A few weeks ago I was counting down the days when my hubby would be home.
The closer it got the harder it became, it was those last few days that seem to drag on forever. Finally he walked through the door and a sense of calm came over me.
Everything would be easier now, the pressure would be taken off me to do absolutely everything. He had come home at night so the kids were both asleep and so I had him all to myself for the whole night.
The kids didn’t know he had come home so I woke up to them and gave him a sleep in and it wasn’t till about 8.00am I told them both to go into my bedroom and say hello to Daddy.
They just looked at me wide eyed, ran into the bedroom and jumped all over him. I got a bit teary eyed seeing the kids so excited.
You see his final swing was 3 months so it had been quite a while since they had had kisses and cuddles from Daddy. As you can imagine the next few days were fun, laughter and lots of outings.
I was enjoying some sleep ins and having someone else cook, clean and bath the kids, but then I realised I was starting to get irritated by little things he was doing, simple things like the way he was so relaxed about the daily routine or waiting till the kids were wailing from hunger in the morning before giving them breakfast, to the way he hung up the washing – the pegs don’t sit in the middle of the garment!
So in the week that followed I became more and more irritated by him and from my point of view he was undoing everything I had put into place over the last year and a half.
The kids weren’t listening to him and because he hadn’t really disciplined them in such a long time they were starting to act out knowing Daddy wouldn’t say anything.
After confiding in a friend I realised he was integrating back into family life after a long time working away and it wouldn’t be as easy as I thought and although he had been home on weekends many times it was like a holiday every time.
I also needed to get used living with someone again full time and realise that he would he would have his own way of doing certain things and I needed to accept that.
There were a few things we had to sort out as parents and as a couple.
Honesty and Communication is very important.
I had to be open and honest about everything that was bothering me and we had to sort out the smallest of issues.
I didn’t want to leave anything unsaid because I knew if I did it would build up and eventually explode into something much bigger.
He also needed to be on the same page as me when it came to parenting.
I didn’t want to end up being the unfair parent so we agreed that he needed to let them know when their behaviour was unacceptable and wouldn’t be tolerated.
It didn’t take long for the kids to realise that Daddy had the same ideas as Mummy, not just about consequences after unacceptable behaviour, but also setting clear boundaries, praise and encouragement.
Routine is one big theme that is constant in my home.
My kids have had a similar routine from a very young age and for them it works really well because they always know what’s going on.
With another baby on the way it is important for us to spend some quality couple time together which means making sure the kids are settled now that Daddy is home and having them in bed at the set times so we get our time together.
We have good friends who baby-sit every now and then so we can have a few date nights.
Things have slowly fallen back into place and I understand now that it was quite overwhelming for him to come back home after only having to look after himself for so long to a family who wanted his attention every minute of the day.
With two young children and another on the way there isn’t any time to do nothing these days so we give each other space when we can, he might take the kids to the playground so I can have a relaxing afternoon or he might go for a skate to clear his head and we take turns with sleep ins on weekends.
So at the end of the day I couldn’t be happier having him home it just took a bit of work from both of us.
When your other half finally comes home for good from FIFO work just remember to give each other time to get used to be a family again.
Words Amardy Baucke
Originally published in Coast Kids