When your spouse or significant other leaves the home for any amount of time, responsibilities shift and change and you are left to adapt. Whether this is a weekly occurrence, a monthly event, or something that only takes place on occasion, the change in dynamics can have implications on those left at home. Traveling for work not only affects the traveler, but also their family members.
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The Affects of Traveling for Work
Traveling for work has implications far and wide, though not at the purpose of anyone involved. Toddlers and preschoolers may experience these changes in the home and react with clinginess to the parent still in the house. Elementary aged children sometimes feel this absence in a way that leaves them restless at night and longing for the one they miss. Implications on the spouse left at home could impact work schedules, nightly activity routines, and mood.
Pre-Plan When Someone is Traveling for Work
When you know your significant other will be traveling for work, pre-plan as much as possible and in as many areas as you can. Pre-plan your meals, your grocery shopping, your calendar, and your activity coverage if cross scheduling exist with more than one child.
When it comes to menu planning, relying on a food service like Hello Fresh to provide you with the plan and the groceries could come in handy. The more that you can take care of before you are flying solo, the easier it will be to survive (and thrive) the days that you are on your own.
Schedule Nights Away
As the saying goes, happy wife is happy life. Whether you fill the role of mom or dad in your home, your happiness (and sanity) are both important to the well-being of your children. As parents, we often set the tone within our homes and it is important to remember the value in calming their chaos.
One thing that can greatly help you to feel restored, refreshed, and rejuvenated is to schedule nights away. Do with this what you will because that can be interpreted as a fun night out with the kids, or a night away with friends. Whatever it will take to recharge your soul while your significant other is away, be sure to plan and get your outings on the schedule.
Take Advantage of Technology
Gone are the days of postcards and archaic letter writing. Sure, there is value in both of those forms of correspondence. How lucky are we to live in a time when you can interact with someone miles away from you and feel like they are right there? Use technology to feel close to your loved ones. Night time stories can be read, songs can be sung, recitals can be watched, games can be played. There are so many options to engage and interact with a spouse or parent despite the distance that separates you.
Give Yourself Grace
This cannot be said enough when you are left with the charge of carrying two roles within your home. When you are accustomed to dual parenting and find yourself flying solo, cut yourself some slack. If you have to miss an evening activity, drop the ball on packing lunches, or forget to send a card, be gracious with yourself. If it isn’t something you’d think twice about if a friend told you their missteps, why be hard on yourself?
Expect the Unexpected
If you could collect a dollar for every time the unexpected took place, wouldn’t you be rich? Expecting the unexpected should be a motto at any home with kids, but especially if a spouse is out of town. Kids will get sick, plans will fall through, changes happen. This is most definitely the case when you’ve gone to great lengths to plan things out and have everything planned out to a T. It is the way the universe works. Show the world, and more importantly yourself, that you can roll with the punches and adapt as necessary.
Date Night Upon Their Return
Upon the return of your spouse, why not surprise them with a date night? If you have the funds or nearby family members, a quick call to arrange babysitting is all you need. If that isn’t your scene, simply setting aside time on the calendar to reconnect after the children are in bed will do the trick. When it comes to date night, you do you. If movie nights are a way to connect, grab a Redbox. If you’re a master in the kitchen, pour a glass of wine and get to baking. If snuggling on the couch is what you’ve been craving, snuggle in close! Whatever your mood, grab your significant other and tell them – or show them – how much you’ve been missing them.
No matter what you do to survive your reign as solo parent in the home, do your best to THRIVE. A positive mind can go a long way, so let your kids know that you’ve got this and let yourself see that you can rock this!
If you are a military spouse who faces a traveling significant other due to deployment, off-base training, be sure to check out our Daily Mom Military launching in July 2018!