We all know that the housing crisis and the job market have impacted our nation in a variety of ways and one trend that appears to be continuing is that of the Super Commuter. What exactly does Super Commute mean? The Financial Times defines it as “long-range, inter-regional commutes by air or by high-speed rail that are typically weekly or bi-weekly trips, rather than a daily commute that becomes less feasible at such great distances.” The radio show Marketplace did a story this spring on the topic which focused on these unique but ever more common employees who board planes to go to work. You can find other articles out there discussing similar themes but what about those left behind Monday through Friday to raise children alone? The term others and myself have been using for these partners is “Weekday Widows”. A single parent but not really. Alone, but not single. Typically women, but men too, find themselves in this role without a network of support or tools for how to navigate this unique situation.
Take a second and think. Do you know of anyone who does or has done this? It used to be common for maybe a consultant to have this kind of schedule, but more and more it’s a commute from Minneapolis to New York weekly or even state to state monthly for a job like working on an oil rig or as is the case in North Dakota, a boom in fracking has created high paying jobs but a shortage of affordable housing and families can’t afford to buy there and move so the worker drives back and forth weekly. Others find a great opportunity elsewhere or a job offer after being unemployed at length and either can’t sell their current house due to the housing market or they choose not to move their family for a variety of reasons including their partner not wanting to interrupt their career.
I’m currently writing a book on the topic and based on how many people I hear about who are in this situation, I have decided to start a support group. The goal of the Weekday Widows group is to provide a place for women to connect and gain support around issues such as how to manage the stress of single parenting during the week or how to stay emotionally attached to your partner. The added stress on relationships is intense not only between couples, but especially between the commuter and their children and since it is such a unique situation, many people feel they can’t share their experiences with most people and feel understood. The group will be offered this fall and anyone interested in learning more about how to join can contact me via my website. www.meganbearce.com
If you do happen to think of someone in this situation, take a second and ask if they might need help with something or even how they are doing. That little gesture might make a big difference in someone’s day.