If you’ve been a follower of this blog for a while, or you have read my e-book (also available in paperback) then you know that about five years ago, I came to a crossroads. George was fishing a lot and not readily available to the kids or me. Eva (two at the time) was sick with staph and pneumonia, and I also had baby Vincent to care for. Our young dog, Toby, had been diagnosed with cancer.
Ugh. It was a lot, and I was starting to falter under the pressure. I had to make arrangements to ease my load and get some relief, and I did.
Everything went a lot better after that. Now, I’m at another crossroads. I feel again like I’m faltering under the pressure of being a seasonally single mother of three. I am vacuuming, mopping, attending events, returning phone calls and making appointments, reading e-mails, attending meetings, buying and wrapping Christmas presents, sending Christmas cards, hosting parties, opening mail, and making meals. 80% on my own.
George may be “here” but he’s not “here.” He’s at the harbor for ten or so hours each day, installing a huge and expensive new main engine on the boat, and this extra work has cut into his “home time” by three months. When you are married to a fisherman, he may be gone several months a year, but when he’s home, he’s usually “home”. Home to play with kids and help with shopping or even just watch TV. When your fisherman has been gone and then returns, yet he’s still not home, this causes a lot of strain.
I’m starting to get short of patience. I’m annoyed. When will we relax and enjoy the holiday? How lucky for the crew (whom I love and appreciate dearly), who always get to go home and have time off with their families while G still goes down to the boat each and every day to work. I can’t believe some of my girlfriends, who whine about how sick they are or how they couldn’t possibly get through a sick day on the couch without their husbands’ help.
Seriously? I was throwing up all day yesterday. I still had to get up and scrub toilets from sickness left over from my children. And I’m also nursing a baby and mopping floors and trying to organize Christmas alone.
If I sound annoyed, it’s because I am.
Just as I was five years ago, I’m at a crossroads.
In the New Year, I plan to reassess the areas I need extra help (regular housecleaning, for one) and create a new schedule that includes that help.
Mind you, I know how hard George is working. He’s not down at the boat sipping cocktails and laughing with his buddies. He’s crouched down, greasy and cramped, in an engine room. He’s sore and tired and equally as annoyed as me. I know he would rather be home with us than on the boat 24/7.
This is our life, and this is our reality. We live it and for the most part, we love it. The commercial fishing life has its rewards, to be sure.
But when the rewards seem fewer and further between, it’s time to reassess and adjust accordingly.