Josh is the hardest worker I know. His work ethic is one that I’ve always idealized and have been so proud of. Whenever I think I’m having a long work day, I think to him and realize that he’s likely accomplished 500 more tasks than I have plus juggled about 50 meetings and yet still has had time to respond to frivolous messages that I send to him. Not only that, he’s a brilliant man. A problem solver. An innovator. And a team player. And so it came as no surprise to me when he was asked to become the interim CTO of Albumprinter. If anything, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner.
What I didn’t expect was that we’d have to live in separate countries for at least 6 months. Sure he comes home on weekends, but realistically he’s gone 5 days a week. He leaves on Sunday afternoon and comes home at either midnight on Thursday night or on Saturday morning depending on his schedule of meetings. It’s just myself and the kids here in Barcelona.
I’ve been a lucky ex-pat. Many of my ex-pat friends and acquaintances from school have spouses who travel pretty much weekly. Up til when Josh started this job in November, he would travel a handful of days here and there – maybe 3 or 4 days every 6 to 8 weeks and then a few trips to the US each year that would be about 10 days. But overall, he was home every night. So this has been a huge change for our family.
And I’m resentful. But I shouldn’t be. I have no right to be resentful and yet I can’t help it. He is working hard not only to pursue his dreams, but also to provide for our family. My income is a drop in the bucket and so he is the primary bread winner here. And so who am I to resent him for working hard for us, his family?
And yet I am and I can’t explain it. I don’t want to be. And actually most of the day, I’m not. It’s not until he calls each night that I think “I just don’t want to talk to him and hear all about how great his job is while I’m here holding down the fort”. As I result, I sound distant on the phone and I can’t help myself. I feel like a total bitch which is terrible because most of the time, I don’t feel this way. It’s not til he calls that the feelings swell up. Most of the day I’m incredibly proud of what he is doing and how hard he is working. And I know it’s not like he’s out there partying every night while I’m making school lunches, doing laundry and helping with homework – he’s working.
I also know he’s lonely. So am I. But at least I have the kids for a few hours in the evening to dissipate that loneliness a little bit. He has work. He goes in early, comes home late and does more work. It’s not an easy life for him right now either. But we both agree that this will be something that will benefit both his career and our family in the long term. We just have to get thru the short term. And it’s not easy.
Maybe it’s because we are all still adjusting to this new lifestyle? Like moving to Barcelona, this adjustment has not been easy on our family. It’s a huge change to get used to losing 50% of your parenting team 75% of the time with no notice. And it will take time for us to get used to this change in our lives, but we will make it through. Just like we did when we moved here. And I remember resenting him back then too and blaming him for the changes in our lives even though I was in agreement (and excited) about moving here in the first place. Funny how one can displace blame from one’s self when feeling emotionally unsure.
I know he’d trade in a moment if I said I wanted to go back to work full time and he could be a stay at home dad. He’d give it all up to be home with the boys. So I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. And I’m not always good at telling him how proud I am of him and all he’s accomplished. So here’s my moment and on a public forum no less … “Josh, we love you. And we appreciate all you do for us. You work so hard to give us not only a good life, but a great life. And I’m sorry if you haven’t been feeling that love lately, but know that it’s there and always will be. We are your biggest fans and know that no matter what happens over the coming months, we will be your biggest support and be there for you always.”