Alright, mommas, I am going to get super real here and be blatantly honest about my marriage with a traveling husband. We all acknowledge that marriage is hard. Adding children to a marriage absolutely makes it more difficult. When you add a husband that is in and out of the house for days or weeks at a time you’re talking about an imbalance that develops in your relationship. That imbalance can not only affect you, your husband, but also your children. I became a stay at home mom in an effort to re-establish the balance in my home. So many other mommas I have talked with that have traveling husbands have the exact same experiences and challenges so I thought it was about time I put it out there in a blog.
My husband and I have been together for 15 years and married for 12. Year 1 of our relationship I was in Virginia and he was in Indiana. Year 2 and 3 didn’t get much closer with him being in Massachusets and me being in Northern California. We were the definition of a long-distance relationship. We actually got engaged between years 2 and 3. The reason we were so far apart geographically was because we were both in graduate school. So a month after us both finishing our degrees we got married and then moved to Southern California together. It was the first time we had shared the same space and the first time I began to learn what it was like when he was traveling for work.
At first, I really didn’t mind it. It gave me space to do what I wanted and not worry about his needs. This was an awesome gift as we were struggling through our first year of marriage and frankly getting to know each other on a person-to-person standpoint. You know as in actually being in the same room for a change.
It’s Kiddo Time
Then enter the children. Thankfully when I was 7 months pregnant we moved back home to Indiana. I had family close by and as the end of my pregnancy was difficult they were able to stay with me while my husband was traveling. When my oldest was little it was about getting rest and caring for myself. Who am I kidding it is still about that.
When my husband travels I am both mom and dad. I quickly get used to being the boss ALL THE TIME. To some degree, I love it because my choices are what goes and I find a lot of freedom in that. Plus, my children have no one else to go consult when they want something. Double bonus I don’t have to make a nice dinner every night. In a weird way, it’s like a mini-vacation. It is so simple, but also so hard. I don’t have any support if someone gets sick or something is forgotten. I am the therapist, encourager, chef, stylist, homework assistant, piano teacher, cleaner, dishwasher, driver, nurse, schedule manager, and sleep conductor.
My Marriage: The Real Challenge
The real challenge is when my husband comes back. Suddenly my title of Ultimate Boss is stripped away and I have to immediately relent my title as Mom and Dad. Heaven help us if he is gone two days then back a day then gone another two days. We become a family yo-yo. Not that this ever happens (major eye role). My husband and I get all of our signals mixed up because we have gotten out of the habit of parenting as a team. I get used to being the decision-maker and he tries to step in and make decisions without consulting me. I get offended that he automatically takes over. He wants his opinions to be heard more. I want him to respect the changes I have made while he was gone. It’s a two-way street. Just as much as I have to get used to him being back he has to do the same. The result is two parents who don’t feel heard and two kiddos completely confused.
You would think after 12 years of my husband traveling, 8 of them with kids, that we would have it down. But we don’t and no matter how much I try to prepare for it it doesn’t matter. The only solution I’ve heard of, and it’s genius, by the way, is to have a guest house for my husband to stay in while he re-acclimates to being back with the family. Now, I am far and away from being able to financially accomplish this, but a girl can dream. I wish I had a possible solution, but I just want to share our struggles for someone else that may be going through it.
P.S. according to rumor Bono stays in his guest house every time he returns from a tour. #lifegoals