Okay, so looking back I was totally clueless when it came to becoming a railroad wife. There was so much I had no clue about and maybe that was a good thing. Had I known what we were getting into I might have discouraged my railroader from even applying. This next one is a tough one…on the railroad wife especially.
I wish I knew before I became a railroad wife was that I would become a “single” parent.
As I wrote in, What I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Railroad Wife – Part One, the railroad schedule is like no other. I NEVER know when my railroader is coming or going. He’s typically home for 12-24 hours and gone for 36-48 hours and I know other railroad wives who don’t even see their railroader that often. Crazy!?!? There really is no other job that you can compare the railroad to.
Being a railroad wife can be challenging because you never know when he’s going to be home to help you with various tasks like driving kids to activities or taking care of the kids while you go to a meeting. I have learned to go with the assumption that he probably won’t be around to help me with the kids or any household duties. When I sign my children up for their activities I always make sure I can do all the drop-offs and pick-ups on my own. I can never double book activities because there is just no guarantee he will be home to help.
Along with being a “single” parent we didn’t know there was these things called Temporary Relocations. A while back things got slow at my railroader’s terminal but they needed conductors at a few other terminals. With layoffs looming and my railroader being low on the totem pole, so to speak, he put in for a temporary relocation. Anything is better than collecting Employment Insurance. The thought of him being away for 91 days was terrifying. I never thought this would ever be a possibility. Like who really does? I didn’t sign up to be a “single” parent but when faced with a layoff you do what you got to do. Well a 91 day relocation turned into a 182 day relocation.
182 days of being a single parent!
Once again we adapted and made it work. It was just as hard on him being away from us as it was hard on us being away from him. The railroad will always throw you some sort of curve ball you will have to adapt to.
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