9 answers

How Do You Handle Your Husband Traveling for Work?

Hi Moms,

My husband is about to sign on to a job where he would have to travel 4 out of 5 weeks. Except for week long trips where he come home on the weekends, he has not traveled that much before. How can I keep the relationship between him and our son going if he doesn't see his dad? Any suggestions would be great! Thanks.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Well, he did take the job and left on Wendsday. I set up the webcams before he left, but we haven't tried them with him gone. I make sure that we call a bedtime so he can be a part of the process. So far it is working, but I am not sure if he will last in this job long term. Thanks for all the advise and support.

Featured Answers

I suggest both of you have a computer camera system like Skype. It allows them to talk and see each other when they are on the computer. It's not hard to use. Mac's have one built right in. My husband is a pilot and is gone 4-5 days a week, sometimes more. My boys are now 3 and 4 and sometimes they are too busy to talk to dad!

More Answers

Your son is two years old?
He is just about to enter into that crutial stage when he will start to seperate from "mommy" and identify with the parent of the opposite sex. He will be starting to take his cues from and develop a sense of "maleness" from his daddy...

Is it possible not to sign on to this job?
There is always a way to work things out financially, if there is a will.

I can't imagine a daddy who would be willing to leave his child volutarily for weeks at a time. I understand that military families and the like have this situation all the time but they also have a much higher divorce rate as well (something like 72% verses 51%). Can you maintain a relationship with someone you see once every month or more? How can this be possible?

A family is about being there...together...raising the children...dealing with the daily ups and downs...is this the right time in your lives for this move (no matter what the financial reward may be?).

I know this is not the question you asked but I believe it is the question you should consider.

We have this on both sides, both my husband and I travel for work. Here are some of the things that help us out!

1. Plan ahead. If you know when the trips will be and how long, plan out meals, activities etc. in advance. Cook foods that are re-heatable or buy things that are easy to prepare. Get as much of the laundry done as you can so if it gets a little behind it's not as critical.

2. Extra activities or playgroups. My kids get "off" their normal schedule anyway when my husband is out of town, so I figure, let them do something fun. I plan extra activities at home (like letting them turn the living room into a fort) or getting together with friends more often. Gives them something to look forward to when he is going out of town. This can also give Mom a break if you plan it right!

3. Figure out what's critical to get done and what you can let go. We use paper plates and I let the kids play more video games when my husband is gone.

Hi H.!

My best advice is to find a mom whose husband is in the military and see what she does. They have great ideas. My friend taped a picture of her husband to the wall and she had her daughter give daddy a kiss every night before bed. Also she would point to the moon and her daughter would say daddy was up there. It was pretty cute.

My husband and I used to travel a lot. My son had complete meltdowns when either of us would leave. I was told to get a calender and have him mark off each day until daddy is home. This way he has a date and doesn't think he abandoned him.

Hope this helps!

J.

Hi there,
My husband travels about 30% of the time. So I'm familiar with Dad being gone a lot. And he loves his children, and the children love him. Believe me, you will all adjust.
When my husband travels state side he calls every night sometime between dinner and bed. When he travels out of the country then his calls are sporadic. Either way, just hearing Dad's voice say the normal "I Love You and I Miss you and I wish you were with me" types of reassurances always make a big difference for the kids.
Also, we include Daddy's safety and well being in our prayers at night.
It helps to coach the conversation a little. Remind your boy about one thing to tell Daddy before putting him on the phone. For instance, tell Daddy who you played with today, or what did you have for dinner, or what's your favorite toy today, where did we go, etc. This conversation has changed now that the children are older. It's now about their sports, school issues, etc.
Another important item, is that when Dad is home, Dad does the bedtime routine. It's his time to bond, bathe, play with the kids. And I always tell the kids how nice they smell after Daddy gives them a bath. Much better than Mommy's bath. True or untrue, doesn't matter to me, is that I'm helping to make their time together meaningful and memorable so that when he's gone, this holds them over until he's home.
I could just keep writing here, but one more thing. When my children were younger, I would frequently go along with my husband. Even with the airline changes, it can be pretty cheap to accompany your husband. We would use frequent flyer miles for the ticket and the hotel room was already free. We still tag along on business trips when it works out. I would even venture to say that we never truly took a vacation for many years, and would just extend his business trips, because many of the locals were resort like anyway.
I hope you all adjust. Please feel free to email me with more questions. I've been doing this so long, and could keep thinking of more tips. Try to stick to a routine in the evening, and the nights will hopefully go by nicely. I've only had a few scattered nights where the kids are crying for Dad, and all I can do is hold them and say I understand, would you like to fall asleep on my bed with me? This stops the tears instantly.
God bless!

Update....
Hi, noticed that someone recommended getting to know a military wife. I used to be in the US Army, as an officer. There are numerous support resources available to military personnel that are not part of civilian life. The best alternative to the military would be for you to have a support network through worship center, your neighborhood and family if that's an option. However, not the reason I wrote...I have a BIL being deployed to Afghanistan next week and found this lovely prayer on his unit's website. Thought you would appreciate it as well.

The Military Wife Prayer"

Dear Lord,
Give me the greatness of heart to see the difference between duty and his love for me. Give me understanding that I may know, when duty calls him he must go. Give me a task to do each day, to fill the time when he's away. And Lord, when he's in a foreign land, keep him safe in your loving hand. And Lord, when duty is in the field, please protect him and be his shield. And Lord, when deployment is so long, please stay with me and keep me strong. Amen."

The Military Wife Prayer"

Dear Lord,
Give me the greatness of heart to see the difference between duty and his love for me. Give me understanding that I may know, when duty calls him he must go. Give me a task to do each day, to fill the time when he's away. And Lord, when he's in a foreign land, keep him safe in your loving hand. And Lord, when duty is in the field, please protect him and be his shield. And Lord, when deployment is so long, please stay with me and keep me strong. Amen."

Has the travel started yet?

H., I have the opposite issue. Mommy (me) travels all the time and Daddy is home with the kids.

It was a hard adjustment at first for all of us. One thing that I can tell you is that I always travel with my computer, I IM with my 9 year old and we talk on webcam. But in addition I call home a lot.

Something that I learned from my husband, even if you are frustrated, or you get to the point that you just can not stand the travel do not let your kids know it.

I have been traveling for about 5 years now and have a 9 year-old, a 3 year-old and one on the way. It is hard, but you will find more value in the time that you have. Be patient with your husband when he travels. Understand that yes you are board out of your mind at home, but he is going 90 miles an hour. Resentment about travel is a hard thing to deal with. The travel is just as hard for him. In my case my husband finally figured out that it is more difficult for me then it is for him.

Best of luck!

My husband is a pilot so he is gone a lot of the time. My boys love to talk to Dad on the webcam. You can pick a couple up and they are not too expensive. It is great for them to be able to see eachother and to show eachother things from the day. It is nice because my 16 month old wouldn't be able to talk on the phone but he does converse with Dad on the webcam. We also sometimes slip notes/drawings into his suitcase before he leaves as well. Then when Dad thanks them for the note they get very excited.
Good luck!

I suggest both of you have a computer camera system like Skype. It allows them to talk and see each other when they are on the computer. It's not hard to use. Mac's have one built right in. My husband is a pilot and is gone 4-5 days a week, sometimes more. My boys are now 3 and 4 and sometimes they are too busy to talk to dad!

laptop and web camera and lots of calls! good luck to you!

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