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If your dp travels a lot for business...

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
My dh is expecting his business travel to increase quite a bit over the next year. We don't have family nearby, so he stresses out a lot over leaving us by ourselves. He travels internationally, so he's a long way away if anything happens.

Can anyone give me advice about ways to manage being alone with the kids while dh is traveling? Do you have different rules when dp is away? Do you have special help (sitters or family)? I feel like I handle things ok on my own, but we're always looking for ways to make things easier and less stressful. We do have a sitter who can help out, and sometimes relatives come to stay while dh is gone. I do have friends nearby who can help in an emergency, but sometimes I consider keeping a sitter "on call" at night in case someone needs to go to the emergency room in the middle of the night or in case the whole family is sick with the flu.

We're sort of considering ttc #3, but we're not sure if that's practical with this travel schedule (basically one 4-5 day international trip every month).

Any advice or ideas or btdt would be much appreciated!
post #2 of 29
My dh is gone for work 25-50% of the time. There are a few things I do to make myself sane. One of them is relaxing dinner time protocol. I feed my family easy things and if I am feeling stressed from too much young people and not enough adult conversation I turn on cartoons for dinner and read a magazine or book.
I often make afternoon/evening plans when dh is out of town, I really look forward to dh coming home at night and when he isn't in town I try to make the time from 4 til bedtime fly by for all of us.
We have family in town to call when I need help but there have been times where I've had to ask the mother across the street for on the fly help. Don't be afraid to ask, most people are willing to help!
post #3 of 29
My husband travels M-F and has been for the past 6-7 years.

Things that help keep me sane during the week is having 1-2 nights a week that I go to my parents for dinner. It means I don't have to cook, and DD can play with her grandparents for a bit instead of me.
post #4 of 29
We both travel some for our jobs...one thing I do when DH is gone is proactively make playdates. I have another friend who has similar lifestyle, and we'll often get together with our kids when one husband or another is out of town or even just working late. We let the kids play and make dinner together and help each other out.

It sounds terrible, but having DH go away is really not that big a stressor here. In some ways, it takes a lot of pressure off--I do relax on what I cook, and cleaning up, and tend to take it easy while he's gone and just coast for a bit!
post #5 of 29
Sorry, just feeling sorry for myself right now. DH leaves on Sunday for 2 weeks and not only is there no family in town and very few friends (none that can help) but we were only given 5 days notice. I have 10 lacrosse practices, 3 lacrosse games, one select lacrosse tryouts, a graduation party, a school concert, a school open house, an all school sleep over that has to have a parent attend (not going to happen), the last day of school stuff for all three and one is leaving for a 4 day camping trip. And work outside the home. And 30 meals to be made. dogs to be fed, dishwasher to unload, laundry to fold..............
post #6 of 29
My dh is gone about 2 weekends a month for Army stuff. One of the biggest things that takes pressure off of me is that we eat out/order out a lot. Yes, that includes some fast food. It is a big treat to go to McDonald's when Daddy is gone.

The house also doesn't get picked up quite as much. And, when the boys go to bed at night, I usually eat ice cream or some equally bad for me treat and watch a grown up movie (tonight I'm watching "New Moon" from the Twilight series ).
post #7 of 29
Dh works away from Monday to Thursday every week and has done so for 3 years. Honestly the only times it's hard is when I am ill. When that happens I will get through the mornings however I can and then get a babysitter for when the boys get home until they are sound asleep. We joined a babysitting agence just so I would be getting responsible adults and I can call with 30 minutes notice that I need someone. I have a few women who come regularly that my kids adore.

There have been times when I have had to call a neighbour for help (last time was when I woke up ill and needed the boys to be driven to school) and that was a none issue.

I keep meals easy and cook extra for the next day if possible. if I am really tired then we eat out or order pizza.

Strict bedtime makes life a lot better!
post #8 of 29
I put the kids into daycare/pre-school 1-3 days/wk for my sanity. ALso, is there a moms group in your area? It will help with activities to do and get you some adult conversation. And a good babysitter when you need to get away for an hour for a quiet coffee break!
post #9 of 29
My dh is military. Now when he is gone things are actually so much easier. There's so much less laundry to do! really I have found that things are much more simple when he is gone or at work past bedtime.

We do everything early. I fix dinner as soon as we get home from school pickup and we eat around 4. Then we get everything cleaned up and generally things are pretty quiet around here by 5:30 or 6. We get in bed at 7, generally we all pile into my bed but sometimes my older boys go to their rooms and read for a while first.

Time in the car is important for my sanity, sometimes. If I need a break from everything I load everybody up, turn on the DVD player and drive over to Starbucks, or Wendys if it's really bad and just drive around for a bit. I always feel refreshed when we get back home and sometimes it leads to a fun outing after I've had my coffee.

I don't have a sitter, but I have a neighbor next door and another friend close by that I can count on if I need to. I think as long as you have one friend who will drop everything if you really need her you're good. And that might not be your best friend, mine's not, but I know if I call her and say I need to take one of my kids to the ER she will be here in less than 20 minutes. And really, even if I didn't have her I know I would work things out, even if I had to drag all of my kids to the ER with me at 3am, if you have to you have to.
post #10 of 29
I find that the worst part of DH's trips is the few days before the trip. I stress about the same things you are, but once he's gone, we fall into a routine and do quite well. It's never as difficult as you imagine it will be.
post #11 of 29
DH hasn't been traveling as much lately as he used to but it is getting ready to pick up again. He was in Denver this week, next week he goes to AZ, then we turn around and go on vacation together, when we get home, he leaves right away for another trip. This will be our life again I guess.

I actually can't let things slide while he is gone, he gets home there is no additional time at home just because he is away. He gets home and goes straight back to regular work. The worst is when he travels on the weekends because then for 2 weeks we barely see him. When he doesn't travel, he averages 30- 1 hour with the kids a day, if that, many a day they do not see him at all.

I make things that we like to eat but DH doesn't, like curries. We bake cookies more often, just try to do special things. I used to do fast food or a quick dinner out often but now I am trying to keep that down due to cost. I put dinner in the crockpot early in the day so when things are crazy at night, I don't have to worry about feeding us. Bath and bedtime happens earlier when he is gone because it is a disaster with 3 co-sleeping kiddos.

I do have family nearby but my parents travel very frequently themselves, and only live in this house 4 days a week during ski season so often they are not around. My sister works at the hospital and has a horrid schedule so I can't ask her for anything as well. I've learned to ask friends, use sitters when need be. Last week I had counted on DH to watch the two little ones while I had a work meeting and then he left town with one day's notice, that was rough. So now I know I need yet another sitter in my cards.
post #12 of 29
dh commutes to work and is gone 7 out of 12 days. he started when our last baby was 3 months old and i had 3 "older" children.

it was tough. i had no help and i was responsible for everything. it is easier now that the kids are older. when he is gone i try and get a bit more housework done so when he is home we can spend time together. i have to let a lot of things to to maintain my sanity.
post #13 of 29
My dh lives 3 hours away and comes home Friday night to Sunday afternoon. My advice? Simplify.
-Dinner doesn't need to be fancy, grilled cheese and veggies with dip are just as good as roast beef, mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli. (Ok not really, but it's a perfectly acceptable substitute.)
-Have a scheduled pick up time, every day. Everyone helps clean up, the house gets cleaned and you're not trying to do it all alone.
-Plan time outside of the house, even if it's just a car ride. Loading everyone up and driving to McDonalds for ice cream has saved many a bad day!
-Get a sitter and use her. Even if it's just so you can go sit in the library for an hour. You can't, just can't, spend 24/7 with your kids every day.
-Do things with other people. Make the effort to meet with friends, ti makes life so much easier.
post #14 of 29
Originally Posted by cjam View Post
I find that the worst part of DH's trips is the few days before the trip. I stress about the same things you are, but once he's gone, we fall into a routine and do quite well. It's never as difficult as you imagine it will be.
This is so true! My DH travels at least once a month and it's hard. DS is 21 months and I also WOH full time. I try to prep meals ahead of time like the night before or have something on hand that I can just heat up for us. I find it hard cooking with a hungry toddler underfoot.
post #15 of 29
You can do it My husband is gone at least a week a month if not more. It can get crazy with the kid's schedules but I always try to do really simple things when I am alone.

Meals are simple as can be, dishes are put on at night and unloaded in the morning (I do this every day while my husband is away even if not full), laundry is washed at at night and then put in the dryer during the day, usually I fold and put away because it is just a small load and goes fast. Simple cleaning is done but nothing to much like washing floors or sweeping unless it is a horrible mess.

I stick with a schedule, dinner is early (often I cook it around 4pm or earlier), then we just chill for a while and do an early bedtime. I lay out school clothes and PJs for the next day before I go to bed.

Usually at the beginning of the week, I make a weeks worth of lunches and snacks for school so I don't have to worry about it every morning. Weekends are harder for me because we don't have the schedule of the school day but I try to plan something. I am 8 months pregnant now though so I am starting to have a hard time moving around so I just do the best I can.

Give yourself some slack...rest when your kids rest. read a book while they are playing quiet, make sure to take time for yourself.
post #16 of 29
You can do it, but I know it's tough. My DH travels 25-30% each month. Sometimes it can be two to three days at a time, other times it can be 4.
He was recently gone for 4 days right after I went back to work from being on maternity leave. So taking care of a 4yo and a 2 month old - getting them ready, dressed, fed and out the door in the morning and taking care of things in the evening was a challenge, but we definitely go through it. DH is more of the cook than I am - so I made sure what I made was simple and quick - even if I had to premake it the night before and it was something that could be warmed up. I made sure that the boys' clothes were laid out the night before so we weren't scrounging around for clothes in the morning as well as what I was going to be wear was done the same way. It made for easier mornings.
Luckily, DS#1 got up before DS#2 and I could get him fed and ready to go before DS#2 woke up. I made sure to get up extra early to get myself ready before ANYONE woke up.

He's going on a trip in two weeks to Scotland for 6 days. That will be a bit of test, but I'm sure we'll be fine. I have in-laws that live 6 miles away if something were to happen and I couldn't pick up the kids on time or if I needed a bit of a break, but I work all day, so I look forward to what little time I have in the evenings with my boys - chaotic or not.
post #17 of 29
My dh is gone for all but one weekend a month;though he may stop home if he drives through this way. If I were a WOHM it would be a lot harder,but as a SAHM I just do what I need to for the kids.I shop when they are in school.Try to have meds and foods on hand in case of any illness.

My mom lives an hour away so I never really try to put her out.Friends are an hour away too.If I am sick I still do what needs to be done,but I WOULD keep the kids home from school for a day or 2 if I could not drive them safely to school.I have never done that for illness,but did keep them home once when the roads were really bad.

I got used to dh not being home,but would certainly feel better if he was.I don't really like being home alone...day or night...but deal with it.

You will find a way to make it work.It won't be forever!
post #18 of 29
Dh is gone and traveling every month. We just finished a 7 month stint (he's military) and honestly it was very easy until he came home for a surprise visit and I got pregnant. I was so sick, that everything seemed to fall apart and I don't have much local help.

But what makes it easy to survive is keeping busy. I don't stop our lives when dh is gone. We maintain a strict routine, more so for my kids sakes as they are young. We do as many activities, get out of the house as often as possible. We were at the pool daily during the summer. Meals are simplified, i didn't do tons of cooking. Lived on lots of salads, chili and pizza's. The house was cleaned completely once a week and the dog was taken in for his grooming and ear cleaning. This way i wasn't over burdening myself.

And i will say. With dh gone, the routine is so much easier. With him home, he tends to throw it off by at least 30 mins to an hour. And i learned to look at the bright side. Food lasted longer, less mess, less laundry, the house stayed cleaner longer, less tantrums from my kids.
post #19 of 29
My husband is a musician and goes on tour.He's gone for about 2 or 3 weeks at a time.What helps me the most is reminding myself that there are a whole lot of single parents out there who aren't just waiting for their partner to come back.That helps my attitude quite a bit.That and sometimes letting my daughter eat dinner in her room while playing.Ahhh...silence.

Also if you're worried about emergencies,I would put together a list of all the numbers you might need.Like a plumber or someone to remove the 20 feet of tree that came down onto your porch while your husband was gone.Ok that's probably just me that needed that.

Another tip I have is making some sort of count down for the kids.Like a paper chain that you take apart each day.Or a bowl full of beads(one for each day he is gone).Each day the kids put one bead on a string and then they have a present for Daddy when he gets home.Or my daughter's favorite...A bowl with a chocolate kiss in it for each day he's gone.

There really is something sweet about the time that he is gone.I think my daughter and I have a stronger bound because of it.
post #20 of 29
My hubby is an airline pilot and until recently was often in Asia or India when traveling. It's tough at times, but it has never (knock on wood) been un-doable.

Things that make it easier...when I was expecting #2 and completely exhausted, we found an in-home day care for the oldest. She only goes twice a week for 4 hours, but it really helps - and she loves it! We have no family nearby, and it's great to have the help. Our day care person is great, and she'd help out at odd hours if I really had a problem. Also, I totally let the housework go for the most part until the day before he returns. Having led the traveling life myself, I know how awesome it is to come home to a clean house - so I save all my tidying energy for the last day. Typically, I try to make some sort of easily re-heatable casserole type dinner the day before he is to leave so that we have some simple leftovers for a day or two, and I try to plan a crock pot meal for at least one day while he is gone. If he is to be gone for more than a couple of days, I attempt to have most of the laundry conquered beforehand. While he is gone, making a point to get out of the house everyday - no matter how mundane the trip - helps my sanity and breaks up the day.

There are a few things hubby is really great about, too, before leaving town: he always fills my car up with gas, and makes sure we do a grocery store run the day before. And he is amazing in that no matter how jet-lagged and tired he is, he always jumps right in with the girls when he gets home and gives me a break and reconnects with the kids. We also hired a maid service twice a month and wow - what a difference. We have two kids under two and are remodeling the whole house as well, and they definitely take the edge off.

We also try to make one day a week purely a family fun day. No cleaning, no projects, no errands...a day just for fun, no matter what else is going on.

All in all, it's been fine for us - but it is also the norm for us. Perhaps it would have been a more difficult adjustment otherwise. The hardest times have been when I was pregnant and in the newborn phase, but we survived it happily. I have found myself making a few parenting compromises...there is a little more TV than I like, but I like to think I make up for it in having a lot of quality time alone with them, too, and the oldest already knows all about planes and can generally show you where papa is on the map. I think I am a better parent for it, really.
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