined but loved them.  A mom that made time for fun after the work was done.  And they’ll remember a dad that worked hard and did have to miss some holidays and school plays, but when he was home he played spies in yard, took them to basketball practice, and read books with them. They’ll remember what he was here for – not what he missed.

Raising kids is tricky. That is a FACT.  You question everything you do. Raising kids in the oilfield is even trickier. You have moms pulling double duty and dads wishing they were home more. But overall, the quality time is better and I think…no, I know…our kids will remember parents that were present for their childhood. Our desire is to show them by example both work ethic and family values. Although we are not perfect, both my husband and I have been examples of diligent workers that put family first. That’s all we can do.

About jenna

Jenna has been an oilfield wife for over 12 years. Her Hot Oil Man husband started working in the oilfield a few months before they were married. The oilfield has lead them all the way from Northern CO to Alaska, where they've lived in the Matanuska Valley for 4 years. The family consists of their two children; a strong-willed daughter age 10, and a goofy son age 7. And of course what family would be complete without a couple of dogs and rabbits thrown in the mix. Jenna is a stay at home mom who doesn't “stay at home” much, and enjoys gardening, baking, reading, watching movies, four wheeling, hiking, fishing, and LOVES shopping. Since moving to the last frontier they have also started home schooling, which is another adventure all it’s own.

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