There have been various times in our marriage when both my husband and I have agreed the traveling time for work has gotten to be too much. Actually, we are living in one of those times right now. Thankfully, we've learned some things in our marriage and one of those things is recognizing when something isn't right or isn't 'working well' and immediately (or as soon as possible) taking action to fix/change the situation. My husband has one more big trip next week and then changes will take place. Yay!!!
In the midst of these busy travel times I need to be a supportive wife even though I don't particularly like the situation. I also need to be prepared to handle the household myself and I strive to do it with Grace and to the best of my ability without making my husband feel guilty for being away. I have to remind myself he doesn't like to travel a lot. It does get old. So, I do my best to not complain, but at the same time I so think it IS important to let him know he'll be missed and that it's hard when he isn't here. Just do that with loving words not a nagging, whining, complaining spirit.
I've thought about this long and hard and I've come up with these practical tips for surviving the times when your spouse has to travel a lot.
#1 Simply life as much as you can during that time frame. What does simplifying look like to you? For me, it means not scheduling 'non urgent' appointments (i.e., dentist, pediatrician, etc.). It also means having a easier meal plan for that time frame (i.e., breakfast for dinner).
#2 Have dad remind the kids what he expects of them while he's away. For example, HELP MOM while I'm away! LOL!
Seriously, though, I find that getting that direction from dad before he leaves does make an impact on the kids and I can also use that as a tool when behavior isn't so good. "Remember, what daddy said before he left? Would you like me to call him and tell him how you're acting right now?" Most of the time that's all it takes to make one of our kids stop and think and change their behavior.
#3 Let your spouse know you when it's 'just too much'. Put your needs into words. He can't read your mind. Recently, when it seemed traveling was ramping up a lot I spoke up and told DH. I took him a bit to process it and figure out how to make the changes, but eventually he came to me and said "You're right it HAS been ridiculous. I'm going to make some changes." I immediately felt heard and loved by him and I knew he really did understand because he admitted it and acted on it.
#4 Have a pep talk with yourself. Feed yourself positive thoughts. Thinking 'you're never going to make it through this trip' will NOT help you make it through this trip.
#5 Treat yourself. If you have a sitter or a child old enough to 'hold down the fort' for a little bit...take yourself out for a bit or go grab coffee with a friend. I usually do this when my husband is on a week long trip. Most of his trips are 2-3 days, but once every couple of months he goes on a trip for a whole week. Knowing his travel schedule in advance helps me know when to schedule coffee dates or just time to do a few errands, alone.
These are the things I have found to be the most useful when my husband is 'in the air' a lot. Does your husbands travel ebb and flow like my husband does? Does your spouse travel a lot? What have you done that helps you SURVIVE? What have you found makes it a little easier?
Share your thoughts in the comment box. I'd love to hear your ideas!