Surviving Life with a Husband Who Travels

Surviving Life with a Husband Who Travels | Houston Moms Blog

Today I walked my kids to school with my house shoes on, and while we are being honest, I may have still had on my nightgown {along with yoga pants and a cardigan}. This isn’t too different from my typical crosswalk attire of an oversized t-shirt, yoga pants, and disheveled hair. When my friends see me they know that I work from home and I have no plans of going anywhere else but to school and home.  But the house shoes signal that my husband is out of town, again, and I barely woke up in time to get my girls to school. The house shoes mean that someone argued with me about getting dressed or eating breakfast, and I am over my husband’s “extensive travel”.

“Extensive travel”:: that is what the job description said when he applied for this new job, and we are quickly learning that that phrase is defined as being out of town almost four weeks each month.  This isn’t the first job my husband has taken where travel is necessary. He has traveled off and on for the last eight years, and I typically can handle being on my own. Being a single mother for many years before our marriage prepared me for this life.

There were times when I did single parenting well, and times when my oldest daughter told her second-grade class, “My mom can drink an entire bottle of wine in one night” {and it wasn’t a small bottle}. I have gotten used to married life, used to having a partner here to tag in the evenings when my energy is shot and my patience is gone, but now I have a weekend husband.

I will say, I am not always a hot mess every morning, and I don’t always feel this down about my situation. Just like any good planner, I have a list of things that I use to keep myself from going insane while Matt is away.

Meal Planning

I make sure that I meal plan for each week that my husband is out of town. These plans do not include any experimental meals. I stick to the tried and true things that are easy to make during our busy weeknights, or things I can even make ahead of time. I focus more on what my girls will eat without a fight than uber-healthy meals {don’t worry they still get vegetables}. I utilize the convenience of curbside grocery pickup, and want to hug the inventor of this amazing service that keeps me away from the interior of my grocery store.

No Procrastination

I learned during my single parent days to not leave for tomorrow morning what I could do tonight. Each night, I pack school lunches and sit out clothes for the next day. I tend to not sleep when my husband is gone and many times wake up with a pretty strong tension headache. Spending an extra five minutes each night to locate my youngest daughter’s tennis shoes really saves me {and her} from a stressful morning.  

Stick to the Schedule

I try to maintain our normal bedtimes {at least for the kids} and meal schedules. Oh, I’ve been tempted to say, “Yes, you can watch a movie and sleep in the playroom just stop fighting with your sister”, but I’ve learned that never ends well. Schedules help to make sure everyone gets a bath while dad’s out of town and the dog gets fed on a regular basis.

Ask For Help

This has to be the hardest for me. I lived away from all my family members while I was a single mother and I learned how to deal without help. Now that my in-laws are five minutes away I should ask for help more, but it’s still a struggle. My mother-in-law is a dream and she has even folded three baskets of clean clothes because that is the only help I could think I needed during one of Matt’s trips.  I fire out an S.O.S. many times when work has me all kinds of stressed and the girls just need a break from their mean mother.

Saying No

I don’t say no to every invite or opportunity to volunteer, but I do say no more often while Matt is gone. These week alone are not the time for me to become PTO volunteer of the century. I watch my calendar closely and I would rather say no now than be completely overwhelmed because I said yes to everything. Just getting the girls to their dance class might be all I can handle some weeks.

Put a Lid on Resentment

You can believe I fight resentment often. The fact is my husband typically spends his evenings in a quiet hotel room while I am at home juggling the schedule of three kids. He’s chilling out playing video games on his computer while I am saying “No, you cannot have a candy bar before bed” for the twentieth time.  While he is dining out at swanky steakhouses I am creatively meal planning in order to stay in our household budget. I have to remind myself that neither of us loves that he travels {though I do love getting the bed to myself}, but right now this is our life and we just have to deal. Matt makes sure to be present for me and the girls during his weekends home. He even spends Saturday morning doing mundane chores like vacuuming the stairs. He is trying as hard as he can and I do my best to remind myself of that fact, but sometimes I feel like it’s just not fair.

Let Go of Perfection

Oh how I would love to have all my laundry folded and every library book returned on time, but I am just not living in that season of my life right now. I have to remind myself that I deserve grace, too. I will more than likely miss trash day and the girls will have mismatched socks, but it’s okay because they are alive, happy and fed.

There are weeks when I am on my game in all of these areas and then there are weeks when you’ll catch me in my house shoes and nightgown on the crosswalk.  Don’t judge me, just be grateful that I had the energy to put on a bra.

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