5 Tips for Husbands Who Travel
My husband travels frequently for work, often to other countries, traversing time zones and cultures. This presents a challenge to our connectedness and family life. Over time, we have developed some practices that make the travel schedule work for our family. Here are 5 tips that can help a wife feel supported and valued even when her husband is not physically present.
1. Include her in the planning process when possible. For example, if you know a work trip needs to happen but the date is somewhat flexible, ask your wife for input. “Should I leave this day or the next day?” “Which week would be better for you?” “What are the dates for school events I can’t miss?” These conversations will make your wife feel heard and prioritized over work.
2. Call or text her once a day while traveling. A two-minute phone call is better than no phone call at all! A quick check-in will help you both feel more connected and help you stay up to date on the events of the week once you return home. When you choose to take time out of your busy day to check in on things at home, your wife will feel chosen and less alone.
3. Hire help when you can. It is a lot for one parent to take on all responsibility on a daily basis. Talk about your budget and what kind of help would be most beneficial for your situation. This could be getting a housekeeper, an afternoon homework helper, a meal service, grocery delivery, or a nanny. Just because your wife can do something (like cook or be the math tutor) does not mean it is always the best use of her time and energy. When you are not traveling, make family time a priority. The trade-off is worth it to hire a yard guy, handyman, or mechanic to eliminate things from your own weekend to-do list. You may be taking money out of your bank account, but you will be investing a great deal more into your family. Finding help to assist you with your chores frees up time to reconnect with your wife and kids.
4. Encourage her to schedule breaks and be social. If you know ahead of time that you will be gone several nights in a row, that is a great opportunity for your wife to find a sitter for one evening and take the night off. It could be a ladies’ night out or just time alone at a coffee shop while someone else takes care of bedtime. A few hours “off-duty” is refreshment for the soul!
5. Lastly, you can encourage your wife by loving on your kids even from a distance. You can record video messages or send pictures specifically for them. Or have your kids pick a favorite stuffed animal that can make the trip with Dad and who makes appearances in photos. If you ever see my husband photographing a dolphin beanie-boo in the business class lounge, just know there are three little girls at home feeling very loved!
By being intentional about your time and working together, it is possible to stay connected as a family and create some sweet family memories amidst a busy schedule.
“In the Trenches” Contributing Writer
Wife, Mother of 3 girls, and avid travel planner!