Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 27th 2014 Contents By Suzette Camacho
In Social Studies we learn about the types
of families: the Nuclear Family, the Ex-
tended Family, the Single Parent Family.
There is one type that's not labeled by
many, but is common in Trinidad's society:
The Offshore/Long Distance Family. Many
husbands choose a career in the oil and
gas industry, and this requires them to be
away for long periods, leaving their wife
to take control of parenting, managing the
household and finances. I call them the
Offshore Wives. I am one of them, and
agree that this role is quite similar to that
of a single parent.
Does life stop when they are gone?
Once the husband is away, we must main-
tain continuity for the children, as well as
for ourselves. The same traditions, same
routines, outings, and events should al-
ways go on as planned. This way the chil-
dren have a sense of normalcy. Be a
strong multitasker. Represent a father's
strength when dealing with our children.
Do not keep them away from the limelight
on account of his absence. Do everything
with them as if he were home.
How do we keep the communication
Today's technology (Skype, Gmail, Face-
time, Facebook, etc.) allows us the con-
venience to communicate with our loved
ones from basically any part of the world.
Offshore communication is no exception.
Once your hubby arrives at his destina-
tion, determine the time difference be-
tween Trinidad and where he is. Discuss
with him reasonable call times based on
his work schedule, and work out a routine
of calling. Try to clear a spot out of your
day to facilitate this. Of course, this should
be conducive to the kids' availability as
Having the children see their father regu-
larly via video chat and exchange affection
as well as conversations about their
day/week helps them cope emotionally
with their dad being away. Other forms of
communication such as email, letters, pic-
tures, and recording special moments via
video cam all help keep that bond strong.
Another great way to save memories/mo-
ments missed by dad is for the kids to
keep a video journal or a written journal of
every special moment, and present it to
dad when he returns.
Are we single moms in our own right?
We function similarly to a single parent
when our husband is gone, but our chil-
dren know that Dad is away for work and
he will be back home. The emotional
mindset is very different for an offshore
wife and her kids compared to a single
mom and her kids.
What happens when he returns home?
Here's what we DON'T do: We do not lay
walks through the door. We do not com-
plain about everything negative that hap-
pened in his absence. We do not make
him feel any less of a father/husband by
telling him that he missed this and missed
that. What we should do is always have a
welcome home meal for Dad with a nice
dessert, and even a homemade poster
from the kids saying "Welcome Home".
We must have quality family time with
Dad through easy and restful movie
nights and some chill time at home. Dad
is tired from a long stint offshore, and he
misses home a lot, so we should allow him
time to rest and relax. Once a few days
pass and Dad gets over the jetlag and ex-
haustion, we can then get into a healthy
family routine of daily tasks, outings, and
other family commitments. Dad should
also catch up on the kids with their
schoolwork, extra-curricular activities, and
everything else that needs his attention
as a parent.
Keeping the romance alive
Always remember to keep that flame
burning! Have date nights as often as
babysitting permits. Cook meals together.
Spend quality alone time talking, cuddling
and catching up on what was missed. Be
spontaneous and spark up the passion by
creating little surprises for him.
Lost birthdays and Christmases
If hubby is not here for special days such
as birthdays and Christmases, celebrate
them before he leaves or after he comes
home, depending on the dates. Create the
atmosphere with birthday cake or open-
ing Christmas presents. Who doesn't love
many birthday celebrations or opening
presents more than once for Christmas!
Giving Dad the credit he deserves
We women tend to be a bit selfish and
emotional at times when the going gets
tough, and we have to cope with every-
thing when our hubbies are offshore. We
may vent to others, vent to hubby himself
and sometimes even take out frustration
on the kids as well. But we must always
• He is sacrificing a lot being away from
• He is living a large amount of time away
from the comforts of his home
• He is working in a hazardous industry
and is taking many risks for his family
• He is all alone out there whilst we are at
home with the company of the kids
• He stays focused on his job and is very
respected in the industry
We should always be proud of our hus-
bands and stay positive for them, giving
them the support they need.
Suzette Camacho is the founder of Trini
Moms, the first parenting network in
Trinidad and Tobago. Check their web-
site Trini-Moms.com or their Facebook
page for upcoming events for kids and
the entire family.
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