Friday, January 17, 2014

Traveling husband with a baby

Travel is a requirement for my husband's job and as much as I would love him home every single night with our family, it's his job and it is what it is. He usually travels 1 night a week, occasionally 2 but this week he was gone all week for sales kickoff at his company's headquarters. This was the longest he's been away from Ford and I could tell before the trip and during that he really missed our little guy. Thank God for Facetime, right?! Anyway, I wanted to share my thoughts and some tips on manning the household and caring for your babes while your husband is traveling.

Jon stopped traveling when I was 36 weeks pregnant because we all assumed I would pop at any moment.. yeah that never happened! He took a month off from travel after Ford was born thanks to the help of coworkers stepping in and customers taking web meetings rather than face to face. Those first few weeks are so emotionally and physically draining that I think I would have gone crazy if he'd left me alone. When the time came for Jon to get back on the road, I assumed all hell would break loose when I was alone with Ford. And you know what? It didn't! We survived! I remember so vividly feeling like I'd conquered the world spending my first night alone with my brand new baby I was still getting to know. I can do this! (side note, I exclusively breastfeed Ford so after the first few weeks of adjusting, Jon no longer got up in the middle of the night since I was the sole food provider. So nights alone aren't that bad). 

I tend to keep my same routine when Jon is gone for 2 days. I may have a home day to get stuff done, standing play dates, bible study, etc. but this past week when he was gone, I knew I needed to plan ahead to preserve my sanity. Ford is such a fun baby. He's a lot easier than he used to be, napping regularly, and incredibly easy to make laugh and keep happy. But child rearing for 100+ hours straight on your own is a little tiring. Not a little, a lot. Pretty much every night this week I put Ford down at 7:30p, played with Ernie and straightened up the house and was in bed fast asleep by 9p. A husband is an extra set of hands that sure does come in handy!

Last week, knowing Jon would be gone, I sat down with my calendar and started to make a game plan. When I'm alone for a few days I try to get at least 1-2 things on our schedule to keep me energized and encouraged. This week Ford and I visited our 2 day old friend Mae in the hospital, had a play date with a 7 week old and 4 month old, played with Aunt Tomi, lunch with buddy Max, hosted new friends for breakfast, took walks with neighbors, braved the mall, and went to Target (twice). I made sure that we could stick to Ford's nap schedule but get out and about, catch up with friends, and keep our sanity ha! My sister came over Tuesday night and just that extra set of hands to help with bath or entertain Ford while I take a shower makes all the difference!

Because my husband has to travel and most likely always will, I really don't mind it and am used to it. I can see women whose husbands don't travel having a hard time being alone but like I said above, it is our situation and we make it work! On nights when Jon is home we strive to be intentional with each other and spend time together once Ford goes down so being alone gives me time for me. Again... not that I don't love spending time with my husband because I am crazy and never get sick of him, but those nights I am alone and the baby is down, I can indulge in TV, dive into a good book, or proudly be conked out by 9pm. I have no one to worry about but me.

So... no that I've rambled, here are some tips I have for surviving at home when your hubby is gone.

  • Plan activities- look at your schedule, decide how much you have time/energy for, and start calling friends. Even if it is just a quick park date with a neighbor, you will have adult conversation and if your kids are older, they can run off energy
  • Plan food ahead of time- make a big meal or 2 ahead of time that way you aren't scrounging for ideas while trying to bath babies, read to toddlers, and feed the dog all by yourself. 
  • Treat yourself- find a new show on Netflix (Scandal!!!), pour a glass of wine, or read celebrity gossip magazines. You deserve it. Laundry, vacuuming, and dishes can wait. 
  • Tell someone- make sure to tell a few neighbors or close friends that you are gonna be a single mom for the week. It's nice to be invited over or checked on throughout the week and know someone is thinking of you. 
  • Remember it is temporary- I don't know how you single parents do it but I want to give you a giant hug. You rock. When we have hard days I remind myself that everything is a phase and tomorrow will be totally different. And when we have hard days while Jon is gone, I feel peace when I remember he is coming back. I love the days Jon comes home, even if he was just gone for a night because all he wants to do is play with Ford and I can exhale for a moment. 
It's really not that bad. I feel blessed to be able to stay home with Ford and a traveling husband is a part of that package. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Do any of you ladies have traveling husbands? Any tips or tricks to share?
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21 comments:

Jessica Lynn said...

Those are all great tips. As a military wife, we're gearing up for a deployment in the near future, so my daughter and I will be on my own (without family and in a new town where I have yet to make friends) for several months.

I'd also include "ask for help." Some times you just need an extra set of hands or a break. A lot of people see asking for help as a weakness, but I think it's one of the strongest things you can do.

Lindsay @ Pursuit of Pink said...

This is a great post! My husband has to travel occasionally for his work and I remember the first time he told me he would be away for the night, I was terrified! But just like you said, its temporary and he was back before I knew it. Planning ahead is so key! Also like you, I do sometimes look forward to having an evening to myself because I can get stuff done after Kendall goes to bed without feeling like I'm neglecting Nick. And Scandal rocks!

Carly said...

Love this! My husband will actually be gone for a month in May / June…..so I gotta get prepared!!!

Carly
www.lipglossandcrayons.com

Samantha Cartwright said...

Had fun at lunch this week with you and Ford while our hubbies were away.. Cant wait to see Max and Ford squawk at eachother more as they get older! Totally feel ya on the guilty pleasure TV.. Lane usually cringes when I watch Downton Abbey :) ha.

Carolyn said...

These are all great tips!!

Claire Beeks said...

These are all fantastic ideas, Ruthie! Cole doesn't travel weekly but when he does it's usually an extended time or two trips back to back for work. He's got one coming up in February and I'll likely be alone for 7-8 days. I am hopeful that I'll find plenty to do...of course planning the new house and baby will keep me busy enough! Love you!!

Jane {In the Pink and Green} said...

This is great Ruthie, thanks for sharing! Cam travels a few times a month for work and I still hate it...I was actually planning on writing a similar post soon because I know a lot of other people are in the same boat! :)

Beth said...

I was a single parent from the time my daughters were 3 and 1 years of age. I didn't have time to think about how I was doing it - I just did it. I do remember being exhausted for about 21 years.

Raising Rilyn said...

I didn't have a husband or any family in state for over a year when I had Rilyn. I don't think any amount of planning can prepare you for single parenting. Mothers have amazing strength when it comes to taking care of their babes. Lots of prayer got me through it!

Kristin said...

Jason doesn't have to travel for work but when he travels for fun I always get a little anxious. But once I settle in, I kind of like it. It is nice to have that "house to myself" time, but I've learned staying busy helps a ton too! Thanks for the tips. :)

Sarah said...

these are fabulous tips! isaiah travels a little bit, about 4 times a year or every 3 months maybe? but every time its never the easiest or most fun! your advice is perfect to help the days go by!

jessi bridges said...

I love your tips! Ben used to travel during the week when Isaac was a baby. And we had just moved to Texas. I knew no one. It was rough. But we got into a routine and got through it. It was during that time that I started reading to Isaac every night before bed. I kept thinking "this is silly, he's SO young still" but I'm glad I did it because it started a routine that continued on. And he has an obsession with books that I am so thankful for!

Dana said...

Your tips are spot on! My hubby travels to China and Vietnam 4-6 times per year for 10-17 days at a time and has since our son was an infant. It used to terrify me that I'd get sick and be unable to care for our boy when hubby traveled. It never happened, but that's why it is so important that you let friends know you'll be on your own. It does get easier as the kids get older and can fend for themselves if Mom is incapacitated! But it's still difficult...my hubby just came home from an 11-day trip and this week was rough on the home front - issues at school, doggie had surgery, polar vortexes, etc.! I just try to remind myself that at least my spouse isn't a soldier...people aren't shooting at him...and count the days! And planning little fun outings never hurts, either.

Heather said...

I always try to get out of the house when it's me and the kiddo. We take a lot of walks to the park.

Kristen said...

My husband is an airline captain so he is away most of the time - usually away for 4 days then home for 2 or 3. It is so hard now that we have a 10 month old but I just rely on God to get me through each day. Not that it's horrible - I am having the time of my life with my daughter! But it is lonely and hard sometimes. Christ is my company :)

Rachel said...

I think these are all great but I would be extra careful on who you tell that you're home alone. You just never know these days. Family and super trustworthy neighbors or friends would be the best bet.

Rachel said...

I think these are all great but I would be extra careful on who you tell that you're home alone. You just never know these days. Family and super trustworthy neighbors or friends would be the best bet.

karissa schmerber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
karissa s said...

I agree with all your tips! I'm an Air Force wife so deployments and random trips happen a lot. I definitely try to find something to look forward to each day and talk to family on the phone/FaceTime since we are far away from everyone. You learn that you are stronger than you thought. I hate being apart from my husband but I am so proud of him. Also my little man helps keep me plenty busy:) Oh& Ford is so adorable ..I love all the photos you post on Instagram:)

Briana Runde said...

Thanks for all these tips! We just moved across the U.S., away from all family a year and a half ago and to add to that transition, my husband now travels and is gone M-F every week. We added a third baby to the family so it's been an adjustment to say the least. ;) But you are right, you get in a routine and somehow things get done and we are actually fine. Loved reading this post and getting a couple new ideas!

Tausha said...

I've got an amazing husband, but because he is in Dental School, I'm practically a single mom! Chad leaves around 630am Monday through Friday (so about half an hour before Presley and I wake up for the day) and he gets home around 6pm. We have dinner as a family & do our nightly family walk, bath time & then get Presley to bed. Immediately after that he has to study & needs alone time from 830-midnight. I get 1 night a week 'date night' were we cuddle on the couch & watch a few tv episodes.

I used to get excited for the weekends, but those are extra study days so we don't get him those days either. It is HARD, but I remind myself it is just a phase, and in a few years he will have a flexible schedule & hopefully a comfortable lifestyle. I hope.

Props to you Ruthie. You guys are rocking it. SOOO stinking happy for your family!

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