*I’m so sorry it has taken FOREVER to get Part Two of this series published. We hit a busy season in our family life and some things unfortunately didn’t get done as I had hoped.*
As I continue this series on “How to Survive as a Railroad Wife” here is my next tip/trick that I learned very quickly and it has saved me from going insane on many occasions. Before I tell you what it is (cliff hanger) let me first tell you that we have three very busy children who are always going to some sort of activity or event AND the closest family lives just over 2 hours away. We are on our own when it comes to doing life and when your railroader is on call things need to go smoothly because we have no family living close by to call in a pinch.
So here it is: Plan your kids activities like you are a single parent! I honestly can’t imagine doing it any other way. Because I never know if my railroader is going to be home to help with the driving, I have to make sure I can do it all on my own. That’s just the way it is. I am so thankful that it has always worked out and that we’ve never had to say no to one of our kids because of an overlap. I honestly can’t imagine how we would have decided who got to do their activity and who didn’t. That would turn into WWIII between our kids.
This year was bittersweet because our oldest daughter decided to take the year off dance and pursue another activity. It was bitter because our daughter has danced for 5 years and she was good at it. I know, I know, every parent says that about their child but she is the kind of kid who puts everything into whatever activity she is doing. The sweet part came when she decided to try Taekwon Do (TKD). It was sweet because our son is also in Taekwon Do so it made scheduling activities WAY easier.
I know this is not the case for all railroad wives. More often than not, other railroad wives I know are driving multiple children in very different directions because they don’t all share the same activity. Last year when soccer season started, it was a bit tricky because dance and TKD hadn’t ended and soccer was already starting. Thankfully our daughter could be picked up a little late from the dance studio to accommodate our son’s soccer game. It can be such a balancing act sometimes and it’s not always easy…especially when you have no family to help out in a pinch. I have found scheduling activities like a single parent as a life saver and it has always worked out that our children’s activities haven’t conflicted…yet.
I was at another railroad wife’s house the other day and we were taking about life as a “single parent”. We were talking about how we can’t put our lives on hold because of the railroad. Our children deserve to live life and experience new things and we can’t always be waiting for our railroader to be home to do these fun things. While it’s sad that our railroaders miss out on fun events or activities it’s not fair to our children. One of our local museums has a family event every Saturday that I take my children to. I don’t actually think my railroader has ever been able to attend it with us. If we waited for him to be home to do anything as a family my children would have missed out on a lot. While it’s not always easy packing all the kids up to go out by myself with them I think it’s necessary. When my railroader is home and we can do something fun as a family we always do. To me it’s about making the most of it when he’s home and when he’s not home.
If you missed How I Survive as a Railroad Wife: Part One, you can find it here.