Life When Dad's Away

Homecomings & More Tips

When Dad returns, everything is better, right? The truth is, Mom probably found a rhythm that works for her, and having Dad back can disrupt that. To avoid feelings of frustration:

  • Talk it out ahead of time. Debrief him on the household routine you've created.
  • Spell out for him what you can't wait to have help with (cleaning up dinner) and also what you don't want messed up (your firm 7:30 bedtime).
  • Don't have sky-high expectations. Life will be a little awkward for a short time, and that's okay.

6 Tips for Taking Care of You

Thom Rutledge, author of Embracing Fear -- and Finding the Courage to Live Your Life (HarperSanFrancisco) offers this advice:

  1. Look for opportunities to do something for yourself, even really small ones. You don't expect your car to run without gasoline; the same applies to you.
  2. Have realistic expectations. Perfectionism is a killer. It won't all get done anyway, so don't exhaust yourself.
  3. Be creative about getting help. It is not weakness but wisdom to admit that you need help. If you can afford it, hire help. If not, trade childcare, meal preparation, or other favors with other families.
  4. Remember who you are. It's easy to forget that you are a person, separate from your role as wife and mother. Don't forget you have aspirations for yourself, even though they may have to be temporarily postponed.
  5. Hold tight to self-respect. You may feel like a servant sometimes, but remember that holding a family together and raising happy children is the most important job in the world -- it really is.
  6. Respect your spouse's time and energy, but ask for help if you need it. You keep working when you're tired, right? So should he.

For what it's worth, I felt empowered beyond compare after the year on my own. It's a challenging way to live, no doubt, but recognizing how it can make you stronger makes it all easier.

Beth Torroll is a mother of two in Nashville.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, June 2007.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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