Hey there! I’ve missed you all – it’s been a while, so I thought I would come back with a few of my dos and don’ts of pilot wifery! Let’s get right down to it, shall we?
DO – Be supportive. When his company furloughs, or you have to move (again), or he’s studying for yet another checkride, he needs to know you have his back. When fear and doubts creep in about whether this is all worth it, whether he made the right career choice, or if the sacrifices are just too much, that’s when he needs you the most.
It can be very hard to watch your pilot be frustrated day after day (and be right there in it with him) when you know he deserves better treatment, better pay, and better quality of life. Because really, those things affect your quality of life as well! We all know it takes time to get to that magical, mysterious level of great pay AND a great schedule. But the interim can be exhausting. Hang in there and be supportive. And when you’ve had a rough day, be supportive of yourself! You deserve grace, too.
DON’T – Be afraid to ask for help. I say this a lot, but that’s because it’s true. Surrounding yourself with a network of people who can help you out when you need it is invaluable. Friends, family, and neighbors are all good sources. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been thankful that I have gotten to know my neighbors. You can’t always schedule appointments and events when your pilot is home (and sometimes it doesn’t matter anyway if they get stuck somewhere), so having someone available to help watch the kids or swap meals with is a huge time-saver. Not to mention a sanity-saver as well. Crazy, frazzled Mommy is no fun.
DO – Take time for yourself. I probably sound like a broken record with this one, but that’s because it’s that important! Yes, you deserve to walk around Target by yourself without rushing or answering a million questions or stopping to change a diaper or visiting the toy section. Yes, you can schedule a hair appointment and leave your husband with the kids so you can feel halfway human again. Yes, you can have a girls’ night and hire someone to watch the kids. You don’t always have to wait until the kids are asleep before you do anything for yourself. Feel guilty? Stop it. I’m giving you permission. Go.
DON’T – Dwell on the fact that he’s gone. It’s not going to change unless he changes careers. As long as he’s a pilot, he will be gone. So you have a choice; you can hate it and be miserable (and we all have days like that) or you can be happy that he has a job that he (sometimes) loves and appreciate the good things about it. Sitting around wishing things were different is a waste of time; there are so many awesome things you could be doing instead!
Additionally, your kids pick up on your attitude and how you handle things. They are ALWAYS watching. (Sneaky little buggers.) So model the type of attitude you want to see in your kids. Is it sad when Daddy leaves? Absolutely. It is healthy to acknowledge those feelings and validate them. But it’s also healthy to show your kids that life goes on and there are LOTS of fun things you can still do if Daddy is gone. And keeping up with phone calls and Skype is a great way to stay connected.
DO – Drink wine. That’s pretty much a given. Call me and I will drink with you, and we can laugh at how we think we have it all together.
DON’T – Beat yourself up for not having a clean house, or looking perfect, or not having showered in 2 days, or making grilled cheese for dinner, again. It’s hard enough being a wife and mom with a husband who’s home every day, let alone taking care of everything for days (and sometimes weeks) on end by yourself. Cut yourself some slack and see the last entry above.
DO – Embrace change. It’s part of the package. As soon as you get used to life as you know it, it gets turned upside down. The airline industry is anything but stable. Whether it’s a change of base, contract negotiations, pay increases/decreases, you name it, things will always be changing. Whether you make it an exciting adventure or another wrench thrown in your life is up to you. Like I said before, kids watch your every move. Show them how you roll with the punches and they’ll learn to do the same.
DON’T – Compare yourself to other wives and moms. You are not walking their path, and they are not walking yours. This lifestyle is very different than what many are used to, and there are many who don’t understand (or won’t, no matter how many times you tell them that no, you don’t know where your husband is right this moment). So don’t compare. The only person you should compare yourself to is who you were yesterday. Focus on what makes YOU happy, and keep doing whatever that is.
DO – Learn new things and be independent. If you haven’t already, check out my post on 10 Things You Should Know How To Do Without Your Husband. If I sat around at home and waited for my husband to take care of things, we would both go crazy. Learning to do things myself is a HUGE time saver because it gives us more time to spend together when he is home. Yes, there are still things we both have to take care of when he’s here (and changing out smoke detectors is not my favorite thing to do – always in the middle of the night, gaaaaahhh!) but the more I can cross off of our honey-do-together list, the better.
DON’T – Stay locked up in the house. Go do things! Just because your pilot is gone doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up for days. Even going to the local park with your kids for a picnic, or on a bike ride, or (gasp!) a movie by yourself is fun! I recently hired some neighborhood teenage girls to watch my little one while my son was in school and got myself a pedicure. It was amazing. And cheap (well, the babysitting was anyway). And I was back before she woke up from her nap. Win!
What would you add to this list? I love hearing from you, leave a comment below with what you think!
The Flight Wife