What a three-day weekend means to a pilot’s wife

“Mummy, what time is D coming for his sleepover?” Son2 prized my eyes open. It wasn’t even 7am. Ugh! Jumping on top of me, he pulled the duvet off and checked to make sure he’d fully woken me up. “I’m so excited!”

“Yay, no school!” said Raptor when I got downstairs. He was lying on the sofa, smiling with glee. He only had three days at school this week, as they also had a day off for teaching planning. Today it’s the Islamic New Year, the start of a long, three-day weekend.

Three cheers for all you exhausted mums who love children that generally don’t give a second thought to the mental or physical shape we’re in! (That’s okay. They’ll have kids someday.)
Three cheers for all you exhausted mums who love children that generally don’t give a second thought to the mental or physical shape we’re in! (That’s okay. They’ll have kids someday.)

A couple of hours later, I heard DH’s key in the door. His suitcase trundled in and I noticed he looked pale, his face drawn. Little wonder as he’d flown all night. He remarked on the Halloween decorations we’d put up, then went to bed. He leaves again on Saturday.

“So mummy, what can I do?” asked Raptor. “I’m sooo bored.”

“Me too,” chorused Son2. I checked my watch: not even 9am. What activity could I conjure up for them? Swimming, the cinema, a play date? The sleepover wasn’t for another 12 hours. I’ll admit I was yawning as my children’s demands for breakfast, entertainment, a dog, my itunes password ricocheted around my tired brain.

And that’s when the small, unentitled voice started Greek chorusing in my ear. “What about me?” If there’s something the UAE is good at, it’s throwing in these long weekends. I’ve posted about them before. And I’m sure there are many who love the chance for more family time.

But the thing is: for pilot families it doesn’t work out like they’re supposed to. It’s rare for dad to not be flying on weekends like these, which means mum is left grappling with bored children who inevitably start fighting – and that’s on top of doing everything else. The hot and sweaty school runs in 80 per cent humidity; making sure they eat, do their homework, go to bed, and dealing with all the extra admin living in the UAE seems to require. Oh, and the paid job, which actually keeps me ticking over.

Of course, the voice was quickly hushed – Son2 threw a tantrum when his sleepover got postponed, and Raptor needed me to find something for him. If I could take them to see family this weekend, I would, but it’s not really an option when you’re thousands of miles away. Nor is taking them on a mini-break by myself particularly appealing.

So, really, for a pilot’s wife, a three-day weekend is just an extra day when they should be at school and instead I find myself bloomin’ knackered while trying to be ‘fun’.

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