My husband travels for work and I’m a stay at home mom of three young kids. That can be quite a lonely and isolating combination. As the type of person who puts a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect (Type A people, you feel me?), I have found one component of being the wife of a traveling husband to be crucial, and that’s forgiveness.
I’m not talking about forgiving your husband (or wife) for being gone, I’m talking about forgiving yourself. On the days that I’m less than perfect (which is admittedly every day, but there are those days) I make a conscious effort to forgive myself. Not only am I better the next day for it, but my kids are better for it as well. It provides a certain reflection to my role as a mom and as a wife, and I can admit where I have gone wrong, and focus on how I can be better. Additionally, I have found some tips to help get me through the work week when my husband is traveling to make it a bit easier and to relieve some of the pressure.
How to Survive the Week with a Husband Who Travels for Work
Bedtime – establish a routine. Now, I’m probably the last person who should be giving bedtime/sleep advice, since this is about a 2 hour process for my 3 with multiple night wakings...but, I can tell you that when we don’t have a routine…watch out. Even though our routine of bath, book, and bed (and multiple cuddles and massages) is lengthy, the kids and I would all be lost without it, especially when my husband is gone.
Dinner – don’t get fancy. I love to cook, but when my husband is away, I go the simple route. I’m talking sandwiches and cereal sometimes, or the forbidden Mac n’ Cheese. I’ve recently discovered Luvo frozen meals and those make the freezer stash cut for when I’m alone with the kids. They are healthy (bonus) and taste like a home cooked meal. My kids and I enjoy them, and there are options for dinner and breakfast. Having something healthy and guilt-free to give my kids when I have nothing left is truly a life-saver. (BONUS – you can get them DELIVERED!!)
Treats are not taboo. I reserve trips to the local Chick Fil A (with a play place) or even Chuck E Cheese’s when I’m alone. Not only am I affected by being alone at times, but my kids feel it too. This gets us all out of the house and distracted for a bit.
Clue the kids in. It might seem easier to keep the kids in the dark or to distract them totally from the fact that the family dynamic is off, but cluing them in and letting them know what is going on is beneficial. A simple acknowledgment that Daddy will be gone for work and will be back in 3 days is enough. If your kids seem to be ‘off’ or sad, talk about it. Reassure them that missing Daddy is ok, and that being sad is ok too. Always give them the chance to talk about how they are feeling.
Countdown. Like I mentioned above, a countdown can be great for helping little ones understand when their Dad (or Mom) will be coming home. You can use a calendar or simple talk about it each day.
Forgive yourself. I mentioned this in the top of this article, but it’s key. As a parent, there are often times where the day just doesn’t go the way you had planned. It’s ok. Forgive yourself, tomorrow is a new day.
Technology. We are lucky today to have access to some pretty cool technological advancements. If you have access to them, use FaceTime or Voice Messaging to connect. This can be great for spouses as well as children. My kids love to take videos and record themselves doing something to send to my husband while he is away for work. It helps us feel like he is with us, and equally, it helps him feel like he isn’t missing out.
Get social. No not on Facebook (though some of my most valuable friends are there), set up a play date at the park or the mall. Interact with other adults, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It truly does take a village…especially when you are alone.
It truly does take a village…especially when you are alone.
You can do it!
Being alone in parenting is not easy. It’s downright awful at times. For whatever reason you find yourself acting or feeling alone in the day to day task of parenting, whether it’s with a husband who travels for work or not, know that forgiving yourself and making allowances are ok. As cliche as it is, nobody is perfect. Listen to your kids. Talk about your feelings. Rally together and get through it. You will come out on the other side stronger. And while you are alone, don’t forget some of these tips, I can’t tell you how many times they have gotten me through a week. Additionally, if you have any tips you’d like to share with me, I’m all ears!
(Oh..and did I mention wine and coffee??? Yea, there’s that ;))
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