My husband, as a National Guard C-17 AND legacy airline pilot, is gone the vast majority of the time. It’s been that way our whole marriage, but since having our kids, it’s gotten a lot tougher on both of us. He hates that he’s missing out on the everyday moments like Matthew’s first t-ball practice and Mason’s first steps. I’m exhausted, stressed, frustrated, and generally feeling like I’m just not enough. Being a solo mom (my phrase for it since I’m definitely NOT a single mom) is tough. There are a few ways I combat that, though, so that I CAN be enough for both boys and still have a piece of me left at the end of the day. Knowing how to survive my husband traveling took time, but I feel like (most days) I have it down.
I’ve created a bunch of systems to survive my husband traveling that allow me to spend more time with Matthew and Mason. They don’t necessarily cut work out of my day, but they do make the work I have to do more efficient, which buys me time with them to play, teach, listen, and love. After all, I need some time to be the “fun mom” since he gets to come home and be the “fun dad,” right?!
How I Survive My Husband Traveling for Work
- On the first night he’s gone, we do breakfast for dinner. Daddy hates it, boys love it, and it’s EASY. I’ll mix it up between whatever breakfast foods I already have (eggs, bacon, sausage, crescent rolls, pancakes, etc). If brinner isn’t your thing, do take out night, make-your-own-pizza night, or whatever suits your family best. The key is to keep it easy and making it a tradition makes it even more fun! Plus, knowing what you’re having for dinner the first night he’s gone means no figuring it out– it’s an automatic, stress-free supper.
- Speaking of easy meal planning, keep a list of your favorite EASY recipes– the ones you can easily pull staples out of your fridge or pantry to make. If you always have the staples, you likely have the recipe memorized and can just throw it together after t-ball practice or band rehearsal. Some of my favorite go-to’s are lettuce wraps, crockpot chicken taco soup, or Instant Pot zuppa toscana. Having my go-to meals also makes meal planning easier. I’ll mix them up with some new or more complicated recipes throughout the week so we aren’t always eating the same thing, but I do give myself a break on cooking, too.
- I deal with all the fruit and veggies the night I go grocery shopping. They all get cut up into snack-size pieces and put into Tupperware containers in the fridge (so it only takes ten seconds to cut them up smaller to cook with, but I can easily pull out several colors/types of food for meals and throw them on plates, put them in lunch boxes, or for snacks). It takes so much less time to cut it ALL up at the same time, especially if I wait until they’re in bed, and makes the screaming for food stop faster the rest of the week. By prepping my fruit and veggies, we all eat healthier throughout the week which keeps everyone in a better mood.
- Filling our time between waking up and nap or bedtime is definitely a challenge with kids who are home all day long. I check the dollar bin at Target for new, easy, CHEAP activities– new play doh, coloring books, random activities– and keep them in the closet for a rainy (literally or figuratively) day. I keep a closet of the most-used supplies for easy kid crafts from Pinterest to let us easily do something creative or keep them busy while I’m trying to clean, do dishes, or get dinner going.
- Get OUTSIDE! There’s lots of park time for us to survive my husband traveling on the job. Getting outside makes us all less cranky, even if we need jackets to do it. Chalk in the driveway or t-ball out back is just as good if you’re not feeling up to taking them out someplace. If it’s a pretty day or night out, have lunch, snacks, or supper on the back patio or at the park. It’s an easy cleanup (let nature do it for you!) and the sunshine is good for everyone!
Do you have an awesome tip for handling life and kids when your other half is gone? Leave it in the comments and come commiserate with me on Facebook! While you’re here, check out my post about why I’m NOT a single mom– just a solo one!