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Dear Emuna: The Travelling Husband
Dear Emuna

Dear Emuna: The Travelling Husband

Help! My husband is planning a business trip right after I’m due!


Dear Emuna,

My husband owns a very profitable business. He puts in long hours because he’s responsible for its success or failure – and because he really enjoys it. He also has to travel quite frequently. I miss him but I recognize the necessity. However, recently he planned a 10-day trip overseas two weeks after our 5th child is due. I’m beside myself with anger and frustration. He’s either going to miss the birth altogether or leave me to cope with a new baby and the other kids right after I give birth when I will be exhausted and overwhelmed. I can’t believe he doesn’t get it. Help!

Going Out of My Mind

Dear Frustrated Wife,

It’s clear that your husband doesn’t get it. Much of that may be to your credit. You clearly run the household so competently and efficiently that it doesn’t occur to him that you will need his help! It’s probably better to start with an assumption of good will on his part and his belief in you. Nevertheless you need to educate him about your needs. It’s amazing you’ve waited this long!

The secret to doing this effectively will be your tone and manner. If you express yourself harshly, giving vent to your anger and frustration, it’s unlikely he will get the message. As with all communication, use a calm, quiet tone of voice. Start with words of praise for him as a husband, father and provider. Then you can explain how the timing of his next business trip is not exactly convenient and politely ask that he reschedule. You can also explain how much you enjoy having him around for the birth and to greet the new baby. Chances are he wants to be there himself and just hadn’t thought it through. The expression of your desire for his presence because of your love for him and your children’s love for him is likely to be much more effective than an angry demand. There are no guarantees but this approach has the greatest chance of success.

Difficult Child

Dear Emuna,

I have one very difficult child. He is completely undisciplined and flaunts all of our household rules. I’m concerned about his influence on his younger siblings and it’s reached the point where we’re thinking of exercising some tough love and sending him to live out of the house until he gets his act together. What do you think?

Struggling Parent

Dear Struggling,

You’ve left out many details – the age of the children, the nature and degree of the rebellion etc. But the truth is, unless there is serious physical or emotional harm/abuse of the other children at stake, I think my advice would be the same. The best message you can give him and your other children is one of unconditional love. He may lose certain privileges (access to the car for example) but he should never lose his home. I think that if you are concerned for his younger siblings (and I understand that concern), the bigger danger is that they would get the message that if they don’t behave they will be thrown out of the house. Parenting requires endless patience and bottomless love, despite our children’s behavior. Bombard your challenging child with love and remember that you are all only in the middle of the journey. Hang on tight and you should all get to the end safely. And if ever there was a time to pray, to ask for the Almighty’s help, this is certainly it!


Drugging the Kids

Dear Emuna,

My husband and I are flying with our 3 young children from Los Angeles to Israel for a family simcha (celebration) in August. I am dreading the experience (the flight, not the simcha!) and I’m thinking of drugging myself (Ambien, Tylenol PM) and/or the kids (Benadryl) to help us cope. What’s your position on this?

Not a Pharmacist

Dear Not a Pharmacist,

Neither am I. I think this is very individual although I wouldn’t do anything without consulting a doctor. I personally don’t like to take drugs except where absolutely necessary and I am very hesitant to give them to children for convenience and not illness. On the hand, if they are ill, I am in favor of modern medicine, antibiotics and, for myself, lots of Advil for neck pain! Am I giving conflicting messages? I’m too much of a control freak to take something that will put me to sleep and many Ambien users have experienced short term memory loss which seems a high price to pay (although sleepless nights seem to lead to short term memory loss as well!) Bottom line: No fixed rule. Speak to your doctor. Use with discretion. You’re the parent and you know what you can cope with or can’t.

May 4, 2013

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Visitor Comments: 10

(8) Beverly Kurtin, May 22, 2013 7:17 PM

Travelling is not always optional

Because my former husband could not earn much over minimum wage, I had to be the bread winner in our home. Unfortunately, I worked for a text book publisher and had to travel Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. That meant that hubby was an at home father.

Every Monday morning I had to drive 300-500 miles to get into my territory. At times I could just leave my car at an airport and fly home for the weekends. Thankfully, I worked the same times that the colleges did, so I had six week breaks twice a year.

I empathise with the woman. Since I was not working for myself, I could fly home in case of emergencies. Why her husband is planning a trip around the time of his wife's giving birth is a puzzlement. I don't know his situation but in selling it is not always possible to make deals at your convenience.

Does he have a choice? Is there a window of opportunity that will not be available at a later time? I feel for her but understand him. Aarrgghhhhh....

(7) Anonymous, May 12, 2013 4:15 PM

AMBIEN!?!? Definitely not for children

To the woman who is going to Israe with her children. If the kids are above 10 years old I would recommend Tylenol PM. Everyone needs a good couple of hours of sleep for such a long flight. From experience, Ambien can cause all kinds of side effects, too numerous to mention here. Have a safe trip

(6) Joey, May 10, 2013 9:11 PM

To the First Question

Obviously your husband should try to reschedule this trip if possible, and I think Emuna's advice is good. If changing his plans is totally impossible, though, is there a way you could get another source of help: say, a proud grandparent eager to see the new baby, an aunt, etc.?

God bless to all!

(5) MIriam, May 8, 2013 4:42 PM

To tough love parent

I love Emuna's advice. Also: Have you tried finding some way for your child to succeed outside the home? Music lessons, a hobby, something he's good at and can enjoy? (I've even had my child "work" in a job I thought she'd be good at and I gave the "employee" the money to pay my daughter! It was worth it!)

(4) dina strauss, May 7, 2013 9:58 AM

Hire help!

To the lady who doesn't want her husnad to take a trp after she gives birth - if your husband is such a successful businessman, HIRE HELP for when he is gone!

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