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ksr5377

Anyone have a "super" commuter in the family? Over an hour one way..UPDATE

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UPDATE:  Thank you for all the responses and the honesty.  After talking to his employer and determining that they will allow him to work from home 2 days a week, we're going for it!  It's a move we've been talking about making off and on over the past 6 years, and the biggest hurdle was always his employment.  He's thrilled with the idea.  I'm wavering between anxiety over the unknown and complete excitement, but several friends have told me that's normal with a large move like this.  DH has told me that I shouldn't worry (why do they always say this?) because if it's a complete disaster we can always come back to the city since he hasn't changed jobs.  :huh:  Hopefully that won't be necessary :)

 

 

DH is considering this and I'm wondering what the real impact to our family will be.  We would be living closer to family and more rural, so while not at work he would be more active helping his dad with the farm, which we hope would offset some of the health issues.   It would be an 80 minute drive one way.  The first half of that would be two-lane country highways, so not stressful urban rush hour traffic, but the last half would be that.  The goal is that it would only be for 2 years, but of course we're aware that doesn't always work out.  Also, if it was hugely negative, we would be in a financial situation where he could find a job closer for somewhat less pay.  At the moment, he would like to meet the 10 year mark with his current employer due to some benefits he would then receive for retirement.  I do think that everyone else in the family would have an improved quality of life, I just don't want to sacrifice my DH's life for it.  He feels that the biggest problem will be that he's a night owl and he'll have to go to bed and wake up earlier.  

Edited by ksr5377

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DH commutes 40 minutes each way and has for the past nine years. That, plus a long day, means that he's gone almost twelve hours a day every day. In his case, he doesn't sleep much. It's hard. It could be worse, of course, but it's still hard that he's gone early every morning and is often tired. But the choice is see his family or sleep. It's still a nicer commute than when he was spending over an hour to go fifteen miles because of traffic, but it's still a long commute. Our quality of life is better because we live here, but we all miss him, and it's expensive too (gas, even in a commuter-friendly vehicle, plus minimum of two tires for his car every single year, plus more frequent oil changes).

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Dh once had a job that was closer to a 2.5 hour commute each way, plus he's done the 1.25 hour commute. It was physically taxing. Our family life was better the year he had a 30 min commute.

 

Honestly, it's swings and roundabouts. Only your dh can know how he'd manage it. 

 

Dh gets through a lot of audiobooks whilst commuting.

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Dh drives an hour in the morning if he leaves after 6:30am. Afternoons range from 1-1.5 hours on a regular day. He has been doing it for 10 years. It's the worst part of his job but it pays the bills. Podcasts and audiobooks help

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My DH drives about 75 minutes to work, more if there's an accident in the metro area. He leaves in the morning before the kids are awake. We usually have dinner around 6:30pm and then have an hour together as a family before the kids go to bed. I do wonder how much time your DH would actually have to help on the farm. My DH doesn't have daylight hours to do basic maintenance of our suburban yard, except on weekends.

FWIW, my DH is looking for a new job because he wants to cut his commute time, even if it involves us moving out of state. He's been doing this commute for 6 years and says he just can't take it anymore.

Ruth

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Every day it would be hard, but DH has a longer commute to NYC and it is fine because it is not daily. the bus/train is full of people that do this daily.

Edited by madteaparty

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Dh spent one school year driving 100 miles, 1.5 hours one way. It was interstate the whole way and not in any busy areas. He was laid off from his school system, and as you said, he was working toward his 10 year retirement vestment. It was worth it for that reason, but he could have never done it long term. It was taxing on him physically, and we didn't enjoy him getting home so late. He spent one night each week in a motel, just to save on the drive and sleep in extra one day each week. Thankfully, he got a job the next year only 20 minutes away. 

 

If he will be helping with the farm and have the extra drive time, you'll miss even more of his free time. My dad did some farming while working full-time when I was growing up. We mostly saw him when we helped him in the fields. He worked on the railroad, so he was gone odd hours. I wish we could have had more time with him. 

 

If this is only temporary, you probably will not mind. I would just worry that come two years from now the situation could have changed and he needs to continue doing it. 

 

 

 

 

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I commuted an hour each way for many years. Most people who live in my area have a commute like that. But, that was about my limit. 80 minutes would be pushing it for me. Any chance he could work from home a few days a week?

 

I remember my dad having a 2 hour commute into NYC most of my early childhood. He was not around much during the week, but he rarely had to work on the weekends. He also was able to take the train in for most of his commute, which makes a big difference, I think.

Edited by OnMyOwn

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My dad did his whole working career and my husband did for a few years.  Growing up, it meant dinner at 7pm and hardly seeing my dad.  We moved away from having a long commute because it's really not pleasant for family life.  I wouldn't recommend it.

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My brother did this for years, the whole time they were raising their kids.  It was really hard, but the family got a very large wooded lot and a bigger house that way, and the kids grew up in a town with better educational opportunities. 

 

What made it work was:

1.  He is basically pretty easy going.  And he had good audio tapes to listen to in the car.

2.  His wife took over responsibility for the home just about completely.  The only thing he did at home was minor repairs (but they had their house built so there wasn't much of that), mowing the large lawn (but they had a little tractor, and he made it fun by letting the kids take turns riding with him), and a little tinkering with appliances now and then.  She vaccuumed and cooked every single day, shuttled the four kids, did serious volunteer work at the schools, and generally made the home life hum.

3.  He adjusted his work schedule so that he was with the family every morning.  He got up early, had a big family breakfast with them, and took at least some of the kids to school on his way to work.  So he never worried about coming home too late to see the kids because he already had.  

4.  They did stuff as a family that some families do separately.  For instance, twice a month they all piled into the van and went to Costco on a Saturday.  They would have a meal there also.  That sounds onerous, but they made it fun.

5.  They went to church together every week.

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For most of the last ten years my husband has driven an hour to an hour and a half each way to work. This house is 15-20 minutes each way. We just gained two hours a day with him. We were so used to him being gone that we didn't miss it at the time, but it is nice to have him here more. It isn't an impossible commute, but it will start to wear on you both if other negative factors start creeping in. One extra time thief for us living in the country and him commuting in was that my husband ended up doing a lot of shopping and errands on his way home. It was more convenient than for us to make a separate trip to do things, but it also meant he got home late even on days when he was done early.

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DH does this, when he goes in. He works from home a lot, but goes in twice a week or so, to check on his guys. Sometimes he'll take the train - that's a two hour ride as well, but he can work on the way.

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My DH drives about 75 minutes to work, more if there's an accident in the metro area. He leaves in the morning before the kids are awake. We usually have dinner around 6:30pm and then have an hour together as a family before the kids go to bed. I do wonder how much time your DH would actually have to help on the farm. My DH doesn't have daylight hours to do basic maintenance of our suburban yard, except on weekends.

FWIW, my DH is looking for a new job because he wants to cut his commute time, even if it involves us moving out of state. He's been doing this commute for 6 years and says he just can't take it anymore.

Ruth

I agree with cutting into time to actually do homeowner chores. Before kids, dh and I both had commutes of an hour each way. That meant the morning drive started in the dark, and several months the drive home was entirely in the dark. On the weekends, we caught up on house upkeep and missed out on fun stuff simply because we did not want to drive anywhere! I could not fathom it with kids.

 

My sister did this when she lived up north for a while. Because she lived rural and her husband traveled, in the winter she often had to get out and plow the long driveway before being able to get on the main road. When she had kids, she had to pay someone to do it. It became very not worth it, and she's glad to not have to do that anymore. So, consider the area's prevailing weather patterns and road conditions, too. Rural roads may sound like less traffic, but may not be as clear as main roads in inclement weather. And, deer.

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What are the winters like where you are? If you guys have snowy winters, there might be a lot of days he can't get to work. Rural country highways are often the last to be plowed, and poor weather conditions can make an eighty minute commute more like two hours. 

 

I have a friend who has an hour commute, and she hates it. She wouldn't do it if she had any other options.

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We've done it and it's not easy.  The bright side was audio books. My dh would blow through 3 a week.  But the cost of gas was outrageous.  We were spending $300 to $400 a month in gas - in a manual transmission small commuter car.  Not to mention wear and tear on the car - tires, oil changes etc - every two years, we put a full set on his car to the tune of $500+. Plus, adding that many many miles on the car really reduces not only it's blue book value but the perceived value of the car if you were to try to sell it.  Also, your insurance changes if you commute more than 50 miles.   And if there's any chance of bad weather, it'll change the commute time as well. My husband was gone before the kids woke up, but was back home by 530 or so. 

 

For the short term, it might be okay.  But don't be like us and do it for 8 years.  It gets old, quick.

 

 

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We used to have a commute similar to that.  It kind of stunk, and when we moved into town to be closer to family we made getting rid of the commute altogether a priority.

 

However - I think the aspect of being closer to family could make a big difference, especially if you have an end in sight.  I'd go back to commuting for two years if it meant living in the place I wanted to be, closer to family, and maintaining some benefits.

 

As far as impact - the main one that would apply in your case was that I was really left to myself a good part of the day, and it could be rather lonely.

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Forgot to mention--once remote commuting became possible, my brother jumped all over that and started working from home 1-2 days per week.  He set up a real office in the attic with a fast computer connection and I think an extra phone line, and noise cancelling headphones, and he would be very productive but present.  This meant that he could join his wife for lunch, and join the family for dinner and for the evening on those days.  It was nice.

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Dh did an hour commute each way for about 9 months.  Then we moved so he'd have a 5 minute walk to work.  I will do everything in my power to never have a long commute like that.  The time, gas, the expense and stress of having a reliable car on a small budget at all times, and the toll on dh's weren't worth it.  I will live in the tiniest apartment every to avoid a commute.

 

But my BIL has been commuting 45-60 minutes each way for 20 years and it doesn't bother him.  It really just depends on individual circumstances.  Dh has back problems that made sitting in the car for 2 hours a day unworkable.

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I've done it for 5 years but the majority was a country road (I could have stayed on the highway but chose not to). I had a subscription to Simply Audiobooks.Ds was grown and I had no child rearing responsibilities. Dh did the grocery shopping on some days. It did wear me out to the point that I have accepted a position locally (4 days a week) now and only have to commute 2 x a week for 35-40 minutes.

All this to say it can be done for a time but eventually some people may need to look for different arrangements.

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I have a 20-minute commute each way, and I wouldn't want it to be any longer. When my DD was younger, I had a 45-minute commute one-way, and it was terrible—especially in winter.

Edited by Word Nerd

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I currently make a weekly commute of 4 hours each way--I drive up on Monday morning and home on Friday evening. We may move the family closer to where I work, which would mean a 90 minute drive each way every day instead. I'm on the fence about whether that will actually make for more quality awake time with the kids. I do get paid holidays that make for 3 day weekends fairly often, and I'm hoping to convince my boss to let me shift to a flex schedule and/or work from home some days once I've been here for a year or two. 

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DH is coming up on 2 years on a commute that is 1.5 to 3 hours each way, depending on traffic. It's 50 minutes without traffic. We would move closer if we could afford to but that's not an option given the absolutely insane housing prices. He usually can work from home at least one day per week but it's still grueling.

 

When we bought the house in 2009, he was doing an hour each way but it was into the city and he went via BART (light rail). Unfortunately there's no easy way to take mass transit to where he works now.

 

I wouldn't recommend it if he can find a way to avoid it.

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We have considered this exact thing and refuse. The quality of life we lose from having daddy in the car three to four hours a day isn't worth anything we gain in money or space. 45 minute commutes are about the limit for what we personally tolerate.

 

We have gone back and forth on this but my husband is fairly adamant he deserved to spend that time with me and the kids, not the radio. That's a fast road to burnout for many people. It's more tolerable with bus or subway commutes where you can at least relax with a book but driving it in a car in traffic is stressful!

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My husband does.  When we moved here to a new job he didn't, but then they moved his job to the other side of Tampa and his commute is at least an hour each way (more like 75-80 minutes), and with awful interstate road construction.  He used to do this in VA too.  His drive consists of interstate, toll roads, roads with a traffic light every 500 feet - all types of driving.

 

To me, a lot depends on the ages of your children.  My kids are in 8th and 5th grades.  My 8th grader goes to school and does homework straight until we have dinner at 7:30 (earliest).  So for me, now that my kids aren't little, can eat later, and go to bed later, it doesn't bother me.  If my husband was doing this when they were both little I would have been going out of my mind needing some relief by the time he got home.

 

He doesn't mind the drive.  He doesn't love it, but he doesn't mind.  He gets caught up on talk or sports radio on XM satellite.  We are in Florida so weather isn't as much of a concern.

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What weekends look like makes a big difference to me. Dh commutes almost an hour but leaves really early and works late to avoid rush hour (and he is overloaded at work). I do not feel like I connect with him during the week. I am tired when he gets home and he spends the time he has with the kids primarily. That is ok- as long as we can hang out on weekends. But if you have to travel on weekends for sports, or whatever, it gets really hard because weeks can go by barely seeing each other.

 

It works for us because our weekends are slower than they were when kids were little and kids are old enough to stay up late to see him. Also, I don't expect much done at home. I don't feel like he has time to contribute to regular household chores much. Again, that would be harder with little kids.

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Something to consider is whether your commute is likely to get longer.

When I lived in Vermont there were guys who lived out in the boondocks in nice country towns that had been about 35 minutes from work when they moved there.  In between then and when I met them, other residential construction in between the two locations had lengthened their commute time to a far less tolerable 65 minutes, because they had to slow down so often for previously nonexistent MPH controls or for traffic.  

 

Of course, sometimes it goes the other way and a fast highway is built that shaves your commute.

 

It's worth trying to think that through though.

 

Another issue is medical services availability.  It's been surprising to me to learn of many CA cities in the Central Valley with no good ERs within driving distance--where medevac is standard for emergency services.  That's pretty dangerous, and it's also darned inconvenient if all the best doctors are centered there, so routine appointments might mean a 300 mile round trip.

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I did that for over a year. There is no way I'd do it again.

 

Up before the sun every morning, eating cereal out of a baggie in the car, and then driving home after working 9 hours. I didn't want to cook dinner, do laundry, or anything else. I was gone for 11+ hours per day. I was ready for rest - not to take anyone anywhere or have to help anyone with anything. 

 

In the winter, I never saw my house in the daylight during the week.

 

On the weekend, I was tired and really just wanted to stay home and chill.

 

It is really tough on the driver. Even if you had no rush hour and traffic to contend with, you still have to drive for over an hour each way so you have to pay attention. 

 

 

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My Dh's commute varies between 30-75 minutes each way depending on traffic. It pretty much stinks. It's doable, but it's not great. We plan on moving in a few years to shorten the drive. We've lived in this house less than a year. Our real estate agent swore up and down his commute wouldn't be longer than 25 minutes. We were new to the area and didn't know better. Grr.

You can make it work, just think through the pros and cons.

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I would like to add that for myself, I would never want to live close enough to work to only have work-related neighbors, or to live more than a 20 minute commute away, preferably against prevailing traffic.  But I am a NorCal city girl, emotionally scarred by heavy traffic, LOL.

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I did two hours each way to graduate school once or twice a week for several years, and then DH and I both did long commutes for 5 years. Usually it was at least 90 minutes each way. During that period I changed jobs to a position I liked between where I rode a commuter bus. It was lovely. I slept or worked. But yes, we got up at 5am during those years.

 

But now? I wouldn't do it again, and DH stopped doing that a decade ago. It gets harder as you get older, and your quality of life is different. When we had little kids and he was commuting, we ate dinner at 7 or 8pm when he got home. Then he put the kids down and fell asleep in the chair. Not much quality of life IMHO.

Edited by G5052

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My Dh's commute varies between 30-75 minutes each way depending on traffic. It pretty much stinks. It's doable, but it's not great. We plan on moving in a few years to shorten the drive. We've lived in this house less than a year. Our real estate agent swore up and down his commute wouldn't be longer than 25 minutes. We were new to the area and didn't know better. Grr.

You can make it work, just think through the pros and cons.

 

Same here.  Could be 30 minutes, could be 2 hours, usually comes in about 75 or so. 

 

The most frustrating part is that he's only driving 33 miles each way.  

 

It's not fun for him, but he actually gave up a job a mile from home to go back to this one, so I guess it's worth it in the end.  As with all things, you just adjust. 

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I did it for a couple of years - 90 miles or so each way. Lots of rush hour traffic (From southern RI to north of Boston). I left early, 5:30 am, to get north early enough to beat the worst of the traffic. I belonged to a nearby gym and was able to get a pre work workout in. At night, I'd stay later or go out with friends after work for an hour. If I left right at 5, it would have taken an extra hour to get home, but if I waited until 5:45-6pm, I could get home at the same time as if I had left at 5, so I chose to skip the stressful traffic. It was hard, but thankfully I was single then. It would have been really hard with a family. I was gone for more than 13 hrs a day and exhausted when I got home.

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I do. I have an RV that I keep parked close to where I work. Since my shifts are over 12 hours, I rarely drive home between them.

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My DH commutes via public transit an hour each way.  He's basically gone 12 hours each day and is tired when he gets home.  I would not expect him to be able to help his radon the farm on a workday.

 

We bought this house when DH was working at a different location.  If we'd known he'd be working where he is now, we wouldn't have bought here.

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My husband's commute takes about an hour, sometimes more if he's on the bus rather than biking (when he's biking, he's on a dedicated/totally separated from the road bike trail for 95% of the commute so no traffic jams).

 

That's just how it is. It's ok. It's not an exceptionally long commute for our area and biking it means he doesn't have to wait for the bus and he gets a pretty decent workout. I guess he's not really a super commuter because he *can* drive and take a little less time but where we live, depending on his shift, driving could EASILY take 90 minutes on a bad night which is longer than the bus because the bus gets a dedicated bus only lane for the worse part of the trip) so unless he's working swing shift, he basically never drives. And his employer heavily incentivizes not driving and not parking there because they do not have enough parking.

Edited by LucyStoner

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I do. I have an RV that I keep parked close to where I work. Since my shifts are over 12 hours, I rarely drive home between them.

 

This would be my ideal situation. Well, my ideal situation would be to move the family to the town where I work but this would be 2nd best because the kids could come up with me some of the time at least (I only work 9 hour days and that includes an hour for lunch). Currently I rent a room from someone who has a house in employee housing (different employer) She is a neat freak and I would not want to inflict my kids on her. Moving them to the nearest town where there is likely housing we could get our hands on is the 3rd best option.

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I would avoid it with all my might. My FIL did it from the time dh was about 10 and was terrible. He listened to lots of Great Courses and such but had very limited time with kids and struggled to not be irritable during family time because he was always exhausted and stressed.

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My husband's commute is 1 1/2 hours minimum one way. He also drives 5 hours one way to a jobsite once a week. Sometimes he travels to several jobsites in one day. His commute is so bad that he is usually gone all week. He has listened to every audiobook in our audible account (to date we have 112 books) plus a lot library audiobooks. He changes his job in Feb. and will have a 45 minute (one way) commute (commute was a major factor in his decision to move on to a new employer).

Edited by LivingHope

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OK, wow, I really had no idea that so many people would have done something like this!  

 

We have talked about how he would be less helpful during the week.  We both agree (as do all the grandparents wanting us to move closer) that if I need a break during the week the grandparents will be there to help out.  His schedule would have him leaving around 5:15am to get to work by 7:30, and then leaving work around 3:30, most likely home by 5pm.  Sometimes traffic has problems, but if he would leave on time (he usually does) he would make it out of the city before the majority of the heavier traffic begins.  He has kind of wonderful hours and a pretty wonderful boss.  If for some reason he's running an hour late to work he usually just gives team a head's up and then stays an hour later.  He never brings work home with him, actual work or just stress from it.  Working from home would never be an option though.  

 

We're seriously considering a trial run - going to stay with his parents for a week while he does the drive to work each day. I think that will help him see the reality of it.  I think the time would be manageable, but I am afraid of how it will affect his personality.  My biggest fear is that it would turn into a time of life that our children would always remember badly :(  They're 9, 8, 5 and 2.

 

He keeps telling me that it would be temporary.  I know that's true, I mean I would probably go back to work myself if needed to get his job closer after the 10 year mark.  

 

Ugh, decisions can be so difficult when you don't know exactly what will happen!

 

ETA:  There is someone he works with that lives at the half-way point. They have already discussed the possibilities of car-pooling.  It would probably work out at least 75% of the time.  There are always days when someone isn't off or has to leave early etc.  

Edited by ksr5377

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I did it for a few years prior to having children and for 1 year when I only had my oldest (1 hour one way). I would never do it again - I was exhausted most of the time. For my oldest we had to pay not only daycare, but also a secondary person because her daycare closed at 5:30 pm, and I couldn't guarantee I'd be back by then.

 

DH then did it for 10 years (1 1/2 hour one way). It was pricey, with tires, wear and tear on the car, tolls, gasoline (it was our biggest expense for several years). I expected nothing from him in respect to the household. He left at 5 am, and he tried to return by 6 pm. It was very tough when I had 3 under 6 years old; I felt like I was going nuts sometime. But, even, as the children got older, we pretty much led separate lives. I took care of everything here in regards to appointments, shopping, cleaning, schooling, etc. DH brought home the paycheck. 

 

He moved to a 20 minute commute last year; he took a huge paycut to do so, but I feel like I got my husband back.

 

 

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He did it for two years and it was horrible. We've been separated by 2000mi most of the year since 2010 (I go out in May and come back in October most years and he flies out every six weeks or so). I've found that easier.

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Dh has 45-60 minute commute. Big impact on family I think. He waits until rush hour dies down and then leaves. So he's never home for dinner with us, kids events are hit and miss, though he does make a huge effort for baseball and did make all those practices and games last season. I can never run errands at night because he's not home usually til 8pm or later and then I'm getting kids ready for bed. It would be so nice to get out and get stuff done after dinner sometimes. It would be nice for the kids to see him having dinner with us. Sometimes I feel like a solo parent. He's content with it. I'm not.

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Hubby did a 1.5 hr each way/3 hr a day commute for 6 or 7 months a few years ago.

For our family it was bad enough that he asked for a work location change back to his old location. Actually, he told them he would need to look for other employment if they couldn't accommodate.

 

The issue was time. He worked only an 8 hour day, but the drive made it 11 or more depending on weather and traffic. It just didn't leave enough time. Driving that much was tiring all by itself, and getting enough sleep was difficult.

 

I'm sure some people manage these things better than others, but we definitely wouldn't do it voluntarily.

Edited by sbgrace

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We recently moved to an island. Dh now faces a 90 minute commute. It is only doable because he takes public transit almost the entire way. He can work on his laptop and count the time spent commuting as part of his workday, and he gets reimbursed for his transportation costs. This is the only way we could do it. It would not be worth it under any other circumstances. 

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With that type of commute, you can write off DH being able to help with anything during the week. Maybe getting the kids to bed if they're little. Weekday farm chores probably won't happen. If the idea is that you and the kids are really the ones helping, it makes sense. Otherwise it might make more sense to live closer to work and drive out to the farm on weekends.

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If I understand correctly, you say you might go for it for a period of 10 years? Add ten to each of your kids' ages. See if that changes the way you look at things.

A trial run is a good idea. But do try it in a bad weather season. The timing you describe of his day actually sounds good, as long as it truly pans out the way you expect.

Edited by Seasider

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