Travel has always been a fun past time of my husband and I. However, when my husband took his current job, we had no idea he would be traveling, let alone traveling across the world for weeks on end some times. I like being the supportive wife that encourages him to go on the trips as opposed to making him feel bad for me having to stay back and hold everything down on the home front.
However, in addition to being a supportive wife, I’m also a mom and I have my own career. Being away from your family is hard, no doubt, but dealing with my husband’s inconsistent travel schedule is actually harder on me. However, after his 8-9 trips in the past year and a half, we have learned a few things to make it easier for me to keep it all moving while he is away.
A few days before my husband leaves for a trip, we make a meal plan for my son and I that covers all meals for the days he will be gone. We then make a grocery list and buy everything needed to complete those meals. I usually include at least 1 freezer meal that we previously cooked to give myself a little bit of a break with cleaning all the pots and pans each night.
A few of my go-to dinner meals that I know my son will eat well include:
- Meat sauce and spaghetti
- Red beans and rice
- Frozen pizza
And it’s important to keep it real—sometimes I veer from my meal plan and we do breakfast for dinner or order Chinese delivery.
Early to Bed, Early to Rise
While ‘single-parenting,’ I aim to go to bed earlier than normal. This (usually) allows me to wake up an hour and a half earlier than normal. Waking up earlier than my regular time gives me a peaceful bit of “me time” before the day gets hectic. This is usually the only time I have to center myself and my thoughts. It’s therapeutic in a way. I even put a few drops of essential oils into the shower for an extra bit of serenity-now. (I alternate between lavender and eucalyptus.)
We plan how we will communicate based on the location my husband travels to as well as figure out the time difference. We then coordinate times that would be good to chat so that our toddler can see or hear his dad. Our son is still at the age where he doesn’t get that his dad is traveling for work. It’s really sweet and also heartbreaking that each morning he wakes up and walks through our house calling for Dada.
Because my son doesn’t yet understand that his dad is away for work, nor does he understand the concept of time, I have started looking into getting him a Daddy Doll. And if your partner traveling is female, no worries—Daddy Dolls create female dolls as well. (I wonder if they’ll consider rebranding soon.)
Call in the Troops
I’m lucky to live fairly close to my folks, brother and sister. My sister’s husband used to travel frequently for work. My dad worked shift work for 40 years. So if anyone knows how to deal with inconsistent traveling and generally being out of pocket for work, it’s my mom, dad and sister. My brother lives about 10 minutes from us. I often times make plans with them to break up the monotony and routine of always being “on.”
Write Snail Mail
We check the mail each day waiting for a postcard to arrive. It’s fun getting postcards from travels. I save them all in a box for my son to give to him when he gets older. Snail mail is another way to stay connected with the traveling parent and is always a fun surprise.
Make the Bed
My husband and I do this on the reg, so when he’s away it’s no different—I make the bed. It may seem silly, but this always gives me a feeling of “Ok, I’m awake and moving. I am going to own this day.”