Have you ever felt like a married single parent because of your partner's extreme job?  Long hours, mega travel, deployment or living apart from the family are part of the job description of 75 million Americans. Surprising, right?  Especially when you are doing this alone.

That is why we are launching MustHaveParent.com, a place for all of us who are raising families around the extreme demands of an extreme job.  We need a place to exchange stories, solutions and the real life workarounds that allow for a demanding job and an amazing family.

You can’t be a good parent unless you are constantly available at home?

That is the message we used to get when we first started raising our kids with guys who work long hours, travel, deploy and even live apart from the family from time to time.  We both worried that our kids would not know their dads and that our own careers would fail and that there was too much cleaning and cooking and wiping and sweeping and disciplining and fussing for us to do in the time allotted.

We were wrong.

Through practice, we found out that couples can accommodate an extreme job AND give their kids a happy childhood --the kind that is loaded with family activities, daily routines, cheerful holidays, warm memories. 

We knew it was possible because we knew our guys were not selfish jerks. They longed for their families. We all just needed to learn a particular kind of parenting strategy that allowed us to accommodate partners who needed to be able to come in and out of the family and feel like they belonged.  We needed ideas about how our kids and their Must Do Parents could get closer.  We needed to know how we could become Must Have Parents—those parents holding the center of the family and making it all possible.

We learned those skills from people like you.

Most of the ideas and strategies we use we learned from other Must Have families.  Now we are hoping to share what we learned and collect new ideas from you. 

Are you out there wondering, too?

So please take our quiz to find out if you are a Must Have Parent, a Must Do Parent, a Double Do Parent or whether you are truly Co-Parenting.  Join us on Facebook.  Follow us on Twitter.  Get inspired on Pinterest.  And join our mailing list (we promise not to swamp you with too many emails.)  Most of all please share your story.  We want to hear about you and your challenges.

Photo by USMC Cpl. William J. Jackson