Ruby feels like a single mom. Her husband is home only on weekends as he travels for work, and has been doing so for five years now. Amy's husband starting traveling for work about 15 to 18 days of each month shortly after their now 3 1/2-year-old daughter was born. Like many moms in this situation, these Circle of Moms members say the impact is huge. “Get ready to do some crying," says Heather, as being both "the mommy and the daddy" is hard and emotionally isolating work.
“Some weeks I just go on auto pilot and try not to think about him being gone and keep busy," Ruby shares. But some weeks it really hits me. Shouldn’t it get easier?”
The compromises and adjustments made by moms whose spouses travel a lot can take their toll, but instead of sitting around feeling lonely and lost, many Circle of Moms members in this situation, whether because their partners are in sales, the military, or some other travel-intensive field, have developed smart ways of managing their households and families solo. Here, they share their most successful strategies.
1. Own Your Parental Authority
Testing, testing, testing is what the kids will try to do to see how much they can get away while dad is gone, says Laurie C. “The first four days Dad is gone the boys all test me and I expect it and try to mentally and emotionally prepare myself for the onslaught,” she says. “They will whine, talk back, fuss, and try to get me to allow them to do things they don't normally get to do. Dad is gone, so they are trying to see if I'm going to ease up on discipline and training. I find that if I'm strong and get through the first four days without giving in, then they settle down and obey for the most part."
2. Create and Stick to a Routine
Lisa P. swears by maintaining a strict routine for herself and her kids when her husbands are away. “Have a routine that is simple, but might also include something fun like a pizza or movie night with the kids," she says.
3. Stay Connected to Your Spouse
Many members say that connecting frequently with a spouse who is away eases the emotional toll for both them and their kids. Methods range from good old fashioned journaling to up-to-the-minute video chatting.
Kara G. and her husband keep journals about their kids and experiences during each separation and swap them before the next trip. "It was a great way for him to stay connected with us at home while on the road and I'm sure will be a treasured item when she gets older.”
Audra W.'s husband calls every morning and every night to talk to her and her daughter, with briefer calls and text messages in between.
When Amy's daughter was a baby she recorded her reading books with her husband and then played the recordings back "when she was missing daddy and before bedtime." More recently, they bought a Webcam and she now has virtual chats with her dad.
4. Find Support
Some moms have family members and friends to help out, and others pay for professional help. A member named Janet enlists her kids to help her around the house. “As soon as the kids walk in from school they have a snack. I sit down with a list and we talk about what needs to be done to be ready for tomorrow. Then we get to work. We make lunches, lay out clothes for the next day, work on homework, get school paperwork/backpacks ready and [leave them] by the door."
5. Carve Out "Me Time"
Don't sit around being sad that your husband is away, say moms who've been tempted to do exactly that. Instead, make plans to meet with friends or do something that soothes your soul. "To keep my sanity, I put the boys to bed by 7:30 every night with a movie on even if they don’t fall asleep for another hour or so, at least they [are] quiet,” says Jessica P. “I sit in a clean, dark house with the candles going, a glass of wine and my lap top."
6. Focus on the Positive
Finally, be reassured that it's normal to feel worn out by a partner's frequent or prolonged absences, say Heather H. and Kristin M.
"It’s the emotional stuff that is so hard, but try to stay on top of that stressor," says Heather, as you can easily slip into a downward spiral. “Try to remember that you are a great mother and wife and are doing the best you can with your situation. You can do it. Believe in yourself," Kristin coaches.
Kristina P., whose husband is in the air force, agrees: “It is definitely good to see the positive in this type of situation. I am sad when he goes, but at the same time, some time apart is always good and he does make extra money being on the road....in the end it is worth it."
How do you cope when your hubby is away?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.