How to Raise Kids with a Husband Who’s Always on the Move

5 Tips About Raising Kids When Their Father is Mostly Away

- | 28 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Family & Parenting

How to Raise Kids with a Husband Who's Always on the Move

Heartbreaking, isn’t it?

Your husband wants to be a good father who spends time with the kids. But his work just keeps him away from home a lot.

You don’t really blame him. You know he does it to provide for your family. But you can’t help but feel like a single mom sometimes, despite being happily married.

You may not have exactly the same struggles a single mom might have, especially not financially, but you do have all the responsibilities for the kids, for yourself, and for your household.

The kids miss their dad and ask when he’s coming back.

They tear up and depend on you to make them feel better.

And you have to be strong and independent.

I know how you feel.

That’s my situation.

My husband has his own business and is constantly on the move.

As hard as it is sometimes, our situation has its reasons. We decided together that this is the best way for us right now. And we are doing fine. No complaints.

The kids have their moments when they get upset because they miss their dad. But they assure me that they’ve gotten used to the situation and that they know that their dad is always coming back.

The days when we are alone are not just waiting times. The kids and I have decided to live each day happily, filled and rich with precious life. The kids have many friends and a lot going on in their lives.

I have my own interests and keep my independence. I have my work, my book club, my choir and fantastic friends. However, to make it all work and have everyone stay sane, some tips and tricks help.

5 Tips About Raising Kids When Their Father is Mostly Away

Raising kids is not easy, and with the husband on the move mostly, it should be a cumbersome task. Well, it isn’t so with me. I’m sharing my tips about how to raise kids when your husband is always on the move, hoping that it helps you.

1. Set a Routine That Keeps the Kids Feeling Secure

When my husband goes away, our routine at home doesn’t change.

We’ve decided on a routine together and stick to it at all times. It gives the kids security and makes not only their lives much easier but mine as well.

We have a fixed time we get up, have a morning routine, a fixed time to do homework, and we always have lunch and dinner at similar times.

The kids go to bed at (almost) the same time on school days. Actually, I need the fixed bedtime to stay sane. I need some time for myself after the kids go to bed to calm down and fill up my energy reservoirs.

On weekends, however, our routine is to have no routine. That works as well.

Sometimes our routine changes. The kids suddenly have more homework, start a new after-school activity, decide on foods they don’t want to eat anymore, find a new friend in the neighborhood they play with before dinner, and so on.

I usually let my husband know about that so that he is prepared when he comes back. He also can’t come back and change what I decided if he really wants me to be taken seriously and be respected by our kids.

2. Stay Happy by Staying in Touch

It is important to stay in touch with dad.

Skype is the best option for us since we can see each other. The kids love to show their homework, new things, new clothes or painted pictures on Skype.

It happens quite often that dad gets a show or listens to a private piano or guitar concert on Skype. Often he gets a full dose of a sibling fight as well (me first; I want to show this to dad; don’t push me).

With WhatsApp, the kids stay connected with their daddy without my being involved. And I stay connected with my husband without the kids being involved.

And sometimes, if my husband travels to countries with a limited Internet connection, a phone call or little-recorded messages have to do.

My husband brings us gifts every time he travels. The kids truly love to show off clothes and gifts from all over the world, especially exotic locations.

I love interesting and unique decorative pieces in the house and take advantage of my husband’s constant exposure to duty-free products. (Yay! Perfume!)

3. Accept Help to Protect Your Sanity

The whole situation would not work for me without accepting help from friends and family members.

Believe me; I’m not good at asking for help and have the tendency to want to prove to the world that I can do it all by myself. But this is foolish. Really! Asking for and accepting help was one of the best lessons I’ve ever learned in my life.

Friends and neighbors are usually there to take care of the kids or get some small extra items from the grocery store for me. I also have great girlfriends who always have time for a coffee and lending me an open ear when I’m a little overwhelmed or need some advice in dealing with behavioral issues.

If you are a working mom like me, time is more precious than money. If you can afford it, you should consider having someone regularly help in the house with cleaning, ironing or whatever eases your life.

The extra time this gives you is better spent having some crazy fun time with the kids or just being a less stressed and more relaxed mom in general.

4. Prepare for Disaster

One of the worst experiences for me was having my car break down with a steaming engine, scared kids in the back and my husband far away. My first thought was to call him and ask what to do. But for what? I would have only stressed out my husband, making him feel helpless, guilty and worried.

It’s good to have a plan for a situation like that. I now have the number of a mechanic ready, have a subscription to an automotive club and have discussed with some friends that I might call them for help. That’s what I did eventually when my car broke down. I called a friend who came and helped right away.

It is also good to have the right contacts ready for technical issues in the house, with the phone, the Internet or the TV. It is also absolutely crucial to have all paperwork organized, and have a power of attorney for everything important.

It should be a given, but I want to mention that trust is most important and without trust, nothing would work.

5. Don’t Miss the Silver Linings

You can put a silver lining on your partner not always being around by doing things you normally wouldn’t do when he’s there.

For example, my husband hates going to the beach (he gets bored easily), so when he’s abroad, the kids and I take the opportunity to pack up our beach towels and have a nice relaxing day.

When my husband’s not home, we also have frequent movie nights which we enjoy tucked away in our big bed. Part of the fun is real debates with arguments about which movie to watch.

We also love to sit and eat together at the dining table while inventing jokes or crazy stories we can laugh and get silly about.

Interestingly, when dad’s away, I (like many moms) enjoy simple foods and simple cooking. For example, we enjoy chicken nuggets, order food from outside, and prepare some meatless dishes my husband doesn’t consider a full meal.

An Action Plan can help your family to stay bonded for all times

Can you identify with feeling like a single mom, at least from time to time?

Or are you a father who is away a lot and worries that he might detach himself from the family?

Here are some quick thoughts for today to help you put your knowledge into action now! The aim of these thoughts is to simply help you figure out where you are, and what you can change to make your kids happy every single day.

  1. Are you in a situation where your husband is on the move a lot, comes home late or is away for longer times again and again?
  2. Do you feel sorry for yourself because of the situation you are in? Please don’t. There are ways to cope with it, and the benefit is that it will strengthen you as an independent person.
  3. Are you the dad who is on the move a lot? Do you worry that this might hurt your family life?

If you have answered yes to any of the questions above, then decide today that every day is wonderful and rich with precious life. And then go on to implement the ‘Action Plan’ below into your life.

1. Set a routine

Think of a routine that might work for you and your family. Now, discuss it as a couple and explain the routine to your kids.

Then start implementing this routine in small achievable steps. Don’t expect too that you can make lots of changes at the same time.

Be patient and change one step at a time. Most important is that you stick to it. Consider starting with a fixed bedtime to have some time for yourself.

2. Stay in touch

Create a time schedule for when to Skype as a family. Check the time zones everyone is in and find a time that is convenient for everyone.

Set up a WhatsApp group for the entire family so you can share small and funny happenings. If you have trouble with constant Internet connection create little videos and messages you can send, and dad can receive whenever the Internet is working well.

3. Accept help

Make a list of friends, family members, and neighbors who can help you in your day-to-day life when your husband is on the move. Ask them if they would be willing to help, practically and emotionally.

Try not to push it all on one person. Try to match tasks with people who are experienced in this special field and who can help without too much trouble. You will be surprised how many people love to help.

4. Prepare for disaster

Make a list with all important contact information, including mechanics, hospitals, and physicians.

Further, make sure that all your paperwork and powers of attorney are up-to-date and in order. Create a filing system as a family that everyone can follow easily, and everyone knows where to find what.

Have a fixed and secure place where you store important paperwork and have scans and copies available.

5. Do things you normally wouldn’t do

As a mom, think of something you and the kids enjoy a lot but wouldn’t normally do when dad is around. Talk with your kids about it and plan the event together, making the planning itself part of the fun.

As a father, use the time you are at home to do something alone with your kids and have some precious dad and kids time alone as well. Tell your kids that this all is part of your unique family life and that you are a great family.

Wrapping It Up

Don’t feel sorry for a situation you are in. There are opportunities and beauty in every life situation.

And at the same time, nothing is exactly as we wish all the time. So, accepting a family situation is the first step to being happy as a family.

All I mentioned will give you as a family the freedom, possibility, and strength to live happily while being apart or being alone with the kids.

Your happiness will have a positive influence on your kids. And most important, you stay sane and relaxed, your kids will be happy as well.

Over to You –

Are you in a similar situation? Or have been in a similar situation in the past. Or do you know someone who is and could benefit from the tips and strategies provided in this post? Then, please share in the comments below and let us also know what you have learned.



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28 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. Ilka Emig

    February 27, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    Thank you so much Harleena and Vinay for another opportunity to post on your amazing blog. You are both great inspiration, support and friends on my blogging journey.

    Thanks 🙂
    – Ilka

    • Harleena Singh

      February 28, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Hi Ilka,

      Good to have you back on the blog 🙂

      Thanks so much for being our guest and sharing your experiences, this time as a parent, especially a mother – a single parent who’s husband is always on the move. I can so well understand how tough it must be to raise kid’s single-handedly, but such things happen, and I am sure your post would help so many single moms out there.

      I loved the tips you shared and could relate to so many of them myself. Great topic to help many out there – and we appreciate you sharing it with our audience at Aha!NOW 🙂

  2. Brenda Spandrio

    February 28, 2017 at 3:35 am

    This is very good. I love the way that you’ve explained how a very stressful situation can be anticipated and adapted in a way that eases the stress on everyone. And you know, this post could also be used by divorced parents to make things better for the kids. Thank you!

    • Ilka Emig

      February 28, 2017 at 9:13 am

      Hi Brenda!

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad that you see the calming part of the post. And you are right that some tips could be used for divorced parents as well. The happiness and calm of a parent truly reflect in the kids, no matter the situation. Sometimes we just have to give into a situation and work with what we have.

      All the best to you Brenda!
      – Ilka 🙂

  3. Richa

    February 28, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Thats so true ILLKA!!! with kids a plan or a routine always works…because that sets the tone rather than just trying to push thing and make things work…i am so glad i read this post…defintiely gonna help me work.
    AllThatsmom

    • Ilka Emig

      March 1, 2017 at 1:12 am

      Hi Richa!

      I’m glad you liked the post and you can take away something. And yes, implementing a routine will work. And will make your life easier. Kids like if things are predictable. It gives them a feeling a security.

      I wish you the very best and a happy time with your kids 🙂

      – Ilka

  4. Connie Green

    February 28, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    I have good friends who were in a similar situation for years. The husband traveled more than two hundred days a year for business all over the world. Last year it was revealed that he had been leading a double life for more than a decade and had women in several locations he was having affairs with. There are five children and now everyone’s lives have been turned upside down. They are now divorced. Were there warning signs the wife could have seen years earlier? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

    • Ilka Emig

      March 1, 2017 at 1:39 am

      Hi Connie!

      That’s a tough one, especially without knowing all the details. What happened to your friend is a nightmare for every wife or husband. Unfortunately, these stories happen to couples who are not living apart as well. I guess we all know stories there as well. The temptation to cheat might be a little bigger being away and alone, though. But the situation you described is also quite extreme.

      It comes down to the character of a person I would say. And how important trust and being faithful is to a person as a value in general. I don’t know if there were signs that the husband didn’t value faithfulness that much. He might just be a great actor and able to adapt to different situations. After all, he fooled not only his wife but other women as well.

      I asked my husband how he thinks such a story could have happened. His answer was simply: ‘I don’t know what he was thinking. I am not that kind of person.’ Like I mentioned in my post, we have all finances organized together. Maybe not being involved in finances or getting fussy and strange answers when asking about them could have been a sign. But all in all, your friend shouldn’t blame herself. She had to trust because trust is the basis of a relationship. It was not her who cheated, lied and played games. I hope she and the kids will recover from this shock. They should try – as much as they can being so traumatized – to live their lives rich and enjoy each other.

      Thanks for sharing this story, Connie! Like I said in the beginning, this was hard to answer. I hope I could share some perspective. All the best 🙂 Ilka

  5. Balroop Singh

    February 28, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Hi Ilka,

    Raising kids is no easy job though some people think so and some young parents don’t even acknowledge the truth. Raising them alone by a single mother or an absent parent is all the more challenging!

    Having said that, no situation in life is such that we can’t deal with it and your tips are going to help a lot of parents who face such a dilemma. A single parent always gets that extra energy when the need arises! Children too become more understanding and independent and learn to value the harsh facts of life.

    Thank you Harleena for such an insightful post. Stay blessed and have a wonderful week. 🙂

    • Ilka Emig

      March 1, 2017 at 1:48 am

      Hi Balroop!

      Thank you so much for your kind and wise words. Of course, I agree with everything you have said. And isn’t it interesting that we as moms always get this extra energy the moment we really need it? I’m surprised myself sometimes how I managed a situation. But this also builds strengths and personality, in the mom and – like you said – in the kids as well.

      Have a great week 🙂
      Ilka

  6. Mi Muba

    March 3, 2017 at 1:31 am

    Hi Ilka

    Earning from home was my earnest desire from the beginning of my professional career. After ten years struggle I established my online business from the comfort of my home. Now I look my friends with thankfulness who entered their homes late night and go to work early in the morning.

    My kids enjoy full day company of both parents and become quite prominent in a group of other kids.

    I can understand how a single parent performs his or her parental chores as a few of my close relatives are facing same challenges as you mentioned in the post.

    Many thanks for sharing a post very pertinent to real life.

    • Ilka Emig

      March 6, 2017 at 12:28 am

      Hi Mi Muba!

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. I’m glad you are happy and thankful for your life and your time at home. That is very valuable. I see many people struggling to work from home. They don’t take the time for the kids, even they are around them.

      I’m glad you liked the post and find it relevant and helpful.

      All the best, Ilka

  7. Carolyn Nicander Mohr

    March 3, 2017 at 3:33 am

    Hi Ilka, Wow, your article really resonated with me. My husband’s work schedule meant he was gone a lot when my three girls were young. The most challenging times were when they were babies and then about six years later when we moved to London and he was gone non-stop after we moved.

    I used to think I was a single mother, but without having to worry about earning a living.

    Your suggestions are all excellent. I would also suggest partnering with friends who are in a similar situation. A friend could take your kids for a playdate one Saturday and you could take her kids the next Saturday. As you said, we do need some “me” time, even if that time involves running errands without kids around.

    My husband is now semi-retired and we are semi-empty nesters. Your suggestions go far, not only to keep moms sane, but also to make the time with your kids enjoyable when they’re younger.

    • Ilka Emig

      March 6, 2017 at 12:44 am

      Hi Carolyn!

      I can read that you went through similar situations. Your suggestion to team up with families in similar situations is spot on. On one hand, it allows some ‘me time’. On the other hand, I had moments when I was giggling in the front of my car while listening to the discussions my kids and their friends had in the back. Some were hilarious.

      Thank you so much for your great comment 🙂
      Ilka

  8. Ravi Chahar

    March 3, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Hey Ilka,

    It’s good to see you here.:)

    Though I can’t relate to the situation here but still, I know a few who are struggling to manage their life with the kids.

    One of my friends is dealing with the same scenario. Her husband works far away and the kids miss him.

    She tries to maintain a routine which is working good. But sometimes, nothing works.

    I like the idea of joining the automobile club. It can be helpful if ever your car breaks down.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with us.
    ~Ravi

    • Ilka Emig

      March 6, 2017 at 12:51 am

      Thank you Ravi!

      It’s good to see you here as well.

      Yes! With all the good advice we still have moments when nothing works. And the interesting part is that once we get stressed the kids become a mess. That’s why we have to work on us first. I’m glad you liked the post and maybe you can help your friends with some ideas occasionally.

      All the best to you 😉
      Ilka

  9. Praveen Rajarao

    March 3, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Hello Ilka,
    I can imagine how hard it should be for the spouse when the significant other is always on the move. Fortunately me and my wife have never been in this situation and I think my stars for that.

    Nice tips and I particularly like where you say Accept help to protect your sanity. Some of us shy away from asking for help, and later repent. There are nice people and neighbors out there who are always willing to go an extra mile to make sure you are alright. We have to build relationships and bond with such people.

    Nice read.

    • Ilka Emig

      March 6, 2017 at 12:56 am

      Hi Praveen!

      Nicely said. Even if we are not in a situation where the spouse is on the move we need help in other areas. And we really need to be ok with asking for help. And we need to ask specifically. People sometimes want to help but don’t know what exactly we need.

      Thanks for your great comment 🙂
      Ilka

  10. Babanature

    March 3, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Hello Ilka, and welcome to Harleena’s blog…

    I’d say, married women who’s husbands always on the move do have things pretty hard.

    Taking care of the child(ren), and doing house chores and no comforter at the end of the day is indeed stressful.

    You have mentioned here how moms who’s husbands are not always around cope…

    Thanks for such an awesome post and do have a beautiful week ahead…

    • Ilka Emig

      March 6, 2017 at 1:01 am

      Hi Babanature!

      Thanks for your kinds words. You are right, there are a lot of burdens and chores and women who have to cope alone, at least from time to time. I really hope I can inspire some women and give them hope that there is a good life for them as well. After all, everyone has to cope with some kind of struggles.

      I wish you a great week as well 🙂
      Ilka

  11. Andrea

    March 4, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Ilka,

    I had no idea what it’s like to raise kids while your husband is away a lot. It sounds like you’ve found some ingenious ways to incorporate ‘me time’ and fun among all the routines and keeping in touch as well.

    Although I have no children, I can relate to the importance of asking for help and being prepared for emergencies. Both are crucial to maintaining one’s sense of sanity. 🙂

    Thank you for giving us a little insight into your life, and I’m sure it’ll inspire others in similar circumstances to yours.

    Best,
    Andrea

    • Ilka Emig

      March 6, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Hi Andrea!

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. It is truly important to incorporate fun and ‘me time’ into our lives, no matter the circumstances. And it is also important to be prepared for the moment where things get difficult. And that counts for everyone, married or not. I’m sometimes surprised how less people think of this.

      To be ready to ask for help as well is key, like you said!

      Thanks 🙂
      Ilka

  12. lisa thomson

    March 5, 2017 at 6:49 am

    These are fabulous tips for moms coping without dads, Ilka. My ex-husband travelled a lot when our kids were young. One of the hardest things was when they or I got sick and I had to go it alone. Not easy. I had no extended family nor grandparents close by to help. That said, I relied on good friends when necessary. Best tip you’ve given is to accept help and realize there will be times you’ll need it and you don’t have to be a hero. Great post!

    • Ilka Emig

      March 6, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Hi Lisa!

      Thanks for your great comment.

      You mention a very important point: Kids or mom being sick. That counts for disaster as well. And it’s hard if you have no extended family around. Good that you have wonderful friends who help and jump in. I’ve experienced that without family around friends become family, sometimes even closer 🙂

      Thanks and take care!
      Ilka

  13. Carl D'Agostino

    March 8, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    Tough in Miami, Florida. Low income, drugs, crime, single parent, one parent works days the other nights, 80% minority, 55% foreign born, unemployment, low wages, polarization between ethnicity, police harass minorities, education not valued among teens, all work against your plan. My family survived 5 drive-by shootings. When the threat of that is ever present all these good parenting suggestions seem irrelevant.

    • Ilka Emig

      March 26, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      Dear Carl!

      I’m sorry to hear that you have such trouble in your neighborhood. Of course, problems are of a different dimension when you have to fear for your life. And I truly hope that you and your family will stay safe and protected. Not having to fear for my life, I still have my struggles and worries while going through life. And I hope I can help and share with all those in a similar situation as myself.

      Wishing you lots of strength, wisdom and protection! – Ilka

  14. Ikechi Awazie

    March 16, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Hi IIka

    Wow looking at this post, I can see that it ain’t easy to raise kids when their dad is on the move so it is great to know what do in such situations.

    Thanks for this post and now you need to write how Dads can raise kids when mom is on the move.

    Thumbs up

    • Ilka Emig

      March 26, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Hi Ikechi!

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you liked the post. Great idea to write about the Dads.

      So, I’m calling all Dads who raise kids by themselves to share their experiences. I’m happy to devote a full post to you brave men 🙂

      All the best, Ilka




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How to Raise Kids with a Husband Who’s Always on the Move

by Ilka Emig time to read: 8 min