Monday, April 9, 2012

School holidays means hard work
School holidays are always challenging as one tries to balance the necessary entertainment of kids with the self-imposed or very real spectre of advancing deadlines. Fortunately I really believe I'll get my latest novella off to Ellora's Cave by the end of tomorrow.

In the meantime my wild six-year-old is shredding the Saturday papers into tiny pieces. I'm sure she's going to ask if she can set fire to them, next, as I made the mistake of recounting my blissful childhood when I had my own fire pit at the bottom of our garden in Adelaide, South Australia, where I concocted various witches' brews in an old three cornered pot my mother tossed my way.

However, as we've had rain, hail and generally freezing weather I might be off the hook. Its just gets so tiring being the parent who always says 'no' when the other one is always away, flying. Eivind assures me the full-on commitment required by his 737 command upgrade is not representative of the usual pattern and that he can bid for a more family-friendly roster and I do believe him and am supportive. My 18 years as a trailing spouse in twelve countries has equipped me for odd hours, such as regular two months away and one month at home during his survey job, or four months away when he flew in Antarctica.

That said, I loved turning the tables and being the one to take a two-month contract in Sweden, pre-kids, while he stayed at home when he was chief pilot of the airborne geophysical survey company we both worked for. I wanted the job - for both the excitement and the novelty of being away (as well as the money) - but I also wanted him to know that it can be plain drudgery simply keeping the house in order in the domestic sphere. Of those two months I have very happy memories of gathering blueberries by the lake at the resort where the crew was stationed and going to nightclubs in the Arctic circle town of Arvidsjaur. I doubt Eivind remembers much of his time spent making solo meals and doing the washing.

So now I've pandered to my daughter's whims and generally been the good parent - with an interlude drinking wine with my sister who is also married to a Norwegian pilot she met in Botswana, like me. While the four kids ran around we had a great time discussing family dysfunctionality and the difficulty of being appreciated as a returning mother to the workforce with disparate world-wide work experience.

That said, it's now time to get the girls to bed, print out my 54,000 word novel about star-crossed lovers involving an older woman and a younger man, and go to bed.

But first I must check the electronic diary to see when my lovely husband is home so I can prepare a nice dinner to reflect my understanding that his stress levels in the hot seat are high.

Being the wife of a shift-worker requires a broad level of skills including frustration-free nurturing, understanding, appreciation and good old fashioned appreciation.

And I can do all of that... just as long as I can claw enough out of a day for 'just me'.

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