How Do Work Schedules Affect the Family?

How Do Work Schedules Affect the Home?

How Do Work Schedules Affect the Family?
Photo by Leo Hidalgo

How Do Work Schedules Affect the Home?

How do work schedules affect the home? Where do we draw the line between our calling and sacrificing time with our family?

I've been thinking about this topic a lot lately. Harold's dream is to get back into flying commercially after being away for the last 7 1/2 years. A big reason he left in the first place was because of low pay and an upgrade freeze. His student loans kept coming out of forbearance and amounting to the size of a mortgage payment. We couldn't afford to make the payments. And as far as his work schedule went, it was variable; his trips would typically last anywhere from three to six days and then he would be home for two to four days.

Now that he is back in aviation, we're going back to that variable schedule.

This type of schedule can be hard on marriages, whether or not children are involved. But I don't believe the schedule is at fault when marriages fall apart.

There are certain things that come with any career. Certain expectations that are just part of doing business in that particular field. Most commercial pilots are away from home. They don't  have the ability to be home every night like some other careers allow. And other careers require the individual to be away from home, too. Or have a variable schedule that is even harder to adapt to.  

But when we make our marriage vows, we make a commitment to one another. Whether we like it or not, the craziness of our spouse's career becomes a part of our lives, too. We knew what we were signing up for. Sometimes people change their priorities and they give up on things that they once cared about because they care about something else more. But that isn't always the case, and it shouldn't be a requirement.

There is no arguing our calling. It's just there and it stays with us even when we try to let it go. Sometimes we are able to let it go for a certain amount of time, but it pulls us right back in somewhere down the road. We feel a pull toward our calling, an urge or strong desire to fulfill that divine purpose. To deny ourselves is to deny God. We know what we should be doing, but when we don't do it, we sacrifice more than what appears on the surface.

Personal fulfillment has a lot to do with this calling. Neglect of a calling can result in a person being home, but not mentally present. It can lead to frustration, irritability, and feeling uninspired. A strong marriage doesn't require a spouse to be home every night; it requires a strong commitment to one another, trust, understanding, and quality time. Quality time is hard to achieve when one person in the relationship (or both) is not meeting his own personal goals that relate to his calling. Each of us has a divine purpose, and it's up to us to work toward it.

The big question here is this: what is it you *think* you should be doing? And what will happen if you do the thing you *think* you should do?

If you give up on your career (and this applies only if your current career is your divine calling), what will happen? Will you be able to feel fulfilled in some other job? I can't answer that question for you. Only you know the answer. And there isn't anything wrong with taking a detour. Sometimes a detour is a blessing in disguise. But when that calling comes up again, will you be ready to answer?

Jody Calkins
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