June 07, 2008,
C.B. asks from Redding, CA on April 08, 2008
Husband Traveling a Lot for Work
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!
3 moms found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Wow, thank you all so much for the great advice and support!!! After reading all the responses I got I almost wanted to cry with relief at feeling so validated after feeling so crazy. It helps so much to know I am not alone (cliche but true). There were also so many great ideas to keep by husband in the loop and close to the kids. Having him record their favorite stories to play at bedtime-what a GREAT IDEA, plus it comes with the extra benefit of being able to wash my face and brush my teeth during book time (a luxury :)
To the military wives, you are all strong beyond belief. That is a vary hard life and I have immeasureable respect for you. You are right, I am truly blessed that Mark comes home on weekends and I can call him whenever I need to.
In these uncertain economic times, I thank my lucky stars every day that my husband does indeed have a job. He was laid off last Nov and honestly we saw this new job as a gift, however hard it may be. I thank you all again for making it easier and for reminding me of what is really important. I wish all of you the best and good luck to you as well!
D.H. answers from Kansas City on June 07, 2008
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?!
1 mom found this helpful
A.C. answers from San Francisco on April 10, 2008
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!
6 moms found this helpful
E.S. answers from San Francisco on April 09, 2008
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.
4 moms found this helpful
L.S. answers from San Francisco on April 08, 2008
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.
2 moms found this helpful
M.B. answers from Indianapolis on June 07, 2008
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!!
2 moms found this helpful
D.H. answers from Portland on June 07, 2008
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.
1 mom found this helpful
H.D. answers from Austin on April 09, 2008
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!
1 mom found this helpful
K.V. answers from San Francisco on April 09, 2008
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!
1 mom found this helpful
R.W. answers from Houston on June 07, 2008
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!
1 mom found this helpful