Dear Barb—Distance Not Easy

Dear Barb:

I am in my early forties and work away from home.  My two sons are eight and ten and I have been working away from home for the last four years.  I usually manage to make it home for one weekend each month.  My wife has been great, but I can see she is getting tired of having to take on all the responsibilities at home.  My boys are at an age where they need a full-time father.  They are both in hockey and are constantly asking me to come to their games.  My wife videotapes most of the games, but it’s just not the same.  I am working on my degree at AU and I am hoping to be finished in two years, so I can begin a career in online education.  I just don’t know if my family will be able to survive another two years of this distance.  I don’t want to lose my family in this pursuit.  I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place.  I’m looking for some advice on which is the best option, continue to reassure my family that the end is near, or give up my dream and look for a job near home.  Looking forward to your reply.  Thanks, Jeff.

Hi Jeff:

Thanks for your letter.  I have no doubt it is rough having to be away from family, especially when you have growing children.  You and your family have an important decision to make and it needs to be made together as a family unit.  Your children need to understand what it means for you to give up your present job and your dream to be home full time.  My question is why can’t you do both?  Look for work nearby and continue your courses at AU.  The advantage to pursuing an online degree is that you can do it all and you do not have to give up your dream.  It may take some time to find a compatible job as far as pay and other considerations, so everyone will have to be patient.  In the meantime, make the best of the situation you are in.  For example, when you are home make it a special time, go to your kids games, watch movies together, go on hikes or camping.  Cook dinner with your wife or enjoy dinner out.  Make your weekends together free of electronic devices, except maybe for an hour a day to check emails and catch up on correspondence; that goes for your children as well.  Best of luck in the future Jeff.

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