When Bringing Home the Bacon Means Disappearing from Family Life

by TTMK on May 5, 2014 · 4 comments

The following post is from staff writer Melissa Batai

When I was pregnant with my last child and on bed rest, I watched A LOT of television. One of the shows I watched was MTV’s 16 and Pregnant. I had to keep watching the spinoff, Teen Mom 2, which continued to follow the lives of four of the girls featured on 16 and Pregnant. Even now it’s one of my guilty pleasures.

While some of the girls like Janelle, who is a recovering heroin addict on probation, continue to make bad choices, others amaze me with their maturity.

Leah had twins when she was 17 and now has another daughter with her current husband. At the tender age of 21, she is handling one of her daughters, Ali’s, diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy with a maturity that many 10 years older than her don’t have.

She’s also facing another issue–a husband who works out of town, seems to be a workaholic, and is not a good communicator.

What’s Wrong with Working Hard to Support a Family?

Leah seemed to have lucked out when she fell in love with and married Jeremy Calvert. Not only does he take good care of her twins and their infant daughter, but he works hard as a pipeline engineer, making, according to some reports, $4,000 a week.

The money is needed because Leah and Jeremy face many, many medical bills thanks to Ali’s muscular dystrophy diagnosis. Her wheelchair alone cost over $10,000, with insurance covering some of that. Then, the couple also needs to sell their house and find a new one that can accommodate Ali’s wheel chair.

Why a High Salary Isn’t Most Important

Some viewers get frustrated with Leah, who is always complaining about Jeremy’s job, mainly because it takes him away from his family for five weeks or more at a time.   Leah would like him to have a job closer to home so he could spend time with his family and watch his baby daughter grow up.

Yet, even though Leah complains that Jeremy’s gone, it seems that there’s a much deeper issue. When Jeremy is gone, he’s GONE, meaning he rarely talks to Leah. She complained that one time when he was gone for five weeks, he only called her four times total–not even once a week!

His rationalization? He works 12 to 15 hour days when he’s gone, and when he gets back to the hotel, he just wants to sleep.

Is Jeremy’s Workaholic Tendencies Costing Him His Family?

The ironic part of this story is that Jeremy’s drive and desire to provide amply for his family, at least financially, may cost him his family. Because he’s so bad at keeping in contact when he’s gone, he may risk losing his wife and children.

He refuses to get a job nearby because he’d only be making $40,000 a year, and he can make that amount of money in just a month or two with a lucrative pipeline job.

My Questions for You

Of course, there are many couples dealing with this exact situation. What do you think? Should Jeremy be applauded for working so hard to provide for his family, or is he putting money ahead of his family and at risk of losing them?

How would you handle this type of situation? Have you experienced this before?

Ray’s note:  I’m curious what everyone thinks about this one, and will add my thoughts after giving readers a chance to comment.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Holly@ClubThrifty May 6, 2014 at 8:58 am

I haven’t seen 16 and pregnant for a few years, but I do know people that work a lot! I’m glad my husband doesn’t travel out of town for work and leave me home alone. That would make me crazy!

On the other hand, he is providing for his family which is a lot more than some people can say.


TTMK May 6, 2014 at 6:57 pm

While I haven’t seen the show (Melissa wrote the post), the basics as shared lead me to have more sympathies with the husband working so hard. If that was me, I’d feel unappreciated if I worked that hard and sacrificed, yet it was deemed unsatisfactory. Having said this, that little communication seems like it would be pretty tough to take for anyone. When traveling that much, time should be set aside for phone conversations and connecting with the most important people, which would be family.


David S. May 7, 2014 at 10:27 am

To take a scripture, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall again the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36) If it continues on this current course he will gain the financial world, yet lose that which is really the most important, his family. And the sad part is he won’t understand why. The issue is sorting out the “love language” between the two. He seems to feel loved through service (thus why he works so hard for his family and thinks she loves him because she takes care of the home and kids), yet she seeks words of affirmation and she isn’t receiving that.

Simple resolution, figure out how your spouse feels love and express it to them in that fashion.


Melissa May 9, 2014 at 7:30 pm

David–I think you have hit the exact problem. They both show and feel love in different ways. If each could compromise, their relationship would probably be happier.


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