I still don't feel any better, dad

My wife called me the other night with my son in tears. He is four years old and had been playing hard all day so he was exhausted.
This lead to his true feelings surfacing before bed time.

He and my other two kids are real troopers in dealing with their dad being gone so much. But just like my wife sometimes, in a bad moment, it gets to them.

My wife decided letting him talk to his dad before bed time might make him feel a little bit better so she put him on the phone and he stopped crying long enough for me to tell him about all the fun we were going to have when i finally get home.

I spent quite some time telling him how I would take him and his sisters for a ride in my truck and how we could go to the park on a nice day and play.
I told him we will go to the “play place” and they can play as long as they want.
I told him how we could go buy some more fish for the fish tank and look at the model trains at the pet and hobby shop he loves to go to.
I told him we could pet some puppies and maybe pick one out for this Christmas that Santa could bring him.

He stoppped crying and listened intently to all of this. I thought i was doing pretty good in making him feel a little bit better before bed time so that he could get a good nights rest until when it was time to pass the phone off to his mother he started whimpering again and said that he still didn’t feel any better about me not being there.

It took me way back to when I was a little boy and my dad was on the other side of the country. My mom would tuck me in at bed time and I would start crying because I wanted to be tucked in by my dad too.
My mom would hug and kiss me with understanding and now I know the helplessness that she must have felt while trying to comfort me.
And now I also know the helplessness that my wife must feel when she is a single mother for a month or more at a time.

At least I do come home and we have a great time when i do, which is more than i can say for my pops when i was a kid, but this brings little comfort when your four year old is crying in the background.

I spend 8 months or more a year out hear and it seems like I only visit my family for short breaks.

I have to say that “skype” has been a God send but it still is not the same as the loving touch of a father that is there to tuck his son in for bed.

We have a good life and are truley blessed. Life is what you make of it I know.

I have no other trade that can provide for my family this well.

I just hope that he will grow to understand this as he gets older and not hate me for being away so much.

I know at some point when I was a boy or young man I had to “toughen up” and I realised it is what it is.

I havn’t spoken with my dad since 1995 and I have no desire to. Not out of hatred mind you but rather he was never there when i needed him so i found other ways to comfort myself.

Am I doomed to repeat this cycle with my kids?

My wife tells me what a good father I am all the time but “I still don’t feel any better.”

I havn’t spoken with my dad since 1995 and I have no desire to. Am I doomed to repeat this cycle with my kids?

from the sounds of it I would say “yes”.
get an equal time job or a shore side job while the kids are small.
there is more to life then money.

I worked offshore until my first was almost two years old. Missed the first two Christmas and other holidays. Didn’t miss any for 23 years after that. I floundered around at first but found self employment to work for me. I have no regrets for that decision other than letting my license/endorsements expire in 1997. Now that kids are grown I am offshore again after painful and expensive renewal/upgrades. Wish you the best in your decision.

I can’t believe anyone would work a job that wasn’t equal time. You need to adjust your lifestyle & wonder about whats going on when you are gone 2/3 of the time from home.

[QUOTE=Tugted;35105]I can’t believe anyone would work a job that wasn’t equal time. You need to adjust your lifestyle & wonder about whats going on when you are gone 2/3 of the time from home.[/QUOTE]

I felt the same on the last half of my career. The first half, I was accumulating all of the seatime I could to upgrade and then recover from a divorce.

I started gCaptain just after my son was born. He’s 4 now and I feel like gCaptain has taken even more away from the time we get to spend together… but I’ve put thousands of hours into this site, and become passionate about it’s success and it’s all for him.

gCaptain is very close to making enough profit to allow me to do it full time… and thus… be home with the kids.

Whether it’s starting your own business or sacrificing to take a much smaller paycheck (or In my case both!)… first find the passion in your kids and what you do… if you do then the downsides to your decisions will be a much easier pill to swallow.

john makes a very good point that many of us professional mariners forget: working a shoreside job, especially a “career” level sort of job, will probably rob you of more time with your family then even a 28/14 rotation…

The wife an’ I spliced together 33 years ago last week.

I’ve been gone for most of it.
Long deployments during the Navy years, constantly offshore during the fishing years, workin’ lots of extra on these tugs.
I’ve provided well for them, no regrets.

The secret we’ve found is that neither she or I, or the kids, are at the center of the relationship. At the center is the love and respect between us, and we all revolve around that.
They know I’m gone for them, I know they’re worth any sacrifice.

OICUR12 look at the bright side, when you ARE home, you can focus totally on BEING home.

Best of luck, everybody has a blue day once in awhile, but don’t beat yourself up. And screw that repeating your fathers mistakes stuff. I sense that the trouble wasn’t JUST that he was gone.

Feelin better now. Thanks for the kind replies. Most of us that do at least 6 months a year away from home all have an interesting story to tell when it comes to relationship survival or not in some cases.

We do have a good time when dad’s home. They are good kids thanks to their mother. She has sacrificed working full time to be primary care giver. 6 year old is playin piano already. Very proud of them.

Get them independent (this job should help with that) and get them on their own then it’s mommy and daddy time.

Fair winds and following seas to you all

Your story brought tears to my eyes. I have been working on the water for 5 years now my children are 21 and 17. I worked a shore job during their childhood and wish I would have done this work back then. Think this way,be the best father and husband you can when youre off and beleive me you do get much more QUALITY time home than a regular job,and besides if you have to struggle because of income and fatigue what good is being home everyday ,stressed and aggravated.You, the REAL you wouldnt be there anyway,would you?

//youtu.be/We1BVMmcr2A

[QUOTE=Tugted;35105]I can’t believe anyone would work a job that wasn’t equal time. You need to adjust your lifestyle & wonder about whats going on when you are gone 2/3 of the time from home.[/QUOTE]

I have a good woman at home and great kids so I don’t have to “worry” about what’s goin on when I’m not home. Jody you’re out of luck with my wife. Sorry

[QUOTE=ddupre3;35529]Your story brought tears to my eyes. I have been working on the water for 5 years now my children are 21 and 17. I worked a shore job during their childhood and wish I would have done this work back then. Think this way,be the best father and husband you can when youre off and beleive me you do get much more QUALITY time home than a regular job,and besides if you have to struggle because of income and fatigue what good is being home everyday ,stressed and aggravated.You, the REAL you wouldnt be there anyway,would you?[/QUOTE]

This is very true. We do have a good time when dad is home. We do get “quality” time together when other families around us are caught up in the rat race of everyday life. I will say one thing. Thank God for Skype. It’s not the same as being there but it is still good to be able to see eachother when we are talking.

[QUOTE=john;35180]I started gCaptain just after my son was born. He’s 4 now and I feel like gCaptain has taken even more away from the time we get to spend together… but I’ve put thousands of hours into this site, and become passionate about it’s success and it’s all for him.

gCaptain is very close to making enough profit to allow me to do it full time… and thus… be home with the kids.

Whether it’s starting your own business or sacrificing to take a much smaller paycheck (or In my case both!)… first find the passion in your kids and what you do… if you do then the downsides to your decisions will be a much easier pill to swallow.[/QUOTE]

Glad for you and hoping for the future success of your site.

[QUOTE=Tugted;35105]I can’t believe anyone would work a job that wasn’t equal time. You need to adjust your lifestyle & wonder about whats going on when you are gone 2/3 of the time from home.[/QUOTE]

If i gave you a choice of digging a ditch in Lousiana in the summer time or working a 2/3 schedule for killer money I bet you would take the 2/3. And by the way my schedule is 2/1. I don’t know how you “can’t believe” that anyone would spend that much time away from the house. Most of the guys I know have to work 2/1 just to make it and have a decent standard of living. The guys that i worked with that worked 30/30 were either already millionare captains from their retirement and stocks in the company or they were deckhands that still lived at home with mom and dad or even in a shack. A shack with a tin roof is not good enough for my family.
I will sacrifice for this lifestyle. We are not rich but we are comfortable.

[QUOTE=injunear;35119]I felt the same on the last half of my career. The first half, I was accumulating all of the seatime I could to upgrade and then recover from a divorce.[/QUOTE]

I am sorry for your divorce. I chose wisely. A church goin girl that only had aspirations of becoming a housewife and stay at home mom. She didn’t want to go to school of have a full time carear.

She is not a Barbie Doll and I purposley avoided that type. They screw you in more ways than one. Mostly when you are not home.

My brother is a “trophy keeper”. He has a trophy car, motorcycle, woman, ect, ect. If he left home for a month she would clean him out. So much for the trophy.

[QUOTE=OICUR12;36006]I am sorry for your divorce.[/QUOTE]

Don’t feel sorry for me! If I were still married to her, I couldn’t have retired at 56.

Several years ago, there were over thirty of us on the bus from Baltimore airport to the SIU school at Piney Point. Divorce was one of the topics of discussions. Out of all on the bus, (not counting a newly wed), my captain was the only one still married to his first wife.

[QUOTE=OICUR12;36004]If i gave you a choice of digging a ditch in Lousiana in the summer time or working a 2/3 schedule for killer money I bet you would take the 2/3. And by the way my schedule is 2/1. I don’t know how you “can’t believe” that anyone would spend that much time away from the house. Most of the guys I know have to work 2/1 just to make it and have a decent standard of living. The guys that i worked with that worked 30/30 were either already millionare captains from their retirement and stocks in the company or they were deckhands that still lived at home with mom and dad or even in a shack. A shack with a tin roof is not good enough for my family.
I will sacrifice for this lifestyle. We are not rich but we are comfortable.[/QUOTE]

You are working for the wrong outfit or need to quit trying to be the high roller in BFE Louisana. I worked 2 for 1 but that was on a harbor tug & we went home after the jobs were done, but if i’ve gotta live on a boat its gonna be equal time. I can’t see where 2/3 of my life needs to be spent on a boat, hell 1/2 is enough. I make plenty of money & made some good investments when i was younger in the real estate market & have in turn got a nice house, boat, truck, & the old lady drives a nice ride as well & my kids went to private preschool before public school. I guess you gulf fella’s think its alright being away that long, but i’ve got hobbies, friends, & a family & if i need extra money i’ll go run a boat @ home for the day & make cash money & go home @ night.

I’m not sure of your credentials but have you ever considered teaching at a maritime academy or similar institution? A number of the instructors at my school are working until their kids leave for college and then plan on returning to sea. I believe they still receive sea time in order to keep their licenses current. The money may not be as good but again I’m not aware of the specifics of your situation.

Hi OICRU12,

When we first got married, both of us shipped. Now I’m the wife and mom back home. This life isn’t for everybody nor does it suit every marriage. But you seem to be well grounded in reality and it also sounds like you enjoy your job. No matter where you work or what you do these two things greatly improve ones attitude about life. Happy with life makes a person happy in general which has a positive effect on everything. At least that’s how I see it.

There are thousands of grownups out there who spent their childhoods with a parent working offshore. The majority that I have met are well adjusted, happy, successful people who do understand what Dad did for a living and why. I think you and your family will be just fine and that there is no cycle to repeat - you grew up under different circumstances. Don’t worry too much over your son’s moods right now. Four year olds are by nature mercurial little beings. When he grows up he’s more likely to remember the fun of talking to Dad on the phone than he is the tears - trust me!

Your post was very touching and very real. I hope you will share with us again whether a good day or a bad one. Best wishes to you.