Like many husbands and wives out there, my husband travels a lot for his job. A few years ago, Eric was offered a promotion and he was asked to consider moving across the country to the west coast. After much thought, we asked if we could continue to live in the southeast. Eric would be willing to travel to California (and now Minnesota too) every other week or as necessary to achieve what was expected of him in his new role. The company agreed; and while we were so happy to be able to stay in our current hometown, we knew it would be tough to run as a family unit while one parent would be away 50 percent of the time.
It’s four years later, the kids aren’t toddlers anymore (Hallelujah!), and we’ve gotten into a “daddy’s away this week” routine. While our situation has become routine for us, there are still some things that really suck.
- I have to handle everything going on with the kids, the house, emergencies, etc. while my husband is on the road.
I’m a fairly independent person, but it totally sucks to have to handle everything that comes with a family and a house alone during the time Eric is away. It never fails, something will go wrong while he’s traveling that I have to handle alone. I’ve taken apart drains and used my plumbing skills when the family cat knocked a whole bag of litter into the washroom sink. I’ve been in a car accident while Eric was on a plane and unreachable (Thank God for great friends during emergencies!). I have missed softball games and track meets where babysitters watched my girls and cheered them on because our other children had to be delivered to other activities that were taking place at the same time. I’ve taken care of the kids 24-7 with no help while I’ve been sick with the flu. Depending on the week, being a “single mom” while my husband is away can be exhausting and overwhelming.
- We have a hard time including Eric when he is at home with us.
Our daughters are so used to having me around and their father on the road that they never ask him for help when he is home. Asking for homework help, requesting a glass of milk, begging to go outside to play…they direct all their needs and questions to me. Even when Eric and I remind them, “Daddy is home, he can help you too,” they will ask me instead. The girls and I have gotten so used to going along without Eric around that we tend to forget to include him.
- It can get incredibly lonely at home.
It can get really lonely when Eric is on the road. I miss his bad jokes, I miss his snoring, I miss sitting on the couch and watching TV with him. I miss having another adult to vent to, to ask for advice, or to goof off with. Oftentimes, I end up telling my tween daughter about the lady that totally ticked me off in line at the grocery store that afternoon–a story I’d usually save for my husband. I know that traveling isn’t any easier on Eric than it is on the rest of us–I have no doubt that he gets lonely too, and our few minutes on the phone or FaceTime together each night just isn’t the same as being together in person.
- I yell a lot more than I used to.
I hate to admit it, but I raise my voice a lot more than I used to. We are always running late to get somewhere, someone is neglecting chores or homework that needs completed, kids start arguing, this mom is tired, and my voice starts to rise. My list of what needs accomplished each day is a mile long. While I’m realistic in knowing that days are never going to go as planned, it’s hard to stay calm when there’s so much going on at home and only one parent there to handle it all.
There are lots of blessings that come with Eric’s travel, though. I’ve gotten to visit him in California a couple of times for a mini-vacation. My confrontational skills have gotten better because I’ve had to handle so many situations on my own. I am a pro at multi-tasking and juggling a million things at once. The girls have become more independent–they help at home with making lunches, taking care of pets, and cleaning the house.
As hard as it is to have a husband (and dad) who travels, we’ve all adjusted to our current lifestyle. We are grateful for those weeks that we do get to have together, and those moments are that much sweeter.