Hey C. - I am an Army Wife like others who have responded. My husband left this morning for 30 days. Then heads back to Iraq in a few... I'm also a Massage Therapist! - want to trade?!
My husband recently (two months ago) took a new job which requires him to travel on business most weeks on average Mon-Thurs, although he has done one Mon-Sat. so far. Financially it has been good for us but I am having a hard time anyway. I find that although we decided together, I am having some feelings of anger and abandonement and am lonely. More importantly, logistically we have become sort of a mess much of the time. I have trouble getting it all done and the girls into bed at a decent hour. Also, my girls miss their daddy a lot when he is gone and I know he is worried about missing out. He is a great loving dad and husband and is really trying hard to be as supportive as he can. I am wondering if any other moms have advice on how to ease the situation for my girls (first and foremost) or myself, or my husband. Thank you!
Hey C. - I am an Army Wife like others who have responded. My husband left this morning for 30 days. Then heads back to Iraq in a few... I'm also a Massage Therapist! - want to trade?!
My husband travles lots for work too. The way we dealt with it was to hire a live-in nanny to help me with the kids and household chores. Otherwise, it gets very overwhelming...
My husband travels Mon-Thurs and has taken 4 international trips since my second child was born 17 months ago. Some days are really hard, but we have worked to make this work for our family. Three practical things that help me are asking for help, building routines into everyday, and making weekend family time sacred.
To help with chores we have hired housecleaners, and I have a college student babysit for 2 ½ hours every Wednesday night. If my husband is going on a long trip I invite friends over for dinner. They bring food or we order pizza. I ask friends to walk the dog or pick things up for me at the store. People are happy to help because they know that I will be there when they need me.
To help build routines I have read many great books from the library. Kathy Peel has written a dozen Family Manager Books. Also, websites like flylady.net have great tips. The key is to make your life as simple and consistent as possible. Spend less time cooking and cleaning and more time enjoying your family. If I do laundry everyday during the week I don’t have to do it on Saturday when my husband is home.
When my husband comes home on Thursday nights I am sometimes tempted to dump all the week’s woes on him. However, this is NEVER a good idea. When he gets home we have an understanding that it is time for peace and reconnecting. Home should be “Home Sweet Home,” an oasis away from his and my stressful workweek. Our complaints, problems and needs can wait 24 hours when we are both rested and more understanding.
The most important step is to set aside a specific time to evaluate your decision when you are not too tired or stressed out. Both you and your husband need to honestly address the pros and cons of your situation. You might be surprised that it is also hard for him. Talk about it calmly and honestly. If you still don’t think this situation is the best for your family set a specific time frame to explore other options. For example, you might want to give yourself until summer to look for new jobs or consider relocating.
It sounds like you have a wonderful family. You have done the right thing by asking for advice. I wish you well!
I have to start by telling you that you are not alone in what you are going through. Your story is mine too. I absolutely understand what you & your husband are going through and can also relate to what your girls are feeling as well. My husband works hard at a job that is financially rewarding, but he is gone most weeks Thursday - Monday. We have 2 spirited boys, ages 20 months and 3+ years. We have little to no family support, so we have had to be creative and most importantly communicate with each other even when we are feeling low.
Some choices we have made in an effort to ease the stress and make the best of our situation, for all of us are:
1)Our older son is in daycare 2 full days a week. I do the big errand running and spend some quality alone time with our younger son. Sometimes I sneak in a nap on those days, while the little one is napping (catching up on some rest, helps keep me sane and grounded). Even though there seems to always be a long list of things to do, I really try not to lay too much on myself on any one day. It helps me not feel like I'm always two or three steps behind.
2)I have recently left the laundry alone until my husband is home and we sit together and fold and put away everything together. I know it's laundry and it seems like a huge chore (when there are four people), but when we are actively doing it together, it doesn't seem so bad and lately we've have some great conversations over laundry.
3)I really try not to over schedule the boys, but I do want them to have some playtime with their friends (and time with the other Mommy/friends for myself). We have a standing park date with our group once a week. (It's always when my husband is out of town) this gives the boys and I something to look forward to each week.
4)We also go to the Children's interactive center "Habitot", the library for story/music time, the local Farmer's Market is always fun, and we go to different parks in the area. All of these things get us out of the house together and then when we've done something fun the boys have stories to tell their father and when he's home we do them all over again with him.
5)I also do all of the grocery shopping the day before my husband leaves, for the entire time that he is gone, so that I don't have to drag the kids by myself to the store and try to carry all of the groceries and watch the kids at the same time too. This has been a great new plan for us, a little flexible meal planning and I only have to shop once a week, when I have help.
I hope my ideas and experiences are of some help or comfort to you.
I would love to hear any ideas you have come up with to help you and your family navigate through your this.
I commend you for also working outside of the house.
Have you heard of skype? It is really a great way to keep in touch....not just with your husband but with the whole family/friends. My husband is living in Italy and my daughter and I live in Belgium. He, 2 weeks ago, accepted this new possition. My daughter graduates in 1 yr so we are not willing to move her. All of our family live in the US or Argentina but we have good friends in India, Brazil, and well you get the idea. Skype is a free service you download to your computer and then you can talk for free via the pc. You can also set up a camera and then they can see each other as well. You would be able to show their school work to their daddy....
I tutor my niece Mon-Thurs during the school year that way.
It is a great tool!!
I'm a retired Navy Wife. What does that mean to you? I means that I was a "single married parent" for 20 years.
The best thing that you can do is ALWAYS make daddy coming home a celebration-that way they will never resent that he is away. The other thing you can do is find other kids for your children to play with- for socialization- And the last thing you schould do is find someone that you can have adult conversation with once a day-it will keep you sane. Keeping the kids on a schedule helps too. Good Luck! And remember- you can make every time your husband comes home a mini honeymoon! Don't be upset with your husband- at least he has a job, and is home part of the week. Gosh, our Navy husbands would leave in January and not be home until October. Count your blessings.
Definitely check out Skype.com for webcam or phone calls, also look into Jajah.com for "free" calls jajah customer to jajah customer that one is through the telephone.
I'm in a sort of similar situation with a husband who is "on" 17 days and "off" about 13. I have also been struggling with getting our 3 year old into bed on time - she takes forever in her nighttime ritual. So, lately I've been setting a timer for a reasonable time frame for nighttime rituals and she has to "beat" the timer. She's rather competitive and likes the little treats she gets the next day if she "wins". Don't know what I'll do when the day comes she doesn't beat the timer, but enjoying the speed at which she gets herself ready.
But what I've found is to focus on getting done what needs to get done, and letting the rest slide if you can't get to it. You might not have the cleanest house, or the most gourmet of dinners and you need to give yourself permission that that's ok.
You sound like you found your footing in your new life. As a military wife, I know how hard it is to adjust to being capable and confident enough to handle the house, bills, kids, etc all on your own. There are times of feeling angry, lonely, being overwhelmed. It comes with the territory of having a spouse away for a large portion of time. You really do have to keep a positive attitude about it. Every situation is temporary. This traveling may be what he needs to do for a while in order for him to move up and gain more stability.
If it lasts too long, you may consider trying to find a place for your family closer to his workplace. Just trust that he has made this sacrifice for the good of the family. I'm sure it hurts him as well to have to leave you and the girls behind to go off to provide a life for you all. Keep being strong!
Your message really hit home with me as my husband works in Homeland security in a very demanding position. He works on gov projects in LA 3-4 days every week. It takes its toll since we have a super busy 2 year old son and another baby due in July. There are days Im out of my mind, exhausted, irritated, frustrated and mad. I feel like a single mom many times but I try to remind myself my husband doesn't like being away from his family anymore then I like having him gone weeks on end. I too spend a lot of time with other mothers and get out of the house. It is hard when he gets up and looks around the house calling for "daddy". I just remind him that daddy loves him and is coming home soon. My husband spends a lot of alone time with our son on the weekends which is good for both of them and gives me a break. I find that helps a lot if im out of the picture when my husband is home with our son. It lets them build that bond together. Plus Im sure my son gets sick of me. HAHAH. I have a routine and try very hard to keep our son on it as close as possible. I feel your pain. Hang in there.
I was a military mom He's retired from that now.
When he would be out to sea I would use that time to concentrate on the house and my own activities.
He would bring the children something very small home and would have a date alone and have something special for him. This means a date night every week that he is home for the two of you alone. Guard that time. Slip a note in his clean clothes in his suitcase.
As for the house, look up Flylady.com She is a mentor to good organizational skills and other stuff. Check her website out.
Have an excellent day.
My dad travelled a ton for work throughout my childhood. My advice would be to make sure he spends lots of quality time with your girls when he is around, even if he's exhausted, and that he make a point of knowing who their friends are and of being home for important events, such as birthdays, the first day of school, etc. My dad was gone for my birthday several times, didn't know what I was doing in my life, and didn't make much of an effort to play with us when he was home. He spent much of our family vacations on the phone dealing with business. Yes, his job afforded me many material possessions, but I would have rather had my dad. Girls need to have a supportive relationship with their dad whenever possible. I definitely had some unhealthy relationships with guys during my late teens and early 20s that were, in part, influenced by the separation anxiety I had from feeling abandoned by my dad. It is important that your husband be a part of the difficult parts of parenting, too, such as discipline. Coming home to be Mr. Nothing-But-Fun just to take off again will only exacerbate this problem, imho. I have seen dads who travel a lot handle it well, so I don't want to say that your husband's traveling will cause problems for your girls, but it can if he is not mindful of how he spends the time he does have with them. As for your situation, my mom didn't work outside of the home, but she still had someone come once a week to give the house a good cleaning (though she kept things pretty tidy). Perhaps you and your husband can take a small part of the finacial gains from his new job and hire either a mother's helper/house cleaner/meal delivery service -- whatever would help you the most. As for feeling abandoned, I'm not sure what to tell you other than to be honest with your hubby about what you're feeling so that you don't build up resentment.
My husband and I have 5 kids. They are 19, 17, 16, 15, and 7. The 7 year old is a boy and he misses his dad a lot when he's gone. My husband travels most every week too, Mon-Fri. A good portion of the year I feel like a single mom, doing everything cause we only have a "weekend dad/husband". He has been doing it for 5 year now and we are all adjusted. The best thing to do for the "messy" part of your life, is to look at differently. If your husband is gone, that is the perfect time to structure your life. That can include cleaning up the house, or putting your kids on schedules if that is what needs doing. Might as well use the time wisely. That is how I learned to pass the time. Also, doing things with family members and friends helps. When daddy is home, make sure you set aside some time for the two of you alone, as well as some family time. Maybe even one on one time with the girls if you can swing that. I know when he's home, he is probably busy too huh? Mine comes home on weekends and then has his yard work to do as well as anything that needs fixing etc. It is very tough at times....even still 5 years later. I have adjusted our lives to fit this work schedule but I still have moments where I feel terribly lonely...that is why I really make a point to spend alone time with my husband. We try to have date night every week if we can. Feel free to contact me if you want to talk privately or if you just need someone to vent to. You can get me at ____@____.com Luck! Just remember it can be done!
You have received a lot of good advice, some of which I can use, too, as my husband travels for work 2 wks at a time, every 2 months or so.
But in addition, if your husband is interested, I'd like to pass along something I learned from a male friend of mine who just retired after 20 years in the military. He was a fairly high-ranking officer and was deployed for 1-2 years at a time, then returned home for a few months and was gone again. He said the way that their marriage and family worked was that he absolutely KNEW when he was home that he should and would defer to his wife in all things involving the family. He said she did a great job running it while he was gone and he had no place "defying her orders" when he was there. (mind you, yes he was trained in the army to "follow orders" but also he was trained to LEAD.) Now that he is back for good, he has a civilian career along with a wife and two teenagers, and his wife is still in command at home but they are learning to do more compromising. It seems to work very well for them.
C.: Boy do I understand...my husband works/lives in Rome, Italy (and has the whole time [three years] I've known him). He will very soon transfer to Philly (I'm in Orlando, of course), which is, of course, the same time zone (yay!) and a very short flight away (thank God!) and at least he'll be able to come home for a couple of four-day weekends a month....and the Italians he works for are generous with vacation and time off. I have no choice but to "go-with-the-flow", but it is so hard sometimes, and nobody (except for military wives or other wives who are going through the same thing) really get it. It is so hard knowing that no one is coming through that door at six to spend the evening with you, anything that needs to be done inside or outside of your home is only done by you, and you stop getting invited to couples/whole family things because they don't know if your husband will be there or not and they're not quite sure what to do with just you (or just you and the kids)...maybe not effecting you as you have your husbands on the weekends....and you often feel yourself not feeling married, because they're not there most of the time...thank God for other understanding women going through the same thing (military or other) because it's just so hard! (Does it not give you an even greater respect for any single moms you know and how hard THAT must be?!?!)
My biggest saving grace is the making/spending time with girlfriends and hanging out with them (or them and their kids). For example, haven't seen my husband in a couple of weeks and he won't be here until next week, but my girlfriends and I got together yesterday, put on sundresses and heels and went to Pucks in Downtown Disney for sushi and martinis and then to see the Sex and the City movie....what a fun, fun time!!! Maybe some of this would help you?
Are you new to the area or established? If you are new, what side of town are you in? Perhaps I can recommend some places to go either with your friends or to meet people (that are conducive for a married woman with children).
Good luck to you!
BTW: Always have to ask when I meet a C....Did you by any crazy chance go to kindergarten in Fremont, CA? I know C. is not that common of a name (though IS my best friend out here's name...spelled "Krista")....had a best friend in kindergarten and part of first grade named C. (can't remember the spelling...I was in kindergarten!!! LOL) and we were so very close and did everything together and then she abruptly moved. The day before she moved she found out and told me and we cried and cried. It was horrible. I always hoped I'd run into her one day in my adult years!
Go to www.skype.com
The person who suggested that is correct it is free between other people who also use skype and if you do not use skype then it is only like 2 cents a minute wherever you call.
You can also hook it up to your phone.
Check it out. We use it and my dad uses it as well.
I know that I'm responding to this a little late as you've already updated everything but I wanted to let you know that I too know how you feel. My husband is military and is gone anywhere from a couple of weeks to a year at a time. In fact he was just gone for five months and even missed the birth of our third child (our only girl). I haven't read your other responses yet, but I figured I'd just let you know what has helped our boys. We set up a camera and microphone on the computer and try to have a "conference" with daddy at least once a week. In your case it could be in the evenings. That allows the children to see daddy and for him to feel like he's there with them. We've also found it important that when he is home we make time for family time. Some of our favorites have been going to the zoo (get a membership it's cheaper), playing together at the park, and date time for each individual child. Do you have any family in ther area, or close friends for you to talk with or get some away time for yourself? Please feel free to send messages my way if it ever gets to be just too much. I know that it's hard, but it should make your time together even better. Also try to make sure that at least once a month you and he get away for a date, don't neglect yourself or your needs as your children will feel this. Good luck.
My first bit of advice, Take a REALLY deep breath. Heck take two or three of them.
My second bit of advice (and I'm in my 17th year as a Coast Guard wife) be thankful he comes home on weekends and that you can talk to him every day.
My third bit of advice, give yourself time to adjust to the changes this has brought about. I know the first time my husband went out on the ship I was frazzled and stessed and clueless basically. And it wasn't just the first trip either, it took a couple of them to get into the swing of things.
My fourth bit of advice, prioritize. What absolutely HAS to be done each day. Worry about those first and then get to what ever else as time and energy level permits. And allow those priorities to change as time goes on if it makes life less stressful. For me my priorities were, kids had to be fed, they had to get a good nights sleep, and they had to have clothes to wear each day. Everything else, well I got to it when I got to it. And it didn't hurt any of us one bit to have a house that wasn't a show room. But that's where you'll find your own balance, you'll figure out what you can let wait, and what you can't and work with that.
My fifth bit of advice, be sure to have a support system. Feelings aren't right or wrong, they just are. How we react to them is what is right or wrong. As someone else suggested, talk to your husband and just let him know these are your feelings and you don't expect him to "fix it" but just to hear you out and be there for you as an ear to bend. I distinctly remember one phone call with my husband, and I was just expressing how frustrated I was over having to deal with everything and not being able to even talk to him for weeks on end and his response was "I'm in Panama, what do you want me to do?" My reply "GET OFF THAT F'in BOAT AND COME HOME, THAT'S WHAT YOU CAN DO". His reply? "It's not a boat, it's a ship, it's over blah blah feet". I'm sure you can imagine how well THAT went over. We finally got to the point where we were able to understand each others frustrations. It wasn't any easier on him than it was on me.
And last but not least, every few months or so sit down together and reevaluate where you are in this whole thing. Look at all the pro's and con's of the situation and see if it's still the best move or if a change would be better. Look at what you're willing to give up to achieve what ever goal is most important to you.
And one last thing being a military wife taught me ... Bend or break. Learn where you can bend, or you will surely break. Good luck and I'm sure you'll work it all out.
Oooh, boy, C.--I know lots of people, myself included, who have done this with varying degrees of success. It is really hard to have it all on you when you thought that was what marriage and co-parenting is all about! The anger and abandonment are totally understandable, and inevitable. Other than acknowledging them, I can't tell you how to make them go away!
Some suggestions I would try to make your weeknight single-parenting better include making sure that you are free for the girls from about 3PM on, so that at the tired, cranky part of the day they know they can count on you being available; make meals for more than one day at a time to minimize both cooking and cleanup tasks (because you are cranky at the end of the day, too!), and have some quiet activity that you and the girls do together EVERY DAY--a group read-aloud chapter book, or playing board games, or doing jigsaw puzzles together--something that gives them a special activity the three of you do. (This is actually good advice for all parents--if you start it when they are young they will never want to give it up, and you will always have a family activity that all can participate in!) If Dad joins in when he is there, that's great, but let them teach him the rules. We also used to have "breakfast for dinner" when my husband traveled, which the kids thought was silly and fun and made it special--fried egg sandwiches and waffles were their favorites. Again, it was easy, one-pan cleanup, and something that broke up the monotony of one parent there and missing the other. For a while, we had "laundry day" as well--all three of us folded the laundry together. My 3-year-old loved matching up the socks, which is a great pre-reading activity and my least favorite laundry task--she (now at age 19)still remembers how much fun "laundry day" was, and it sure took the loneliness and thanklessness of that task off my back!
Other that that, take it easy on yourself and your expectations of "doing it all"--nobody is good at that, just focus on doing the most important parts well, and that is those two girls of yours.
My husband travels for his job and is gone during the week. The feelings you have are valid! You have become a single parent and that is not what you signed up for. For yourself, you have to focus on the positive. I liked that I could scrapbook and not have to put everything away. We fought a lot less as our time together became more valuable.
For our daughter, we bought webcams so we could still have daddy as part of our night routine. He took a book with him (I recommend "Daddy Kisses") and would read it to her. They could do live chat and talk on their cell phones if the computer was slow. We would also send video messages to him. This really helped both of them to feel close and made my husband feel like he wasn't missing all the little things.
I also told my husband straight up that sometimes I was going to call and complain and that he needed to listen and empathize, instead of the typical make response "I'm 1,000 miles away, what do you want me to." Letting him know what I needed support wise, was very helpful!
And when all else fails and I was really miserable, I would tell myself it could be worse and he could be in Iraq!
Hope this helps!
I am sorry that your husband has to work away from home ,but with todays economy it is go he has a job. If he it willing have him read some bedtime stories for the girls into a tape player when he is home. Then when he is away you can sit with the girls and turn the pages while daddy reads the story. This may help encourage them to get in bed and settled so they can have a dadddy momment. It might be a good thing for all of them. Good luck K. H mother of one just turned 4, I have been going throught a bad devorce for 2 years he has no contact so I am a single mom working and going to school, it is hard to get enouph time in the day. good luck
My husband doesn't travel much for work but he does work long hours. Most nights, he gets home 7:30p-8p. Our 3 yr old is in bed & our 7 yr old is on his way. The boys & I eat our meals w/o Daddy. And then by the time he might be able to read our older son a story & he's eaten dinner, I'm practically alseep on my feet. It's hard but it's what makes it possible for me to stay home. There are times I get angry & resentful but for the most part, I've just accepted that this is the way it is. Really, that's my only suggestion. Maybe once your hubby adjusts to the job he could ease up on the traveling? My biggest piece of advice, that we need to take ourselves, is to be sure to have time alone. Hard for us since I'm falling asleep! But, try to have date nights or other times you can catch up. My hubby calls in time to talk to our 3 year old before he heads to bed & tries to do the same for our 7 yr old if he's gonna miss the bedtime routine. Make sure your hubby does the smae so he can find out about their day & yours. Hope this helps & good luck!
I havent had a chance to read all the other responses so I apologize ahead of time if I am repeating anything!
A little bit about my situation:
My husband is an officer on a barge (in other words he is gone 28days at a time then has 28 days off). When it was just the two of us and he was gone a lot it was ok. I got by and kept myself busy with a job and college! Now we have a 2 year old who is starting to understand Dad is gone.
The hardest time we have is as soon as we drop Dad off at the airport my son doesnt understand why he cant get on the airplane also! Its so sad, he gets mad at me. Tells me that I am mean, and that I am "not nice", "Turn around Mom, go get Dad"! Not too harsh of words but you understand I am sure that coming from your child and thinks those are the worst words ever really does hurt! I wanted to crawl up and cry the first time he started doing that!
What we did:
There has been TONS of times (as I am sure you know) I have had to find ways to keep a tired cranky two year old happy and distracted and for my son the best thing is to sing to him. Its sounds so simple but any song makes him happy and he loves to try and sing them himslef once I am done! We have even made up our own songs about spelling his name and believe it or not at 2 1/2 years old my son can spell his name! SO we decided that we needed to make up songs for bringing dad, and picking him up from the airport. It really has helped. He still gets upset at frist I wont lie to you but its made the ride home a little smoother.
Songs might not work for your girls but Dad should have some sort of tradition he does before he leaves and once he gets home. I think it will help them recognize that he will be back. As I am typing this I am thinking if your girls like the song idea have a song that Dad sings before he leaves and maybe some you sing to them before they go to bed at night. something like 3 days left till dad gets home, then 2 days left and so on... then Dad when he gets home sing something silly Like I am home and we are going to go play at the park or whatever your plans are that weekend. It doesnt have to have any beat or anything fancy to it. They just need something to associte with Dad leaving and coming home.
Ok I think I have talked your ear off enough now. :) Good luck and if you need someone to cry to I dont mind, I have been there TONS of times!
Well, my husband is in the Navy Reserves and although he is notgone all the time he does go away one weekend a month and 2 weeks during the year. He has a laptop computer with a webcam and when he is gone my two kds (ages 6 & 4)can talk to him and see him via webcam it makes a big difference when the kids can see him and also when the kids go to bed it gives you and your husband the chance to talk online just the two of you! Maybe also you can make a photo album of the fun things you guys have done together and sit down with your kids and look at it together when your husband is gone. Taht way they do not miss him too much and it may help you as well. When he is home try to have a night out just the two of you and then have a family day as well! I hope this helps!
Hey C. - I am an Army Wife like others who have responded. My husband left this morning for 30 days. Then heads back to Iraq in a few... I'm also a Massage Therapist! - want to trade?!
I can relate to missing a family member who "should" be there and how easy it is for a person to feel abandoned in this way.
Maybe this advice will help you;
my son recently went through a difficult phase at school where he kept getting in trouble with the teachers and then the principal. One day I told him that I'd thought of him and sent him positive encouragement to help him focus and get through the day successfully while I was at work. When he understood that I cared about him no matter where we were or how we were apart, he felt encouraged to focus more on his tasks and to share his good news with me once we were home together.
Maybe if you and your children take time each day, ten minutes or however long you want, to think about their dad together, maybe you could talk about the fun times you've had together or you could write him letters individually and give them to him when he gets home. When he has to make another trip, he can take those letters with him (mom, there is EVERY reason to make those letters from you privately romantic and loving, especially if you're missing him that much too)from you and the children. Then he'll know that you all care that much and miss him when he's gone.
Hope this is helpful to you. Also, use this idea as a springboard for your own thoughts and ideas. You have every reason to rise up to this challenge as a family and be successful. Believe in yourself as a family and you will get through this tough time.
All the Best,
You can do this! Don't let the bad feelings win you over, you know your husband would be there if he could, he misses you and the kids desperately. You are the lucky one, you get to be there. You are the one who makes the house a home. When you talk on the phone don't stress him out, you'll be creating more bad feelings. You are going through a period of personal growth, honor it, treat yourself kindly and you will get stronger.
Hope that helps!
I'm so sorry C.! That sounds really difficult. Seems like a high price to pay for a new job. You have probably done this already but if not, please have a serious discussion about him changing careers. If it is a good-paying job, maybe there are some sacrafices that you would be willing to make for him to feel like a lower-paying job would be okay.
I really believe that most fathers want to do the very best thing for their family, and some feel like financial security is the most important. I would challenge your husband (and all fathers) to rethink this. These are precious years and your children are going to have more memories of their father's absense than they will of any extra money in the bank account. It's not worth it.
BUT...if you do continue with this arrangement, perhaps your husband could pack along some story books and call every night he's away and read them a bedtime story over the phone. That would give you some time also to take care of the other one or to take a shower or whatever. He could also leave little notes for your children - one to open each day that he is away.
Best of luck to you!!
I went through the same thing a few years back and one thing that might make the bed time routine easier for you is to have your husband tape record a few of your kids favorite stories and let them listen to his voice as they go to sleep each night. That might make the evening routine a little easier because they will be excited to hop into bed so they can hear daddy's stories.
I hear you. For the longest time, my husband was working about 16 hour days, 3 hours away from home so it seemed like he was always gone. There were days that he'd just sleep at the office. It was extremely hard. He took the job so that we'd have enough money for me to be a SAH mom. My kids were 5 and 8. My advice is to stay connected with him throughout the day. We didn't have cell phones back then, but we had pagers and email and I would take and scan pictures of events to him and let the kids tell him about their days over the phone. Ever time he had a break or five minutes, he called home. I also got the kids involved with all sorts of activities. We homeschooled so I had lot of time to fill. I got them involved with scouts, community groups, etc. It was fun for them and gave me some interaction with other adults. The only hard part was when there were award ceremonies or events that my hubby wanted to be there for. I know that he drove 3 hours to attend a one hour award ceremony for our daughter when she got her Bronze Award in GS. Then he turned around, took a shower and drove back to work. It was hard and I was lonely and melancholy a lot. But we got into a routine and we made it work. It was hard doing everything myself, but while somethings slipped, I finally got into it and had a schedule. Our first splurge was a video camera. He regrets a lot of that time away now since he feels that he missed the better part of the kids growing up. You and your husband need to have a serious chat about what is truly important to you. We rearranged our priorities and now have less money but more family and quality time. You have to ask why is he doing this job? Does he love the job and the work? If he is just doing it for the money, you may need to rethink a few things. But with todays economy being what it is, be thankful he is working. You may need to work with this for awhile until the economy evens out and he is assured of a stable position that lets him be at home more.
I have 2 children, 1 and 3 and what helps me is having a mommy's helper. I have a 12 year old girl help me on the weekends or evenings. She doesn't stay alone with the kids, but I can get things done around the house. Also if there are any drop in day care centers that is an option. Even just a couple of hours can make a big difference for my sanity. My husband travels occasionally for work, so I know what it's like with 2 little ones. Also going out with other mommy friends eases the stress as well. Good luck.
My husband travels a lot. We have two girls also. It is hard, but I just look at it like I am a single mom and it is a bonus if he is home to help out. I have gotten very organized with my time. I make a menu over the weekend. I do all errands and grocery shopping on the weekends. When we get home from school we do homework first thing before playing outside. We start baths at 7:30 and storytime at 8:00. Girls are in bed by 8:30. Mom is in bed by 9:00. Dad calls home every night to here about our days bad or good he listens. The girls get very excited when dad comes home. He is known as the fun parent at our house :) It took my youngest about a year to adjust, she just missed her daddy. Hang in there. Sometimes it is hard on my husband too. When my daughter was in a soccer tournament and he wasn't there to see her make the winning goal. She was crying here and he was crying there. Be tough. It will get better :)
My husband travels often for work too (though not as much as yours). You've gotten a lot of great advice here already, but I can add one thing. It might help you to find some kind of small project to work on during the week that you want to finish before your husband comes home. I noticed this changed my perspective and attitude greatly. Instead of grumbling about how many more days before my husband got back, I found myself counting down the days I had left to get my project done in order to be able to show it off to him when he got home. I am less depressed and more filled with anticipation this way. Of course, with taking care of the kids and all, there is not a lot of time for extra projects, but I can usually find something, and sometimes the kids help. I'm already picking out my project for May (my hubby will be gone 2 1/2 weeks)....
And about "getting it all done." Look for things that you could drop or lighten up on to ease your load. Like housekeeping--it was a great relief when I realized my house didn't have to be *perfect*.
Hope you are able to find help from some of the good ideas from the ladies here. All the best to your family.
I had the similar situation 3 years ago. It was really tough as you said, even the decision was made with you together. However, the reality always brings more disappointment than what you can imagine. I DO believe the most important foundation is the sounded relationship between you and your husband which includes trust, belief, passion, compatibility, common life goal... Every time, I cooled myself to think all of these, then I could be calm and logical to deal with my emotion and fussy feeling. Another important indicator is the mutual motivation to the daily communication. Once there is a healthy communication channel as usual, then everything can be improved by a deep level of the communication. Always paying attention if you and your husband can maintain a very positive and healthy communication protocol as you desire to.
My husband resently statred to travel for work as well. It is very hard and lonly. I know this sounds so cheesy, but you know that comercial where the little girl gives her daddy a stuft animal to take with him on his buisness trip and he sends pictures well we actually tried it. My 7 year old was so sad that my husband was leaving. So I had her pick out a small animal for him to take. He took the funiest pictures and sent it to us e-mail. My daughter was so excited to see where they went and what pictures he was going to send it seem to take the edge off and make the days go by faster.
My husband travels a lot, and I also found it difficult at first, but quite honestly, I now find it a welcome reprieve. You have to make sure and talk to each other, and your husband can do little things to make your daughters feel better about being gone. One thing my husband and I did, is my husband is kind of the person who puts our son to bed a majority of the time. So when he is gone, we have duplicates of some of our books, and Daddy takes one with him on his trip, and my son has his at home. My husband will read him the book at his bedtime via phone or webcam (although my 3-year old son finds that too much fun, and pays too much attention to the camera sometimes). You can put on the calendar how many days until Daddy will be home. My son always looks in the sky and points out planes and says that's Daddy's plane. My son adjusted very well to Daddy going on trips. You'll have to adjust yourself also, and realize it will be like being a single parent, but it's very do-able. I also had anger toward my husband being gone a lot, because he got to eat out, and be away. But my husband has made me realize that he doesn't like being away all the time either. And we have made sure to always have some kind of family outing when Daddy gets home. It'll get easier as time goes on, and you'll figure out little things to make your family happy as a whole. Just remember to communicate all the time.
My father traveled a lot while I was growing up as well. I'm sure it was hard on my mom more than she showed, but things did work out for the best, and they are still together after 34 years!
Is this going to be a temporary situation? Perhaps a countdown that you girls can plan a party or some special activity for his return?
Do you gals have anything to do in the evenings? Perhaps a dance or gymnastics class... spend time at an arts and crafts studio and make him something to take with him, or to return to... getting into a hobby might keep you all more busy so you don't miss him as much...
If it is not a temporary situation, and things continue to get worse, I would suggest talking to your husband about looking into being around more often...
I had the same situation, traveling husband with new job, and 3 young children ages 4, 1.5 & a new-born. We got some help and it was the best decision. We got an au pair - a young woman from Spain that came and lived with us for a year. She helped with childcare and light housework. It wasn't that expensive (I was working part-time)and it saved my sanity. It was nice to have another adult around (adult talk) and I was able to concentrate on each child. She worked a split-shift, helped in the mornings & late afternoon/evening. When my husband was home, he had a happy wife & family, not a frazzled mess.
We had au pairs from Cultural Care Au Pair for several years and it was one of the best investments we ever made. I feel that we invested in our family - that job put my husband on a wonderful career track that has worked out well (more $$$). He didn't feel guilty for "leaving", we had quality time when he was home, and my kids learned about different cultures.
Contact me if you want to know more about the pros & cons of having an au pair.
I'm a 42yo mother of 4 and went through my husband being away alot on business for several years. I tried to make those times special with my kids. Little things like having breakfast at dinner time. Just one or two things while he was away. I also used it as a time to eat earlier(when he was not away he worked long hours and dinner time was late because I wanted to make sure the kids had as much time wiith him when he was home. It also helps to get together with friends(yours and theirs). It's also important for the two of you to have dates when he returns so you can reconnect. Also having the kids talk to him on the phone while he is away, gives them a sense a security, these days a webcam would be great idea as well.
It's important for you to eat right and get your rest so that you can deal with all you need to do. It's so tempting to not "cook" when hubby is away. I hope this is helpful.
We were in a similar situation a few years ago (although it sounds like your husband travels a lot more than mine did, so my heart definitely goes out to you) and I felt a lot of resentment about the travel, too, even though, logically, I knew it wasn't his "fault". It got easier as my kids got older, but I was terribly overwhelmed when our youngest was in the newborn - 3 yrs. old range.
Is there any way you can get some extra help, even just for an hour or two, maybe one or two nights (or mornings, if that's your "crazy time") a week? A relative/friend would be ideal, but we didn't have anyone in the area that I felt I could lean on for "free". We'd arrange for a babysitter to come for about 2 hrs., say Tues. & Thurs. night, to entertain the kids, give them a bath, get them to bed, etc. while I loaded the dishwasher, folded laundry, made a quick grocery run, etc. ... whatever I needed to accomplish somewhat uninterrupted. If your older daughter's in kindergarten, maybe you can trade off with another mom on taking kids to school &/or picking them up at the end of school. I found that I could face the 3-4 busy days without getting too overwhelmed if I got a couple of breaks, even if they were short, "working" breaks.
Another thing that works well for us, is that Daddy calls every night at bedtime to tell them all goodnight. It gives them something to look forward to, they don't miss him as much & it gives me a "target" to keep them on task for finishing homework, getting ready for bed, etc., in time to be able to talk to Daddy. That seems to bring a little bit more peace & harmony into the evening chaos :} & they settle down for bed better after they get off the phone. Also, I don't feel quite so isolated if I can hear his voice, lean on him re anything stressful that happened, share the happy, fun things that happened, etc.
The other thing I did was to develop a hobby that got me out of the house for 3-4 hours, on a weekend, once or twice a month, and tapped into the creative side of my brain. I left the kids home alone with Daddy & went out to take arts & crafts type classes. I developed a really good group of friends & we'd have 3 hours of uninterrupted adult conversation. Plus, even though it wasn't an equal share, I felt like my husband was paying me back a little bit for all the times I was solo-parenting.
I hope this helps. Good luck & don't feel guilty about feeling resentful. Talk it through & try to find some things he can do that will help you feel like you're both balancing the load a little bit better.
It will get easier, the children get used it. I recommend that you get into a really strict routine especially at bedtime and stick with it even when your husband is home, then you get some evenings to yourself to wind down and also to spend with your husband. Also try to go out once in a while with a friend if you can get a sitter. If you have any friends with husbands at work perhaps you could get together for dinner. We put the phone on speaker at dinnertime and then my husband gets to chat with the kids for a while so he doesn't feel so left out. we also tell the children how many sleeps dad will be away for so they can have a time concept of when he's coming home.
It is not easy having your husband away. I like the many wives who have responded know and understand how you feel. I have been married 39 years and my husband traveled 30 of those years. Many times we moved hoping to have our family together. Most times we would move and he would be back in a plane traveling somewhere else and the kids and I would be alone adjusting in a new area. Sometimes it would be a few months before we would see him. We have moved 13 times. Our children are grown and now it is me here alone while he travels. I would love to go with him but he travels all over the world and travel expenses would be our dime. One thing I’ve heard him say many times is “if he had it to do over, he wouldn’t” because he feels he has missed so much of our children growing up. Back in the old days, we didn’t have all the conveniences there are today so it was just good bye and hope he would come home safely. Sometimes I would feel angry and wish it could be different but then I looked at people who had no income and just felt it was the price we had to pay to have a nice roof over our heads etc.
Try and keep busy (there are many people out there in the same boat), arrange play dates so kids have time with other kids and you get to meet the parents, and talk a lot about Daddy to the kids and how great it will be when he comes home. We used to do different things like throwing a blanket on the floor and have a picnic while it was snowing outside. We joined the YMCA and kept the kids very busy. When he did come home we did many family things so we could spend as much time together as we could.
I keep busy with my home based business as a wellness educator.Now we are talking about retiring and I’m wondering what I’m going to do with him 24/7?
Incidentally, we are not military.
I wish you all the best.
My husband travels occasionally for work as well, usually for 2-3 weeks a quarter. It will decrease eventually, but will continue for a few years... it's hard, I know! One of the things that we haven't been able to afford yet but want is a laptop for him to take with him so he could hook up the webcam and chat with the kids over the web. We have one at home and grandpa and grandma (who are in the UK currently) use it a few times a month. It's wonderful! If he has that setup and the home computer has it, too, then it's free and they could see Daddy and he could maybe read each a story to them, talk about their days, etc and it makes things so much easier. We currently use the phone on speaker so we can all hear and talk because we don't have the laptop yet. :) But the phone calls help at least. Get a routine and stick to it as much as you can, try to plan things in advance as much as possible! It also helps to get the chores done before Daddy comes home so that when he is home, there's more time to spend with him. Not always possible, I know, but it does help! Hang in there!
Hi C......My husband took a job as an airline pilot two years ago when our first son was two and I was pregnant with our second. I work full-time. The first six months were awful as my little guy and I tried to adjust to daddy being gone all the time. When he woke up in the morning, he would scream and cry for daddy and wouldn't let me get him out of bed. I was resentful that my husband was getting to spend his nights alone in a hotel room and eat all his meals out while I was stuck trying to deal with everything at home.
Rest assured that things will get easier. You will all begin to adjust over time, but it will take awhile. In the meantime, be patient with yourself. Don't feel like you have to do it all. What has really helped for me has been having girlfriends with kids around the ages of my own. My friend's husband often works late, so usually we get all the kids together and have dinner at one of our homes once a week. That way, the evening becomes something to look forward to rather than another dinnertime and long lonely evening to dread.
When you need to talk to your husband about your feelings, try to do it in a non-accusatory way. I used to go off on mine when he would call because I was frustrated and overwhelmed. I would get the whole "What do you want me to do? I'm working" answer, and then on top of everything else, we'd end up fighting. He probably hates being gone as much as you hate having him gone. What has really helped in our marriage is for us to be supportive of each other, realizing that while the situation isn't great, and in our case there is no end in sight, we are both doing the best we can.
Six months from now, you will be amazed at how efficient you have gotten at taking care of things on your own. Once you get the routine down and you feel more in control of your circumstances, you will feel some of the resentment start to fade. One day you'll realize that you are an awesome, independent mom who can handle whatever life throws your way, and that while the situation is difficult, you are a better person for it. Best of luck to you and your family....you're going to be fine!
C. , sorry I'm latewith this ..for you i would say to make sure you make the time to take care of yourself...
The kids...The other day I think on Good Morning America I saw were some military wifes started making a small doll that looks like a pillow and screened a picture of their father on it. On the inside was a recorder type thing that had a message that Dad made for each child...
I think that would be a great idea for anyone who has a parent out of the home for any amount of time....
Good Luck...B. C.
Hi. I'm in a similar boat. My husband travels 40% of the time. We have a toddler and an infant and just moved to a new city. My closest friends and family are about 1,000 miles away. It's hard. I too try to keep going by reminding myself he's not in Iraq. A close friend has kids the same age as mine and has a husband in Iraq. But, still, it's hard. My mother in law comes out to visit a lot and that helps, too. She'll often time her visits with his really big trips. I think it's a 1 day at a time type deal. Anyway, no real advice as I'm still figuring this out. Just another voice to let you know you're not alone.
Is this a temporary fix for a situation, or are these hours on this job going to stay this way? My husband is gone most of the summer every year (this will be the 20th in a row as a children's camp director) but our decision has been to ride it out, due to obvious benefits for our kids) and I have learned to use my time well...summers are for redecorating, painting, moving furniture around...stuff that would make my husband nuts during the rest of the year. If this is how the job is for you folks, then put a deadline on it yourselves. Give it 6 months or a year to pay off such and such, or save a certain amount, or see if you can just get used to it in that time. If by the agreed time you can't, then time for a new job or new hours. Hang in there, J.
Since you said it is good financially for you, maybe you could afford to hire someone to help do some of the housework? When I was in college I worked at someone's place unloading the dishwasher, folding and putting away laundry, and deep cleaning the bathrooms- I went every Saturday for 2-3 hours and got minimum wage- so if you could swing it, it could really be a help for you. And for cooking help, you could try using the crock-pot or making some meals ahead of time for the freezer so that you don't have to spend so much time cooking.
As far as staying connected to your husband, maybe your girls and you could keep a little journal to share with him when he comes home? Draw pictures, write what you've been up to... and call each other every day. Is the traveling temporary because he's new to the job or is that the job? Maybe it's just not a good fit for this time in your lives and he could do somthing else? (I know, easier said than done!!) I'd also really talk to him about how you are feeling- calmly, of course, but honestly.
I feel bad for you, and wish you luck overcoming these troubles!
My husband travles lots for work too. The way we dealt with it was to hire a live-in nanny to help me with the kids and household chores. Otherwise, it gets very overwhelming...
My husband also works a lot. he works 7 days a week and 5 of those he is gone from 7am - 11pm. It is very hard. we decided to increase our child care. I needed the time. It took a lot of the pressure off of me. I also try to keep in mind that this is temporary. Good luck, J
Just read your posting and smiled a bit, only because I am in the exact opposite position- my husband is in a very low paying job($3,000/month) and I work part time as a social worker...so we are living check to check/month to month- and not really making it at all...
The up side of this is that my husband's job lets him work from home 2 days/week, so he takes care of our 10 month old son while I am at work. Good Daddy/Baby time and no daycare costs.
My point is, often I nag my husband about going out and getting a better high paying job and say that I'll quit my job so he can work full time or we'll do daycare...but there are tradeoffs in both scenarios.
Wouldn't it be great to have part time high paying jobs:)!
First, and most importantly -- don't feel bad, guilty or whatever, because you and your girls missed Daddy. Your feelings count. Just because you agreed to the travel, does not mean you don't have the 'right' to be disappointed in how it's working out.
My husband was in the Navy for 20 years. In the last 5 he travelled back and forth to home on weekends (from San Diego to SJ), whenever he wasn't otherwise deployed. The missing him, the feelings of abandonment, resentment, etc. are all real and difficult to get past - especially on a regular basis.
These would be my suggestions: Keep your (and your daughters') life as routine as possible during the week. Ths may sound counter-intuitive. But, the routine will take away a lot of the stress (translated to abandonment, resentment, etc.), and will give you more time to get 'extra' things done -like your nails, reading or sitting on the floor with the girls. Believe it or not, once you get the routine down you'll somewhat miss the 'alone time' you had with the girls and your own decision making process re: dinner, schedule, places you go (or not), etc.
Missing hubby can be helped with the feeling of you now have a boyfriend. Think of the relationship as you are dating. Spice it up with sexy emails, getting yourself 'ready' for Friday (legs, nails, hair)...whatever works for the 2 of you.
Missing Daddy can be a phone call away. It's not the same, of course. But, if Daddy calls routinely each night he's gone the girls will eventually see it almost as 'old hat' and take it for granted. The taking it for granted feeling will help them not miss him as they KNOW he'll call.
In the meantime, you may want to discuss and agree upon, an ending time for this part of his job -- say 1 year for example. That way you both know there's an end in sight and can plan for (and dream about) it. AND, you'll know it won't last forever.
My husband travels most weeks too and I have found that you have to keep a schedule. Try starting earlier for bedtime and let the girls know how things will be done. Bath, brush teeth book or a song and off to bed. Sometimes I tell my kids mommy is tired and needs her rest too and you would be surprised how they can be accommodating. I let my kids know about 1/2 hour before we start the routine that we have some time to play and pick what they want to do before we start the routine. the kids feel they have some control and are not reluctant to go upstairs after some good play time on a board game or coloring or cutting and pasting or blocks or playdoh. I spend a lot of time during the day getting them tired too. I run them ragged so they are ready for bed. I find if I have time to myself at night, I am much more prepared for the day ahead.
I also spend time on the phone with my husband and tell him whatever I want even trivial, silly things so we stay connected. I also use to feel neglected and alone a lot but believe me they feel alone too and miss you and the kids and would prefer being home with you. Nothing lasts forever just try to enjoy your children and talk to your husband. Call him in the mornings to say hi and at lunch to see how he is and at night to talk to each-other about your day. Try and think about how much you have and that it could always be worse. You are strong and great mom and can have a open and joyful relationship with your husband if you choose to.
We have to learn to be the wife with the traveling husband but it is not really bad especially if it allows your husband to provide a more comfortable lifestyle for your family and probably puts him in a better position for his next job (which may be at home).
This can be really hard! You deserve a medal! For the kids, I would suggest finding some special ways for them to connect to daddy when he is gone - try video conferencing on the web, setting aside a special time for daddy to call and talk to them on the phone, have daddy send mail or make videotapes to play of him talking or reading their favorite story, record audio tapes of him reading or telling stories to listen to at bedtime.....For you, please take some of the extra $ and hire some help for you to get some time for yourself during the week. You need a break! And you also need some couple time when he is at home. Plan some date nights! Good Luck! :) M.
Hello. My hubby & I were in the same situation although his was only for 6 mos. Extremely difficult. I made a few more good friends to stay socially healthy, found the gym to be really helpful to relieve stress and get a break. You will begin to develop your own schedule. My kids are young so they didn't notice dad being gone so much but I did explain that daddy was going to work, still loved them and would be back soon. My hubby always made sure to play with them as much as possible even for 2 minutes if that's all he had! Make your time with your family really special (no interruptions)! It's never easy and maybe this job can be a stepping stone!! Good luck.
My husband travels occasionally now but used to travel internationally almost weekly. I think the travel thing is especially tricky because you go from teammate to single mom (with funding), each week.
I always find the transitions a little challenging. These are the things that help/have helped us: When my husband leaves, we always tell the kids in advance - not too far, but maybe, daddy is leaving tomorrow for a trip, and will be back in 3 days. I put up a special daddy picture that stays up while he is gone. If they miss him we call and talk to him. We look at a calendar to see when he'll be back. When they talk about him, I validate instead of just distracting them. It sounds like you're thinking about Daddy or you miss daddy. I bet you do. What would you like to do with him or tell him when he comes home? then i keep track of this and set it up for them if possible.
When we decided to have our second child, I pretty much said i can't do the international thing with two and he found something locally. i think all of us have benefited from his lack of travel, but there are trade offs, as always. I would feel really abandoned (and still do) when he leaves, so i have this little talk with myself. first i try to feel my feelings and acknowledge myself, and then i let myself know that i am not leaving me or my kids and that helps. i also remind myself that he's not my mom (or whoever you feel abandoned by historically), and that he is doing this for the family, and i'm agreeing to it, and if i'm not i can speak up. i think the hardest part is when i want to avoid feeling abandoned so i get really busy or don't take as good of care of myself (and therefore everyone else) when he goes.
Now i try to take extra good care of myself and the kids when he goes, which means starting bedtime earlier, not having a crazy schedule, etc. if you can afford it, it's nice to get a babysitter while he's gone. i hire my babysitters as parent's helpers, so they help with whatever i need - kids, dishes, laundry, tidying up, etc. even if you go for a hike and then just get help with dinner, cleanup, and bedtime, it can feel really nice. you can also have some special routines while your hubby is gone that won't replace him, but your kids will look forward to.
An agreement between my husband and i for re-entry is really helpful too. He feels guilty about having been away so when he comes back he jumps in with both feet and sometimes i feel kind of invaded after having done it all - which is more work in some ways, and less in others - i.e., less work because i don't have to work things out with him and i get to do everything how, when, and the way i want to - more, because i am doing everything. so, when he comes back we check in and i tell him what i need and what has been happening - i.e., i need you to let me lead for a while and help out where i need you to at first, follow my lead, etc., or here, take these kids, i'm outta here for a few hours.... that helps a lot.
good luck to you and your family!
Christa- I know married moms' get used to having their husbands' teamwork when they work at home. What you are doing sounds great! Just remember there are those of us single moms really struggling out here. I am trying to live on a part time teaching salary since my school was closed down, I mow the lawn, do the laundry, clean the house, cook,grocery shop with no tag team ever. It is very lonely.I don't really have any friends who are in the same position. But I thank God everyday for what I do have which is my health and two beautiful children!!! Good luck!
If you have a computer at home and your husband has a laptop when he is travelling you can have a nightly videoconference over the computers for free. Skype is a free service that allows you to "talk" over your computer for free. You can hook up video cameras as well and turn the call into a videoconference so that your daughters can actually see their daddy when they are talking to him. When my husband travels internationally for work we use this because cell service is spotty in different countries. My kids love talking to their daddy over the computer and think its very cool.
Sorry for you being almost a single parent. Current economic is not quite good (last month, there's 80,000 jobs lost nationwide, the recession is coming or here now). Since your hobbie got a nice job, it's better to let him keep it. If your finacial condition is good, maybe you should help a parttime helper few afternoons a week, do laundry, cleaning and taking your girls for you. In those time, you can go having some coffee, shopping, nice break time (your own time). So you can be fresh to take care your kids again.
For your girls, you might want to install some webcam at home computer and your hubbie's notebook computer. So, every night, your hubbie can use computer to spend 10-20 minutes or more with your girls before their bedtime. Now internet is so convenient, it's not that hard to get the webcam installed. Many instant message(IM) (such as Yahoo, Google or MSN IM) provide webcam ability, your hubbie can talk to your girls and see each other through IM easily. I know it's not like in person, however, it should be better than just phone talk.
My boyfriend travels most of the time for his job also and we have found that talking on the phone everynight about our days has really helped. It keeps us up to date on what is going on with the other person and allows us to still feel close even when we are apart. We also make sure to spend as much quality time with each other before he goes out of town and I will try to make him a special meal when he comes home. I don't know if I'll ever be happy about his going out of town all the time but you do kinda get used to it after a while.
Hope this helps and good luck.