There are many Moms in the world today that find themselves filling in for Dad while he leaves home for his employment.
Dad may be working overseas or away from home in many different types of jobs, industries or even while serving in the Armed Forces. You will find Mom filling in both roles as a parent while Dad is away. She will do the grocery shopping, take and pick up the kids from school, help with homework, throw around the football, cook every meal, and read bedtime stories. At the same time she is paying the bills, doing home repairs and taking care of the yard; items that Dad will typically be doing. Moms are working hard to keep their families together, strong, healthy, and connected during the times that Dad is away.
When Dad is away it can be a couple of days, a couple of months, and sometimes a year, depending on the job Dad is doing or where the company is located around the world.
It’s important to keep all lines of communication open while Dad is away. You can do this with social networking, having a cell phone plan that will allow unlimited time to talk, and using programs such as Skype. This constant daily contact is important to keep Dad a part of the every day life of the family. The kids will also feel connected at all times to Dad.
Quality time together
A good idea while Dad is gone is to start a “honey do” list for him, thinking of little things that is needed and what you want to tell him and by writing them down you will be sure to remember everything. The list will also help you feel more connected to during his time away. Often times it is easy for Mom to start feeling like she can do everything and becomes quite independent while Dad is away. By keeping a “honey do” list you are telling him how important and needed he still is. When he arrives home, share the list but don’t expect him to tackle it all at once or even to get it all done during his time at home. Quite often he will need a day to just unwind and get acclimated to being at home before he should or need to worry about doing those extra chores around the house.
Make the most of your time together. When Dad comes home it is often not for very long and there is some much to do. It’s important that when Dad spends so much time away from home that he makes the most of the time at home not only with Mom, with the kids as well. Many Moms will have to go through a lot of “firsts” while Dad is gone. The first step, the first tooth, the first ballgame, the first date and he will feel as left out as the kids feel. It’s important to record all of these “firsts” whether in print, photos, or video so that you can share them together as a family when Dad is home. Spend an evening going just for “catching up” as a family. Have the kids keep a special journal to share with Dad and when he gets home they can read their exciting events, stories, and thoughts to him. Have a video hour to show him all of the things that were recorded while he was gone. Do this even if you have shared over the internet as he can hear while everyone narrates their stories.
Appreciating the sacrifice
Teach the children about the sacrifices that are being made by everyone for the family and how it helps the family. Dad is sacrificing his time away from home with the ones he loves most in the world. Mom sacrifices by doing it all while Dad is gone. The kids sacrifice the security of having both parents available at all times. Be thankful for the things you do have and share as a family even though you might have all of the time together you would like.
Appreciate the little things
Appreciate all of the small things that life gives you at this time. The small things might just be having someone to help with the shopping or giving a back rub. The small things that only happen when you are together as a family need to be appreciated. Plan a special date night for just Mom and Dad to share. Plan special one-on-one time between Dad and each child. This can be a special outing with each one individually where children get to pick their own adventure with Dad.
Many times Mom will feel like a single parent with Dad gone away from home so much. She can feel the weight of all of the responsibilities of raising the children and no one to discuss each and every decision with. Loneliness is a problem and Mom must find a way to fill the void with positive activities. It’s important that Mom doesn’t begin to feel sorry for herself and remembers that Dad is probably going through much of the same feelings.
Sometimes when Dad comes home after being for weeks or months can be a hard adjustment and upset the family routine. Dad will often forget the rules and even how to discipline the kids and will want to bend or break rules about bedtime, playing or other routines. It’s important to discuss these issues to find ways to resolve them without it creating a problem.
Count your blessings
As a family you will need to remind each other of the blessings you are receiving even though Dad is not around as much as you would like. Often with Dad working away from home the family is in much better financial shape than most other families. This should be pointed out to each member of the family so that all can appreciate it. Quite often because the financial situation is better, Mom has the opportunity to stay at home and raise the children. Some Moms will even home school the children to keep her duties more manageable.
While it is hard to have Dad away from home, it is important that Mom is able to fill the void and be there so that the children have at least one parent a part of every important accomplishment in their lives. Family is important.