DEAR AMY: My husband and I have two daughters. One is 18 months old and the other is 2 months old. I work 48 hours a week at a factory in town and take care of the girls by myself all week when I'm not at work. My husband works 21/2 hours away (usually 58 hours a week) and because of the distance, he only comes home Saturday nights around 6 and goes back Sunday evenings around 5. I want him to try to find a job closer to home. He works in a field where there are plenty of jobs. What's the point of being married when I never see my husband and the kids never see their father? I have filled out applications for him for nearby companies. But just last week he told me he's interested in a job six hours away where he'd make more money. I told him I don't care about how much money he makes; I just want him to be around. I'm very stressed out raising both kids by myself. Is it wrong of me to want him to be close to home, or do you think I should just let him go and make more money? I want a father figure in my kids' lives, so should I give up on this man? I don't want to just give up on our marriage.
Working MomDEAR MOM: Your kids deserve more than a "father figure." I vote for an actual father to be in their lives, if at all possible.
If your husband was really honest with himself (and you), he might admit that he finds being an on-site father frightening. He already is missing the most formative period of his children's lives, and with you working so many hours, they genuinely need his presence.
You should not be filling out job applications for him unless he asks you to. I agree that it would be best if he pursued opportunities closer to home.
Your husband knows that an important aspect of being a parent is providing for a family. Now he needs to learn that "providing" takes many forms - not just financial but also hands-on parenting.