We are too busy.
It isn't activities or hobbies, neither of which we have anymore. Its my husband working an average of 75 hours a week. I seem to always get scheduled to work on his days off, so we never see each other.
We took the boat out four times last summer. We couldnt find the time for anything more. We never did take Josh to the zoo, or put up a swing in the backyard. More and more, my husband comes home sleep, and its time to go back to work when he wakes up.
It is mostly just the simple fact that this is what firefighters and paramedics do. Everyone I know who works these kind of jobs does what we do...working forty or fifty hours of overtime or two jobs or, like Rob, both.
In the middle of the craziness, its easy to imagine what-if. What if we didn't have to do this?
In the field across from my parents, there is a camper. The people who live there keep to themselves. They have a garden and a clothesline. Sometimes we think-yeah! We should just sell everything and go live in a camper and raise our own food and be totally self sufficient and live off the land! Except the good folks at CPS would probably (rightly) assume that I was setting my children up for all kinds of security and food issues, and give my parents custody.
If there is a middle ground, I haven't found it. Are there mothers who don't come home exhausted, toss a frozen pizza in for dinner, and who occasionally see their husbands? Are there really fathers who have time to put a swing up for their kids, build the upstairs bathroom, and are willing to occasionally take a day off work to take the toddler to the zoo?
I assume there are families like this, but I suspect they have made intentional choices to create a simple and less stressful lifestyle. Those are not our choices, valid though they may be. We have debt to pay down and jobs that demand time more than anything else.
But the truth is, my son is never going to wish that Daddy came home every night or that we spent a week a year camping, because that isn't going to be anything he ever knows. This is his status quo, even if it isn't for his parents.