So, this is it: my husband is back from his recent last trip to the Antarctic – this was the additional last stint after the last stint before that. After we moved to Germany last spring, he was here for two months over the summer, then gone for four and a half months, back for two and a half, and gone for over two months again. Which sucked.
One of the biggest reasons we moved was actually to be able to spend more time together; something that was difficult with these Antarctic jobs we both had – both of us had to spend time away, and it just turned out that my husband went on more and longer trips. The other big reason was that I wanted my son to learn German – I spoke it with him in Colorado, but he answered in English. Once here, he picked it up in a breathtakingly short three months (not fair at all considering how hard we second language people have to work at it – it was amazing to watch him!). The final reason was to be closer to family – my family – who my son can now communicate with without problems. I love it.
Here’s the catch: to be able to do all this, I have to be the main income provider for us. My husband does not speak fluent German yet, so he gets to be the primary care provider for our son (and take German classes). Of course, this sounds as if it shouldn’t even raise an eyebrow these days… but it does.
It’s not a problem for me at all to pull my full weight in a full-on job: this is what I’ve been doing my entire adult life, what I – similar to my peers – knew I was going to do growing up and what I prepared for. Surprisingly though, it does add a certain quality to the ‘job thing’ when your family depends on the income you generate. I do not perceive this as a crushing weight of responsibility, but it does add a level of – for lack of a better word – seriousness that feels new.
What’s difficult for me is that I’m the one who gets to spend less time with our son. I also have to rely on my husband to hold things together at home. The most difficult part about that is accepting that he has his own way of doing things – concerning taking care of our son, running the household, the whole thing – because naturally, there are things that I’d do differently, that I think can be done more efficiently, or timely, or thoroughly (but of course he’s doing just fine).
So I’m having to learn to let things go on one end while taking full control at the throttle on the other.
Just as long as I come home to see the Dragon Slayer before it gets wiped off…
This post was first published on Nature Network, which has since been discontinued. The post has been moved to SciLogs.