August is a really tough month for my family. My husband works in student housing and he has a very short time frame to get all of the apartments ready for the incoming students. What that means for me and Noah is that we are on our own for about a month (mid-July to mid-August).
In previous years, this hasn’t been a huge deal. Three years ago, I was a poor grad student so I spent that summer waiting tables at a fancy restaurant. It was a good way to make a little extra money and to stave off boredom. Two years ago, I was big, fat and pregnant for most of this busy period. And then, wouldn’t you know it, I gave birth to Noah during the craziest time of year for Matt. But, while he was able to take a few days off while I was in the hospital and for our first days home, he had to go right back to work. It wasn’t too bad though because I had family at home to help out. Last year during this time, I was still a stay-at-home mom and Noah had just started walking and was still easy to catch. And, while it definitely got lonely at times, being a temporary “single mom” wasn’t so bad.
This year, however, I am going CRAZY!!! Matt has been leaving for work at the time that I get up in the morning. He hasn’t been getting home until well after 6pm (weekends included). And, on the nights that I see clients, I don’t get home until after 8pm. We have had to have family come in to town to help on our overlapping nights. And, as if things weren’t busy enough, Noah’s birthday falls smack dab in the middle of everything.
Party planning, hosting a house full of company, and (I hadn’t mentioned this part yet) because of a summer full of rain storms and wind damage, we had to have a new roof put on our house (while also dealing with all of the previously discussed stress) is not exactly the greatest way to manage my life while Matt is working 12 hour days, 30 days straight.
But being busy and going a little crazy are actually the smallest annoyances to this hectic speed bump in our lives. What really sucks the most is that I desperately miss my husband. While we do get to “physically” see each other for a couple of hours a day, when I do actually get a chance to sit down with him after we put the baby to bed, he is so tired, frustrated, or he has more work to do to get ready for tomorrow. We are both just exhausted. We have been short with each other, snap at the smallest things, and our patience is at an all-time low.
Noah has really noticed the difference as well. I think he is really confused or maybe even angry with his daddy. And, because he is 2, he has no idea how to express his emotions. He spends the whole day talking about how much he misses daddy and asks about where he is but, as soon as Matt gets home, he distances himself from him and won’t leave my side. He turns into this clingy, crying mess (Noah that is, not Matt).
Our entire world has been flipped upside down and these are things I never anticipated. Matt has been working in student housing since 2006. This isn’t new to us. But we have never done this with a toddler. And let me tell you, this sucks! This situation has given me migraines, made me sick to my stomach on more than a few occasions, and I rarely sleep during the night because I am so worried about the next day’s to-do list.
Matt and I are the couple that talks about everything. We rarely fight and if we do, we generally stop somewhere in the middle of the argument and laugh about what we’re fighting about. [Or, Matt just apologizes and we move on.] We communicate. And we usually do a damn good job at it. I’m a counselor. I teach others stress relief techniques and coping strategies to use during times like these. I should be awesome at this!
So, in these final days before the college kids move in and things get back to normal, I am trying to remind myself often that this is only temporary. Remind myself that he will be back to his typical even-keeled self in a matter of days. And remind myself that I need to start coming up with a much better plan for next summer. Either that, or find Matt a new job.