I have a new job. It’s exactly what I’ve always wanted to do, my very own dream job, so to speak. A task that fulfills, challenges and makes me happy. It sounds too good to be true and it is, because of course there is a catch: some of the work can be done in the home office, but I have to work regularly at headquarters for a few days. That is hundreds of kilometers away in another city. That means I have to commute and sometimes I’m not home for days.
When the offer came, my wife immediately said: “You have to do this”. I was delighted with your clear, self-evident attitude. For a long time I had my back free so that she could develop professionally. I was with the children, reduced my hours and she commuted from Berlin to Bavaria. It was nine endless months, sometimes I wonder how we – to be honest: especially I – managed to get through this time without family support. Yes, I know, that may be complaints at a high level, it is even more difficult for single parents. Still, it was an enormous burden for us and our two children.
“Somehow we can do it,” said my wife. Yes I remember. “Somehow we can do it”, that’s what I always said. “Somehow” that was also true, but I don’t remember exactly how that was. Above all, it was the sentence that was supposed to make commuting easier for people who commute: “You go, it’s okay, you have to.” We have been living here in Franconia for two years now and are doing well.
Last but not least, this fact took away my doubts: If we did it then, we will do it this time too.
And then I thought of myself and quite honestly called “Yippie” and not particularly quietly. The prospect of having time to breathe deeply again after this endless corona loop, to be able to throw myself into my work and not be responsible for anyone other than myself, honestly, that sounded promising. No kids yeah Yes, it’s selfish, but I didn’t give a damn.
“Just do a lot of sport, go to the museum or just sit down for a coffee and do nothing,” my wife advised me. She means it honestly. She knows what she’s talking about. As I said, she commuted herself for a long time and had time to herself. In retrospect, she said she didn’t use this time for herself enough. Mentally she would have been with us a lot and therefore couldn’t really switch off. “Do a lot for yourself, enjoy it”, she whispered in my ear when I said goodbye at the train station for the first time. I hugged everyone, hugged everyone and, despite the sad eyes of my children, I got on the train with determination. “Enjoy it”, that’s what I have firmly resolved to do. And imagined that I could do it better than my wife.
After two shorter assignments, each with two overnight stays over the weekend, I was away for four working days for the first time. Monday morning there, Thursday morning back. This time, despite all the benevolent and encouraging words, my wife would have preferred that I had stayed there. She works for a large company, has been leading a team since January and, of all people, in my absence, her schedule was even fuller than usual.
Of course, exactly what happened then, which should not happen, but always happens in such constellations. Whether it’s Murphy’s Law, coincidence, self-fulfilling prophecy or just bad luck, I don’t know. In any case, our son Theo suddenly had a temperature of 40.2 degrees on Monday evening. A short WhatsApp and a long phone call during which my wife complained about her suffering.
The boy is sick. She had to reschedule all appointments, her accurately timed weekly schedule was gone. In the end, everything worked out anyway, but with stress, strain and frustration.
My relaxation was gone. Of course, neither my wife nor I can help if our son suddenly has a fever. Still, you feel like you’re leaving the other person alone. Breakfast in the hotel is not so relaxed and it is also not so easy to jog when you know that your spouse is rotating in all directions 300 kilometers away at home in order to somehow run their everyday lives.
Then there are the phone calls with the children. You don’t hear from them: “Somehow we’ll manage it”, but rather: “Dad, I miss you, I want you to read Pippi Longstocking to me.” “Yes, my little one, I’ll do that on Thursday, then two Chapter. ”“ Dad, I think it’s such a shame that I can’t watch Germany against Hungary with you. ”“ Yes, I would like to watch that with you too. Maybe Germany will progress, then we’ll watch the round of 16 together, I promise! “
Then the things that happen in everyday life: Theo is writing a math test, our daughter Frida is invited for a birthday at a daycare friend’s. Usually these are my jobs, practicing math, talking to my girlfriend’s parents and getting a present. If you experience these things while lying on the too soft mattress of a hotel room, in which the cooling of the minibar starts every few minutes and the view from the rain-soaked window over the parking lot at the ruins of an old foundry ends, then you feel pretty uninvolved. Somehow one imagined it to be different.
But: We make the best of it, it’s always like that. Since my return I have done a lot with the children. We also had a visitor from Berlin, it’s already summer vacation there. Theo had a soccer game on Sunday, after which we went to the outdoor pool so that my wife had a few hours of rest to make up for the workload that had been lost over the week.
The question of whether the best job in the world justifies this commuting, is worth this separation, we will ask ourselves in a few months and answer.
Tonight I’m going to read two chapters to my daughter Pippi Longstocking. I can’t keep the promise to watch the German round of 16 with Theo. I’ll get back on the train tomorrow and won’t be back until Thursday.