The Business Traveler’s Wife

7

My husband travels for his job. He genuinely loves his job, and I love that he loves his job. However, our home life isn’t always like everyone else that has a husband/dad with a 9-5 career. Some days that is okay, and some days it really wears on a girl.

Sometimes there are perks to a husband who travels. Unlimited Real Housewives episodes. Complete remote control access. No big spread for dinner. No snoring. A minimum of a few hours where the house is clean and everything is put in its place (even with kids around). A big bed all to myself.

The drawbacks of a traveling spouse include, but are not limited to… Not getting to greet him that evening. No one to binge watch Netflix with. No big spread for dinner (grilled cheese, again?). No one to hand the kids to while I do dishes in the evenings and pick up the house. The anxiety and worry that comes with travel…delayed planes and whatnot. An empty bed. Just all around missing our favorite guy!

Dealing with my husband being gone is one thing. Sometimes welcoming him home can be a transition in it’s own right. I know that sounds odd, especially because we always miss him so much. My comment stems from the fact that sometimes my husband and I view the travel and its toll differently. There truly are two valid perspectives here.

I am fully aware that I am a stay at home Mom, and my breaks from my job are few and far between. My breaks are called “sleep” and they occur every evening from around 11pm until 7am, while being on call. However, after my husband has been out and about in some trendy metropolis, staying at fun boutique hotels, and eating amazing 5 star meals…While I have been working with busy kids (“busy” is code for awesome, yet into everything), a messy house, I haven’t peed in solitude in about 2 days, I’ve been a human jungle gym, stepped on more legos than I can count, I’m eating PB&J for the 3rd time in a row, I’m backlogged on work emails and laundry… Don’t I deserve a little break once he gets home?

On the other hand, I have been spending quality time with our children in the comfort of our own city and home. The kids and I have been to library class, the museum, and had lunch with friends. We built some towers, finger-painted, and played with trains. Then we Facetimed with family. All of that while my husband has been dealing with flight delays, someone else’s endearing child kicking the back of his airline seat, eating and sleeping alone (Not gonna lie, that sounds heavenly. Is it really a drawback?), long hours in a car on site tours, arrogant negotiators, piles of legal documents, mountains of emails to respond to, and just all out exhaustion from being on the go…Doesn’t he deserve a break once he gets home?

So which one of us should get the break? I have no idea.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting my husband to drop his bags and be a housewife when he comes through the door. He works extremely hard and always puts our family first. But so do I. Once dinner is served and things are winding down…figuring out who does what doesn’t always come naturally to us. My husband is an amazing father and gives his undivided attention to us the minute he drops his briefcase. There are never any fights, but there are definite pauses (and a side eye or two) where we try to figure out who gets the chance to relax, and who has to wrestle the kids into their pajamas and put them to bed. Even after doing this for over 4+ years now, when my husband comes home from a trip, it feels like there is always a little bit of a “dance” that we have to figure out. I just find myself wondering if it will always be that way, or if maybe one day we will completely figure out the perfect balance.

Does your spouse travel for work? How does it contribute to the dynamic of your family?

7 COMMENTS

  1. Lindsay…I used to hear this all the time from parents (I was a Preschool Director for 25 years). Many were wives of UPS pilots. From what they told me…it will get a little better as the children get older and they can help with chores and activities. Hang in there and don’t forget to always have time for each other.

    • Thanks Kathy! I agree that it will get a little better as the kids become more independent. Until then, coin flips for bath time duty. 🙂

  2. My husband is a pilot, so all he does is travel for work. It never gets easier when he has to leave…it’s always sad. But you’re right, there is definitely a transition when he comes home, too. It was worse when I worked too and was exhausted at the end of the day and kept the house together and cared for our son too. I work less now, which makes everything easier, and I appreciate his job more as well. We are definitely different from other families with an erratic schedule and a husband who misses a lot of weekends. But he’s the best guy I know, so it’s all worth it.

    • Lindsey, I completely agree. Working outside of the home and parenting sans your spouse is a tough gig. But you are right, in the end it is what we know and it is worth it. 🙂

  3. I know, oh do I know! My husband’s job has him on the road frequently. He started traveling before we had kids, so it’s the way it’s always been. I worked full-time up until a year ago, and it was tough because I had “a break” while at work yet I had the stress of a job plus the stress of being both mom and dad at home. Now that I’m home full-time, I feel the same way that you do- I’m always “on” and I need a break too! I am fortunate that I have family close by who help me out- I couldn’t do it without them. It’s also hard on the kids. They are young, yet recognize that dad is gone and miss him. They act out- there are more meltdowns. For us the transition with him coming home can be difficult because he’s been out of the loop and not in our daily lives- we have to all ease back into it. I’ve been used to calling the shots around the house, he’s been used to doing his own thing kid-free, and the kids are used to some of the short cuts I have to take when there’s not 2 of us at home. We learned that we have to ease back into our family routine, but I always say when he comes home that “Dad’s home, all is right in the world.”

  4. Isn’t it crazy that while you might not love the logistics, it just becomes what you know? And yes… oh the side eye that my two year old can give when Daddy comes home after a few days away… It’s deadly. Maybe one night when we are both solo and don’t want to cook, we can coordinate dinner. Even something easy like Chickfila! 🙂

  5. I’m in favor of Mom gets a break!! My husband travels very frequently and sometimes for a week at a time. I am a stay at home mom of 3 kids (4yr old and 3 yr old twins). I also must add with no help from anyone…. Now while I say mom should get a break I do believe in doing things together, because it’s much easier when we tag team the night time routine. Because we have no help it has made who does what pretty simple. It works better to work together so you then have more time to spend together! Of course there are always the days that a break is necessary ( more than I ever say), but that is where having an understanding husband helps and he steps in, when he is here! I never thought traveling would get easier but it did once the twins got older.

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