Just a few days after our first wedding anniversary, my husband announced he was leaving his job. This wasn’t really a surprise, I knew he was miserable. But the real surprise? He was going to become and over the road truck driver. (He’d mentioned this before also, but I thought it was like the rest of his crazy ideas – something that would never come to fruition.) That was 9 1/2 years ago and he’s still driving his truck. He’s gone four or five weeks at a time, and home for 4 days before leaving again. Aside from the first two years of her life, when we went along with him, Scribber has never known any different.
But one of the biggest struggles we’ve had is how to include The Trucker into our daily life. Being on the road 300+ days per year, with limited internet access doesn’t exactly make family life easy. He misses hockey games, musical performances, the church Christmas play and more often than not? My birthday and or anniversary. (That way he can make it home for our daughters birthday, which is far more important!)
So I’ve decided to share my five favorite ways to include my husband into our daily life while he’s on the road! (Although I feel the need to throw in the disclaimer that while my husband has an iPhone, we have a very small data plan – and he RARELY has internet access. So that limits us more than it does a lot of people! He also doesn’t use Facebook, so I can’t really share my daily life with him that way either!)
Edited to add: In lurking on Pinterest (after writing this post) I found this awesome post from Jolene Engle on a similar topic, but with a Christian spin! Such fantastic advice on How to Stay Connected with your Spouse when you’re apart!
5 Ways to include your husband (in daily life) while he travels
1. Utilize the Cozi Family Calendar : I’m not as good at this one as I should be, but I adore Cozi! I have our standard weekly schedule in the app, shared directly to my husbands iPhone. He knows exactly when we’re at Homeschool Co-Op, Hockey Practice or when I’m working at Church. (He also knows when we’re at the neighbors watching our weekly tv shows, and when big events like doctors and dental appointments are!)
I *should* use the journal/photo portions more often as a way of sharing those things directly with him. But for now, simply having access to the family calendar is a huge plus for him! He knows I don’t answer my phone on Thursdays from 6-8pm because I’m at church, or Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30 because I’m babysitting. But most importantly, he knows what to ask our daughter about during their nightly phone calls. He knows if she’s had practice, or seen her friends.
2. Hide reminders that you love him : While he’s at home, I like to send him on an errand, then sneak into his bag and grab his notebook. (He uses this notebook to write down trip information, phone numbers, etc that goes with each load that he has.) I then flip through and write random notes on pages. Little things like “Thanks for all you do!” or “We love you and miss you!” He’s said several times that this is something that really helps him out when he’s still got several weeks to go before he’s home! He knows that we’re thinking about him, and it’s just a fun reminder from home!
You could also stick short little notes inside his pockets, folded in his toiletry bag, or just stuck in between clothing in his suitcase! No matter how you sneak these fun little reminders in? He’ll know you’re thinking about him and appreciate that!
3. Artkive App : I have a confession to make – I do not keep my daughter’s artwork. I have a tiny house with limited storage. And my kiddo will make 10 different art projects in any given day. There is no way to keep it all! So I snap a picture with my Artkive App and it’s saved for the future, so I can print out a book – or just email it to Grandma and Grandpa!
But the best thing about this app? I send weekly updates to Dad. He gets to see her art projects, and I usually try to sneak in a letter from her to him! (Or at least a picture that she’s made specifically for him!) This way he feels like he gets to be part of her day to day art projects, without having to come home to a giant box of art every month.
4. Set (surprise) Reminders : Much like my little notes in his notebook, I love to sneak his phone and schedule reminders to pop up throughout the month! I pick random dates and times, all different times of the day! And just type out a quick little message to him! Sometimes they’re as simple as “I Love You” and others I’ll type out an entire poem or quote. Recently I also gave him a list of books I thought he’d enjoy, with links to the library website.
5. Make a complaint free time : I’m pretty lucky in that I get to talk to my husband throughout the day. He knows our schedule, thanks to Cozi, and so he’ll call on his lunch break, or when he’s stopped for a bit. And given the nature of our marriage, a lot of my venting and complaining is done over the phone. But I make sure that at least one of our phone calls each day is free of complaints (at least from my end!)
I know he is sacrificing a lot to be away from us so much, so that I can stay home and homeschool Scribber. So I try hard to give him at least one phone call where I listen to him, or have fun, light conversation. It’s hard to remember that he’s just as exhausted as I am, that he’s working just as hard if not harder, and that he has a set of problems that he probably doesn’t want to have to deal with mine as well!
Does your spouse travel for work? What are some of the ways you help keep them involved in daily life while they’re gone?