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balancing your family life with a travelling spouse
My husband and I are both very career oriented. We love what we do and we love making ourselves better at it every day. I used to travel every month before we started a family and it was so easy. After I had Ayven I still traveled every month, took him with me since I was still nursing and my parents would watch him. When I went on trips where I would take Ayven with me, I would always struggle to haul my heavy bag as well as Ayven through the airport by myself. If only I had known about The PNW packable backpacks back then! My life would have been so much easier with that light bag. My husband travels a lot for work mostly out of the country and I have a few trips here and there. I think our favourite destinations were Manila to Cebu. There was a lot to do on that trip. The Philippines was a place that we both wanted to visit together, so I’m glad we were able to make this happen. I always seem to get the question
“How do you handle it with travelling so much and taking care of the family?”
For us, it is kind of a different situation. We both travel, he does more than I do but we make it work. I know people are not asking that question out of any bad intent, they just wanna know. I really think it’s because we have such a good process in place now that it works for us. Our process may not work for others since every family dynamic is different, but finding your own process is critical.
It honestly doesn’t even phase me anymore when he travels, I have it down! But when I really sat there and thought about how I do make it work, I came up with a few things I think would help others out there with a travelling spouse.
First off, communicate. Let your spouse know when you are going in as advance notice as possible. So our rule in our house, we have a family google calendar and whoever gets their work trip on the calendar first, they get to go and we work out filling in the gaps of the kids stuff after.
Don’t pull a guilt trip on the other person. If they are travelling for work or to be with family or whatever, trust them and let them go do what they need to do. Don’t make them feel guilty for not being there because that can cause problems. Yeah you may have one rough day with the kids while your spouse is gone but guess what, they are probably missing the crap out of you and the kids. Don’t call them 100 times to make them feel like crap for not being there.
Prepare together for the upcoming travel: I am very OCD and prepare pretty much everything for my husband when I am gone from meals, taking out the kids clothes and even making a breakfast list. Do I sound crazy? YES…do I get phone calls on what needs to be done? NO…it works for us. Work together and prepare for the week so the person staying home isn’t left with a hot mess when you leave.
Be smart about your routine if you are on your own: Don’t try to cook a 4 course meal after coming home from an activity at 6:30 when you are on your own. If you have to eat out or order pizza a few times just do it for your own sanity. If you start feeling way overwhelmed and you can’t make it to one of their activities, not gonna be the end of the world, I promise!
Take a minute for yourself: After day 5 on your own it kinda gets exhausting. Call your babysitter and grab a drink with a friend or go to the library to read a book. You need it to stay sane sometimes and don’t feel guilty about it.
Make time for virtual family time: We try to make it a point to facetime with the kids if one of us is traveling at least once a day. It may get challenging with the time differences but at least make an effort to see each other if the kids can’t. You keep your relationship strong and you get a minute to have adult talk.
Explain the situation to your kids: To my 5 year old we always explain to him that either mommy or daddy will be gone for a bit so he has to step up and be the big boy of the house. I don’t know about other families but my kids act amazing when I am on my own. It’s like they just know and I always make a point to explain it to them.
Prepare for your spouse’s arrival: One of you have been travelling all day, hasn’t seen the kids and probably been eating a lot of crappy food. The last thing they wanna do is go somewhere and entertain people. Leave the day they arrive open to spend with the family and hang out at home. They are exhausted and you are too.
So to all the families who have travelling spouses, embrace it and make it work. Don’t get overwhelmed and scared being on your own, you can do it, it’s all about being prepared and communicating!