My husband travels for work. He isn’t gone every single week, but he’s on the road enough for our entire family to really feel it while he is gone. He works hard for all of us at a job he enjoys, so I fully support and appreciate everything he does for our family. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t tough. Tough on me because I don’t get a break or help around the house. Tough on the kids because they don’t have anyone to roughhouse with or make them laugh in the way only dad can. Tough on my husband because he misses events at preschool, putting the kids to bed, or relaxing with me on the couch at night. Business travel is often unavoidable for a lot of families, but here are a few ways to make it a tad bit easier.
- Plan something special for the kids while dad is away. Whether it is a trip to the zoo, a special play date (try to meet up with other moms who also have traveling husbands!) or a mid-week movie night, changing up the normal routine really seems to help my family. I recently had a “sleepover” in my 3 year old’s bedroom. My son was so excited I was bunking up with him for the night and couldn’t stop talking about it, even after dad returned. The added bonus with this idea was it forced me to go to bed early instead of overindulging in hours of mind-numbing TV on E! and Bravo.
- Plan something special for when dad returns. This gives the whole family, especially dad, something to look forward to. It often bums my husband out because he misses out on fun events while he is stuck across the country in long business meetings and dinners. We like to plan something extra special when he gets back in town for us to do as a family, such as a trip to the Science Museum, trampoline park or a sporting event. It really gives our family an opportunity to reconnect.
- Make it a priority to talk to your husband once a day. With different time zones and constant business meetings, I know how difficult it can be to have schedules align for a real conversation. But even if it is only for 5 minutes, I’ve found that making it a priority to talk with my hubby once a day really helps me feel connected to him. Sometimes it is during the morning commute into work, and sometimes it isn’t until 11 p.m. when he is done with a lengthy dinner. But those couple minutes on the phone mean a lot to us.
- Text, a lot. When my husband is traveling, we always have a continuous text going on updating each other throughout the day. I love to send him pictures of our kids so he can see what they are up to, and he will send me pictures of his travel adventures. I love seeing the fancy meals and hand crafted drinks he is indulging in on his company’s dime, and my kids love seeing pictures of his airplane, taxi cabs and hotel room. Some of the pictures are silly, but it really helps us to keep each other updated on the day-to-day activities and “see” what is going on.
- Find a way to integrate dad into your kid’s day while he is gone. This is a tough one. During the last few trips, we’ve made a concerted effort to try and have my husband call my 3 year old son right around bedtime so they can talk for a few minutes. It doesn’t happen everyday, but it gives the two of them an opportunity to catch-up and talk about their days together, just like they would have done if they were home together. Another Scottsdale Mom’s Blog contributer said her family has hosted a virtual dinner with dad via FaceTime. They set up an iPad at his empty seat at the table and had him participate in the conversation. Even sending dad short videos of things he missed, like soccer practices or school events, will make him feel more involved while he is away.
- Give yourself a break and don’t feel bad about it. Feel free to let those dishes sit in the sink overnight. Leave the laundry in the hamper for an extra day or two. Get a babysitter for a couple hours and enjoy a night out with your girlfriends. Skip the homemade meal and take the kiddos to Chick-fil-a for dinner and play time. Whatever the break may be, remember that you don’t have to be supermom. Hopefully dad will be back over the weekend and can help you catch-up!
Does your husband or significant other travel for work? Any other tips to make it easier on the entire family?