My husband and I will have been married 18yrs this August. (If we make it that long)
We have 2 sons, the oldest of which has autism.
My husband hadn't had a job from before that son was born (1993), right through until April 2009 when I threw him out and told him he could come back when he got a job.
He got a job by the end of the month, working as a gardener. (Even though my garden's like an overgrown jungle)
Then, in October '09 he switched to a job in Engineering, his profession.
He volunteered to work away for 2 weeks in December, meaning that I was left working all day, dealing with the kids, running the house, attending University 2 nights a week (working for my degree) and organising Christmas for us all. (I refused to buy anything for his family this year, as they don't do or get anything for me, so they got nothing)
By the end of December he'd volunteered to work in the US for 3 months (from Jan 6th to Easter Sunday) - we live in the UK.
Divorcing him would have been easier, at least I would have had alternate weekends and some evenings each week when he'd have the boys so I could take a break.
I told him that in future, if he goes away for longer than a month, he needn't bother coming back because he won't be welcome.
I've had to repeatedly explain to my sons "Tell me again why daddy had to go away for 3 months?"
I've head to make the decision to have one of our 4 cats put to sleep due to progressive, painful incurable illness that was discovered during surgery that should have been a routine draining of a cyst.
I had to tell our sons where the cat had gone.
I had to collect his body from the vet.
I had to cut his collar off the cold, stiff, leaking body. (The boys wanted the tags as a keepsake)
I had to organise and lead a funeral service for the boys and bury the cat in our garden.
I had to hold back my own tears to help my sons come to terms with the loss of a cat that we'd had for 13yrs.
I have another cat in for surgery tomorrow with a suspected broken leg.
I've had to learn how to reset circuit breakers because his electrical handiwork means that when it rains too much I lose power to half of my house.
I've learned how to fit magnetic door catches to stop cats going in the airing cupboard and down through the floorboards and under the house.
I dug my car out of 7" of snow.
I've fitted brass cabin hooks to the bedroom doors because I needed them to be open for ventilation, but closed so the cats can't go in.
I worked out why my DVD player was showing only a blue-screen but had correct audio.
I organised my mum to have the boys the 2 evenings a week so that I could carry on with my studies.
I now have door chains on front and back doors because his parents don't appear to know how to use a doorbell properly.
I've had the air conditioning on my car fixed.
I've endured a pregnancy scare because he never went back for the all-clear from his vasectomy 6 years ago.
I've applied for passports for me and the kids, and bought plane tickets to travel half way round the world to go see him, and he hasn't even arranged which days he's taking off work to spend with us.
I've had birthday gifts shipped to him, in time for his birthday.
I had valentines gifts and cards shipped in time for valentine's day.
I had cold & flu meds shipped to him from a local store because he was too sick to go out and buy some.
I've rearranged the boys and my lives so that we can chat with him on Skype for several hours each evening that I'm not at college because he has nothing else to do.
I've installed WebCams around the house so that we can carry on with the Skype whilst I cook, do laundry, tidy up, eat dinner etc.
Now we're 6 weeks in to that 3 months, he's started telling us on Skype about these other projects the company has in Canada and another 2 in the US and I just know he's about to tell us that he'll be home for a couple of weeks at Easter and then he'll be going off on another project - and I'm readying my response, that "anything of yours that you don't take with you, I'll drop off at your mum & dad's, and could you ask them to let me have their door-keys whilst I'm there"
Or should I insist that its my turn to be a stay-at-home parent for 15-years and quit my job so that I have time to keep on top of all the house/kids/college/cats stuff properly, and still have some "me" time every now and then?