I meet many homeschooling parents whose spouses travel extensively for a job. We have been in that position in our family as well. Every family and every travel schedule is different, but our situation was that for three years my husband traveled every week Monday through late Thursday night and then worked in town on Fridays. This schedule has lessened over the last two years, so I am glad, but over the way it certainly shaped the way I parented and homeschooled to an extent. I wanted to share some things that helped me survive the travel beat.
- Do not schedule any extra-curricular activities for children without taking into full account the drive time, the other children in the family and their needs, how late activities might go, and if the activities would increase around the time of a game/match/meet/performance or what would happen if practices, meets or games run late. Time outside the home can be very draining if a spouse travels, so being sensitive to that ahead of time saves a lot of disappointment on all ends.
- Figure out what shopping/errands can be handled in person with all the children, and what shopping really needs to be done on-line. Streamline as much as possible!
- Employ help if possible. I have tried to find mother’s helpers and babysitters without any luck whatsoever, but I do have several friends with traveling spouses that have wonderful helpers.
- Figure out when you will be able to exercise, and also when you could have hair/dental/health care provider appointments. Schedule it in. Again, this is much easier if you have help. See if friends can help in any way. A neglected mother is never fun for the family or for future health.
- Understand traveling is a big adjustment. It can be hard when spouses leave, and sometimes the re-entry can be hard as well. Put in extra, undisturbed family time as a buffer so that this time going and coming back is as peaceful as possible.
- Figure out when you and your spouse can be together. If you can only be together 24 or 48 hours out of a week, will there be any time for the two of you alone at any point? That can help a lot, because whilst often there many times needs to be discussion on finances or different things going on in family life, there also needs to be time to just *be* together.
- Have a rhythm to your home. Some mothers tell me it is easy to start getting slack on housekeeping chores or even cooking when their spouses travel. Having a rhythm to homekeeping tasks can be very grounding.
- Have early bedtimes. I know not all will agree with me, but when you have to be “on” all the time, having some time to oneself for rejuvenation is important.
If you have a traveling spouse, I would love to hear your best tips for keeping life calm!