In my case this was Switzerland, before we decided to move over here, which was a big deal in itself. We thought that it would be a good idea for my husband to try it out for size first, to see if the job was the right fit and also so that he could settle in to the job without the pressures of family life too. It was also great for the rest of us, we were able to visit loads, slowly furnish the place and get to know the area so when we did eventually move over (last week) it wasn’t completely alien. Particularly important to the smaller members of the team.
So we were living apart for 16 months and to be honest we were dreading it, but time does indeed fly, so I thought I would share my tips of how I got through it.
I lived for the weekends with the children (hereafter known as the chiplins) they were the best company, from impromptu days out to the beach to just watching a Miss Marple or watching Match of the Day together, the laughter, gossip and general day to day madness of these children was a tonic. Also my parents were their usual fab self, even though based in North Wales would travel down for the odd week and help out and also babysit for the odd weekend away too. Lean on your family if you can – they want to help.
From friends and work colleagues, their chat and company and support was invaluable. They all know who they are but the best therapy when things were getting too much was a cry and a coffee and a chat – and laughter, laughter, laughter (and an impromptu singsong or conga) – that in my book is the best medicine, a problem shared.
Get in to a routine
When we first started living apart my husband was settling in to a new job and I was cracking on with family life and sorting out all the millions of afterschool stuff that the children did, and going through GCSEs, AS Levels and SATS (I just about still have a full head of hair – though it is brought to you by L’oreal to cover the mass of grey). We found that setting a time for a chat or a Facetime really worked so you could put aside some time when you weren’t driving or at the till at Waitrose and it was a dedicated catch up time.
We also got in to a lovely habit of doing the Guardian Quick Crossword together (on the Guardian app) every day too – kept the brain cells working and was something to look forward to (as basic as that might sound) and gave us some routine and normality every day.
Facetime is ace
The boys all love football and love match of the day so we would facetime Dad and prop him up in the living room and would watch the programme or game at the same time; there was a delay of about 30 secs which could be a little amusing especially when we would celebrate a goal before him … we would even prop him up at the end of the table at tea time sometimes too.
Take time out together
We were very lucky that we were able to have a few weekends away on our own – to recharge our batteries and have some time together (Venice being a favourite, more in a later post on that). But, you don’t actually have to fly off to sunny climbs, one of our fav times together is to take a bag of chips and drive up to Whitehorse Hills (near our home in Oxfordshire) and sit and chat – sometimes in the pouring rain (we stayed in the car those times) quiet time together chatting and stuffing your face with chips – what could be more romantic.
It wouldn’t have survived without my beloved Radio 4
Probably one of the loneliest times is at bedtime. I couldn’t bear the silence so I got in to the habit of listening to podcasts, The News Quiz, the Unbelievable Truth, various afternoon plays and a comfort blanket from my childhood Dad’s Army – I think I may now be able to rival my father’s knowledge of Captain Mainwaring and company. I would set the sleep timer on my phone for 30 mins and usually only hear the first 5 minsutes– so an episode usually lasted a week, but at least it got me off to sleep.
So that’s how I survived our time apart. This week we start living together again, perhaps one of my future blogs will be how to resume living with your husband, but we will see.
I am about it start a new adventure and hope that you will join me.