The highs and lows of ‘weekending’ – military style.
Urgh! Sunday evening and he’s leaving…AGAIN! Weekending sucks! How many of you can relate?
My wonderful not-husband leaves somewhere between 1800-1930 every Sunday, either to pick up others or be picked up. He’s working 180 miles from home during the week and travelling a good 4 hours (if he’s lucky) back each Friday to be with us. (aka weekending)
Why? Because the Army says so! Luckily only April – July for us, I know some of you do this long-term and I take my hat off to you!
Walking into a quiet, empty house, looking at the chaos in the kitchen after yet another rushed dinner. That sinking feeling knowing you’re eating and sleeping alone for the next week.
It isn’t all bad though…
Weekending means although I’m sleeping alone, there’s plenty of space and no one to steal the quilt from me! Amazing!
TV? Yep, that’s mine too, to watch whatever I feel like, at whatever time. I don’t watch a lot but when I do, it’s either as a form of escapism or it’s a knowledgeable programme where I learn something new. I’m fascinated by the mind, the decisions people make and the way they behave (my not-husband thinks I’m weird!) so anything about that, I’ll sit and watch to learn more.
Food…well, that’s good and bad. When he’s away, I see no issue with cereal for dinner at 9pm! Come on, I’m not the only one, admit it?!
I have no timings to keep to, I don’t need to cook a big meal, I just need to survive! I see the flexibility as a positive, yet I know I’m not eating properly during the week, so I suppose that’s a negative.
Cooking…I hate cooking! My lovely not-husband is the cook in this house and he enjoys it so it’s a bonus when he’s home. For now, I eat to live and will attempt to amend this soon…maybe!
Weekending = Choices
Weeks where he is picked up by other guys heading the same direction, I get both cars. Sweet! Which one I drive during that week all depends on which one has the most fuel in.
Obviously it’s his!
I’m a life on the edge kinda person, rolling into the petrol station on 0 miles, wondering if I can make it to the next fuel opportunity a mile or three down the road! Who’s with me?
What’s hard about this weekending lark though, is the completely contrasting lifestyles I have! (No wonder I have a crazy brain!)
I live life as a single person Monday to Friday, I have no one else in the house to consider, I have no one to organise or get things ready for. I have no one to make any extra mess; the mess that appears is mine and mine alone. If I go out, I have no one to tell, I have no timing to get back to…after all, if I want cereal at 9pm, that’s cool remember!
So when the weekend arrives and I suddenly have three other people to think about, life is very different!
I’ve got to actually plan things like dinner that evening, because opening the freezer to see what falls out isn’t acceptable when you’ve got kids to feed. I have to make sure timings are met, like picking them up from school or getting them into bed.
I’ve suddenly got three people’s worth of washing to do and the dishwasher is now running daily, instead of weekly. I have two people not listening to me and one telling me how to do the things I do every single day without an issue! Argh! Where’s the wine?!
Don’t get me wrong…
We are just like an other family, we do have fantastic days out and precious family time making memories. We laugh, we joke, we relax and we enjoy the company.
On the weekends we don’t have the kids, they can go either way! Some (most) weekends, we have errands to run and jobs to do. The things that become difficult when the kids are around or that’re just easier without them. Like finding and fixing a part for our motorhome, picking up a new washing machine or working on the house.
Others we choose not to do anything other than have ‘us time’ because that’s important to us. We eat every meal together, we sit and chat, we watch a series we like. We have days out, we visit a place we both want to go and just enjoy having the other one there, or perhaps we sit and eat lunch in a beautiful place, whilst we catch up on the weeks events.
Giving time to your relationship
Having ‘us time’ is so important to maintaining a solid relationship when you live with all that military life throws at you. You have to put in the extra time to make sure you stay connected.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who worries about disconnecting. I worry that I’m getting too used to living alone, that I’m enjoying my own company more than I should. I fear the old me will creep back in; the me who thinks I don’t need anyone else, that I’m totally independent and don’t need help, comfort or support.
I wonder if when my not-husband is home for good, he’ll just annoy me, ruin my routine and get in the way. I worry that having him around will be too much and we will begin to grate on one another.
Well of course that’s just not true.
We have an incredibly solid foundation and cherish the time we spend together! He’s my best friend and I can’t wait to have him home every day! (Well almost every day, he is still bound by the army of course)
We all need someone and sometimes we have to accept that we can’t do things alone. Whether that’s having support from a parent, your neighbour, an old friend or your husband.
So as amazing as my weekends can be and how much I love my not-husband and the kids, weekend life can become super stressful, literally overnight!
I don’t feel guilty for admitting this because it’s all true, I struggle sometimes to adjust between living alone to living as a family of four. I sometimes struggle to cope with having two (almost – they’re 12 and 13!) stroppy teenagers in the house, answering back and being far from helpful.
But equally I struggle to cope being alone sometimes. I just want someone else there to take the strain. Someone to cuddle up to after a rubbish day. I just want someone else to feed the dogs for once! The little things that make life easier.
Now I know “people have it far worse than you”, and yes that is true. I’m sure there are single mums who cope with more than I do. There are people like my mum, grieving the loss of her husband who will never return. But that doesn’t mean I can’t flow with the ups and downs.
This is MY NORMAL!
Over and Out,
The Not Wife