I Hate When My Husband Travels For Work

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One of my least favorite parts of motherhood is parenting on my own. (I should preface this article by saying I don’t know how single parents and military families do it!) When my husband travels for work, even if it’s only a matter of days, life becomes chaotic. My confidence wanes, and I feel anything but independent. I jump into survival mode and spend the entire week anticipating the return of my other half.

Our family unit is used to my husband working from home. The flexibility of his schedule is something I don’t take for granted, as it allows us to split parenting responsibilities right down the middle. We make a good team and do an excellent job of dividing and conquering. When he’s gone, our routine gets disrupted. Getting the kids to and from school, prepping dinner, running everyone to extracurricular activities. It all falls on me. I get lonely when my husband travels, but it’s the weight of extra responsibility that causes the real anxiety. 

Over the years, I’ve heeded other’s advice on how to make these stints easier. Before my husband leaves town, I ensure the pantry is full, the laundry is done, and the week’s homework is laid out and ready to go. Household chores and overall nutrition get put on the back burner. (Costco chicken nuggets and french fries for the second night in a row? Sounds good to me!) But even with lower expectations, there are moments when I still feel like a failure. 

I’m not a “fun mom” when my husband travels. My level of engagement takes a hit as I’m preoccupied with what comes next on the must-do list. My mind, especially at night, drifts to worst-case scenarios and what-ifs. Stress doesn’t bring out my best self, and I feel guilty for not being more present with my children. 

There are also times when I have to swallow my pride and call in reinforcements. Sickness, work engagements, and conflicting sports schedules mean I can’t always do it alone. We’re blessed to have grandparents nearby, and though I know they don’t mind, I hate having to ask for help. It feels like waving the white flag and admitting defeat. 

It’s not that I’m an incapable mother or solely dependent on someone else, but being a mom feels extra heavy when all of the burden falls on my shoulders. I wish I felt stronger or more resilient in these moments, but the truth just isn’t that glamorous. Life sure is easier and more complete when my husband is around.

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