As most of you know my husband is gone a lot (like 85% of the time). But this is not entirely unusual for a lot of families right now. For whatever reason your family is apart there are things that can be done to keep you close and connected. This is not the first time we have been in this situation and there are a few things I have learned along the way to help our family stay close while we’re apart.
1- Learn to do things for yourself but don’t leave him out. I would do everything that needed to be done and wouldn’t ask him to do anything when he was home. Wrong! He needs to feel needed and you need to not be stressed all the time with trying to accomplish everything yourself, so leave a few things on “the list” for him. Or work together on a project. I’m not promising there won’t be any arguments but at least you’re accomplishing something together (and that feels great).
2- With that being said, have normal housework completed so you have more time for each other and the family. Have all the laundry, basic cleaning, weeding, etc. done so the house looks good and you don’t waste time on the basics when he is home. I always have a candle melting too, because for some reason it seems to hide if the house isn’t perfect.
3- Make time alone. That has meant something different almost every time he’s been home but we always make time for each other. We’ve taken time for full date nights, sometimes we’ve just taken in a movie, we’ve snuck away for frozen yogurt, we’ve gone grocery shopping, and we’ve even had a few nights away.
4- Make time alone with each child. He needs to catch up with the kids too so give him time to do that. My kids go crazy when he comes home and if it’s late at night they’re up early in the morning just to see him. He makes them breakfast every Saturday morning while I sleep in and they talk and laugh and then wake me up. Some of the things the kids have done with their dad are: breakfast (McDonald’s seems to be the favorite), lunch, working on a project together, run to get ice cream or Slurpee’s, bike rides, the park, camping, golf. It gives them time to talk about school, sports, friends, problems, etc.
5- Clean sheets, towels and pj’s are a must. Also a favorite dinner and dessert one night. Since I’m not there to wash his sheets and towels I have no idea how often he does that, probably not as often as he should. If your hubby is staying in a hotel they get changed all the time so now he’s used to it. Either way it’s a nice, welcoming feeling to come home too. I always try to have one of his favorite meals or desserts ready for him too.
6- Talk, text, message, facebook, email, and/or instagram a few times a day, everyday. Do anything you can to stay connected throughout the day.
7- The kids need to talk to him everyday too even if it’s just for a few minutes each or on speaker phone. They need to connect also and know that he is still available for them. If they can’t wait to tell him something they leave a message or text him on his phone.
8- Go to him, if you can. We’ve gone to him a few times and are planning to go again sometime in July. I’ve gone by myself and with the kids. It gives him a reprieve from having to travel plus it gives us all a little mini vacation. We stay in a hotel, visit places he wouldn’t normally go by himself, and spend all our time together. It’s a great way to reconnect.
9- Still involve him in decisions with the kids and household. Sometimes it’s easier to take care of things yourself but that doesn’t mean it’s always better. Remember you’re a team and need to parent together even if you’re miles away. Discuss what activities the kids will be involved in, what discipline will be taken if needed, what household purchases will be made, etc.
10- Have a call every night before bedtime with the whole family, whether it be face time or just a phone call. Read scriptures, say prayers, read a story, and talk about the day. Whatever you need to do to connect before bedtime. It gives me and the kids that sense of security we need.
While our living situation isn’t ideal it’s what we’re having to deal with right now and we’re making the best of it. I can’t say it’s getting any easier but I am handling it better and I cherish the time we do have face to face.
Is your spouse gone for long periods of time? Feel free to share how you stay close and connected.
When I married my husband I became an Air Force wife. After his retirement I morphed into a Lockheed Martin wife. He has always traveled. Sometimes gone for 6-8 weeks. I agree 100% with all of your tips! They must work because we recently celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary.
If I may add, any time your husband comes into your mind, say a prayer of protection, gratitude, love, etc. 🙂
These are great tips- even if you’re not living apart. Leanne- you inspire and amaze. I am so proud of you for making the very best you can out of a very challenging situation. I know this has been so hard on you, but you’ve handled it like a trooper. Fingers crossed you will find something better, and double fingers crossed you stay in Utah. 🙂 Love you my friend- hang in there.
You are so strong Leanne. I know you were forced into the situation, but you are so great to handle it as best you can. You are blessed with a great family to help get you guys thru the time apart too!! I love your tips, and although my husband isn’t away, can use them in our life now. Sometimes the one on one time is hard to remember even when we see one another every day.
Wow, this really has some great ideas. I see my husband at least some everyday, but he is working on his Masters degree & so when he is home, he spends time with us until the kids go to bed & then gets started on homework. Those few precious hours between getting home from work & starting homework is our favorite part of the day. Thanks for posting this!
Instead of traveling, some households are having to hold down two jobs, sometimes even three. For example, my husband and I rarely see each other because we work opposite shifts to ensure someone is able to be home with our son. These tips are wonderful for that as well.
I think you are so amazing!I hope things work out soon for you guys to live in the same city again.
Great suggestions Leanne. Reminds me of the days when I worked opposite shifts with my husband because we didn’t want to have a babysitter raising our children. We grew apart because we didn’t make the effort to spend time together. Your tips are good advise for any couple and family…living together or apart 🙂 Thanks!
I fully understand where you are. It isn’t by choice, but you have no other choice, and so you make the best of it! Bravo!!
Great ideas…and good reminders for ways to stay connected even when you’re not separated!
Leanne, my husband works out of town Monday thru Friday and home on weekends. I totally agree with all of your suggestions. We try to get together for date nights as much as possible and it helps us reconnect. We have been living like this for most of our 13 years together. Thanks for your encouragement. You are a real inspiration. God Bless
When my husband travels, the kids and I write him notes and hide them in his suitcase. Usually at least one for each day. He loves to find them, and it brightens his day. He does the same for us, hiding notes throughout the house for the kids (and sometimes me too) to find.
We also eat our meals “with him.” When he can’t facetime, we just put on a digital photo frame of pictures of the family to help it feel like he’s there.
Thanks so much for posting this!! I have a feeling I’m really going to need it in the near future. You’re amazing and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us! Awesome post!
Girl, as a wife to a military man and being prior military I am only 25 yo trying to be a good housewife and SAHM. Struggling every step of everyday I feel I can relate with you and have bookmarked at least half of your blogs. I am sure your blogging helps keep your mind at ease. I feel very blessed finding your blog and wish I lived closer. I would beg you to come help me get our house organized. I am not good at it with having children running under foot every minute of the day and nap time is my breather to bookmark things that will help me or my family such as your blogs or take a nap myself. I pray to have an uncluttered house very soon. It is such hard work on top of all the basic chores and children. Plus my son is allergic to dust mites, mold, pollen, dogs, trees, grass, and shellfish..the list seems endless. So I have to also be very careful with him indoors as it traps so many germs.