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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
Posted on: February 27th, 2017
Last Updated on: February 27th, 2017