The family was intact for a few years, but the husband gets an attractive job offer in another state. Attractiveness comes from job description and salary. In order to accept the job, the husband cannot continue living in the same house with his family, because the daily commute would be too strenuous, expensive, and time-consuming, This dilemma is a tough one, because the husband has a job close to home, but does not like that job and wants to look for another one. However, there are just no job offers locally that seem satisfactory and beneficial. The dilemma is to stay at home in a mediocre stressful job and be a great family man or take the job offer and be away from the family? This situation is not a new one and more common than we know. Do the pros of accepting this job offer outweigh the cons of seeing his wife and kids less, of not being there to help the kids with their homework, sports and extra-curricular activities, and just the plain pleasure of being a dad and husband? Add to this the pressure of Mom now being the sole “physical” parent with the kids and dog. Now, only she can drive the kids to school, take out the garbage, and perform the usual manly maintenance stuff around the house that is usually performed by Dad.
Let’s take Stephanie and George. George got a job in another state and LOVED the thought of doing the work and making a lot more money. Stephanie actually gave him her blessing to do it. Although the kids were too young to really give their blessing, he did ask them as well. After all, it is nice to get the kids involved in the decision making process. That made them feel important and also mitigated the possibility of seeing George as an absentee dad, so George accepted the job offer and made living arrangements. George and Stephanie also decided that George would come home every weekend to spend time with the family. It all seems great at first.
Fast forward to George’s moving day. He took some minimal possessions since the apartment he was going to rent was already furnished. He did not need to buy furniture, a bed, or even kitchen appliances. All he needed was clothing and other living essentials. That following Monday, George started his new job. Weeks go by and he is loving his job and seeing the children on the weekends is actually working out. George gets paid with direct deposit, so there are no money problems in the family. After all of this has transcended, does this routine start to get old? Will the family be able to handle not seeing George every day? Will he become an absentee dad in the eyes of his wife, his kids, and his dog? Some adjustments were in order and needed to be accomplished quickly, because what seems to be great at first can slowly take its toll on everyone. Not only will this effect George as a family man, but George will probably start to question his own performance on this new job.
Since we have seen George’s situation, let’s look at Stephanie’s issues. She is the sole physical parent in the house. Only she can drive the kids to school, take them to football practice, and drive them to their friends’ home. The peace and quiet that she used to enjoy has now lessened. The separation also affects their intimacy and relationship.
This situation can fester on and make everyone miserable if adjustments are not taken. The solution comes from thinking out of the box. What George did was ask his boss to work from home two days a week, preferably on Thursdays and Fridays. The boss agreed and had the company’s IT department set him up to work remotely and on Skype for meetings. A simple solution like that will make all of the difference. However, not everyone can be successful with a work-a-home solution. Other solutions involve using the internet, which now, plays a huge role in helping people “be there” when they physically cannot. George now Skypes the family every night and even helps the kids with their homework over the phone and on Skype. They scan in their homework and email it to him, so he can also have a copy right in front of him. Scanners are very cheap now and decent ones can be purchased for under $50 when the cost would be hundreds of dollars in the past. George also plays online games with his kids. Between Minecraft, IMVU Roblox, and other multi-player games, George has his own account like the kids and when they go on, he does too. Stephanie relaxes and still has her own personal time as if George were there.
Realizing that this is not a better solution over being present, this is the best solution to being an absentee dad and putting all the burden on Stephanie. If you are in this situation, find creative ways to make it work. There are so many possibilities for a feasible solution and different methods will work for different families.
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