We have four kids. And my husband travels for work. So when he tells me he has another work trip planned, all I hear is, “Honey, I get a four-night get-out-of-jail-free-card at bedtime this week.” Then, I mark a tally in my closet for the number of foot rubs he owes me when he returns.
And while I would never want his job, I admit that, at times, there is a lack of balance in our lives with raising our kids when he’s gone. Especially if it’s a week someone (or two or three) is sick, like last week when the sick person was me.
Now, don’t get me wrong, as a stay-at-home mom, I do not have the pressure of providing financially for our family. But I have the pressure to provide an emotionally healthy environment for my kiddos when he’s gone. And sometimes that can be harder than it seems when it’s just me with our children day after day.
Tips for Parenting While Your Partner Travels
I’m sharing my 6 favorite tips for raising babies with a traveling partner.
1. Plan the Night Before
One of the most stressful parts about having a partner who travels is that you end up functioning as a single parent when they are gone. This means you are responsible for getting everyone dressed and ready in the morning and out the door without any help. (P.S. Single parents deserve a special badge for their awesomeness because it is not for the faint of heart.) So, I have learned the importance of planning the night before for anything the next day when my hubby is gone. It helps eliminate the stress of feeling like I must juggle all my children’s needs simultaneously. And it helps me feel more organized, removing my sense of feeling overwhelmed.
2. Plan Convenience Meals
When the hubby is away, I take it easy on meals. Because the children do not care what we eat, I look at his trips away as an opportunity to grab easy take-out or cook something simple that the kids like. There is no sense in cooking a large dinner when there is only one adult home to enjoy it. Am I right? This is why I look at his trips away as a break from cooking for me. Cereal for dinner, everyone!
3. Meet Up With Friends
I think another aspect that is hard about a partner who travels is that you lose adult interaction. This is especially helpful when dealing with little children all day. If you are an introvert, you may enjoy your time alone. But even most introverts can appreciate an adult conversation every now and then. So, I have learned the importance of planning dinners or meet-ups with friends when my hubby is gone. I try to be intentional about spending time with adults during the day, so I feel recharged for my constant time with littles.
4. Ask for Help
If you’re in a position to ask someone to come over and help, I can’t stress this enough. If you have a friend or grandparent nearby willing to help, don’t be too proud to ask for help. My mom is amazing and will come and help at bedtime sometimes when my husband travels. That one hour of help can be amazing for keeping my sanity and energy when my husband is gone. If you’re a new mom, maybe it’s asking that person to come over during the day so you can catch up on sleep from a long night. Whatever it is, don’t feel guilty about utilizing someone willing to offer support. It can make a world of difference.
5. Hire a Sitter For the Evening
If your husband travels once in a blue moon, you may not feel a need to utilize this. But if your husband travels regularly, I think hiring a sitter occasionally can be SO helpful. You may use the sitter to help with the evening grind or to stay home after bedtime so you can grab a late dinner with friends. But for whatever reason you choose, it can be a refreshing backup when feeling worn down.
6. Give Yourself a Break
It’s hard to be alone, but there are some advantages too. Namely, you can utilize your evening time to do the things you prefer without answering to someone else. So watch a chick flick that you love from college. Or let the kids sleep in your bed as a fun privilege for nights that Dad is away. After all, if you have to experience the challenge of doing things on your own, you might also find the benefit in it. Am I right?!