My husband recently started a new career that requires him to work out-of-state Monday through Friday most weeks. He loves his new adventure and I love it for him (so does my son— after all, a job with construction vehicles is the coolest to a four-year-old!) That’s not to say that we haven’t had some transitions with our new “normal,” but we did pick up a few tricks along the way that have helped us.

I Want Daddy!

Needless to say, my son wasn’t very keen on the idea of not seeing his father during the week. One thing we did to help was create Daddy/Matthew boxes; my son and my husband each decorated an old shoe box for the other. Before my husband leaves for the week, he fills the Matthew box with notes, drawings of fun things they’ll do when he returns, and things he wanted to share with him (a rock from his construction site, etc.) Likewise, my son fills his daddy’s box with artwork from school and of course some random toys he is “letting Daddy borrow.”


Photo by Madison Stilson                                                                                            

My son listens to audio stories while he is falling asleep, so now that my husband works away from home, he records himself telling stories for bedtime. He even records little messages (“I can’t wait to play with you on Saturday!” “You’re my favorite little boy, Matthew!”) to play in between the stories. Now, if your traveling partner isn’t creative, don’t fret; my left-brained husband is not some creative story-teller; most of the time he just records himself reading some of our son’s books!

We also video chat with Daddy every night during dinner. It’s great to see them catch up about their day, and the added bonus for me is that my son is entertained for a little bit, allowing me to clean up after dinner on these nights when I’m solo parenting!


Photo by Madison Stilson                                                                                               

Mommy Needs a Time Out!

Now, I won’t sugar coat it; while we are very fortunate for my husband’s career, sometimes it is difficult when he’s away. Thankfully, my husband is always the first to remind me to rest, take time for myself, and only do what needs to get done when I am overwhelmed (or before I get overwhelmed!)


If the other parent is away, you may have to go into survival mode and ask yourself: Does this have to get done today, or can it wait so I can rest? Can we just do take out or sandwiches for dinner instead of a home-cooked meal? You know, because we can all agree that the house being a little messy or having cereal for dinner is better than dealing with a meltdown (and I don’t mean a meltdown from the kids!)


Do Your Own Thing


Now, of course I miss my husband when he is away. But, I do enjoy laying in our bed solo, indulging in a chocolate—okay, chocolates— while I read a good book or watch one of my shows. I take full advantage of this “me” time once my son is in bed and enjoy it!


My son and I also do weekly family dinners at one of our close friend’s home. Their kids wear out my kid and I get to hang out with people over the age of four—you know, those people who can wipe their own noses and butts! If you have a partner who is away frequently, do not feel the need to wait for them for social plans. You will be a better mommy and wife for treating yourself—and your kid—to some friend time!


Photo by Madison Stilson                                                       

A Whole New Meaning to T.G.I.F.


There is a glorious time of my week every Friday afternoon when Daddy gets home from his week away and I get my partner back! On Saturday mornings, the boys usually do a donut date together while I rest and enjoy my quiet time at home. I get to enjoy some time to myself to recharge for the next week while Matthew and Daddy spend quality time together…and you better believe that I have zero shame in indulging this TLC while I can!


If you are in a season where your partner is away a lot, try some of these strategies to ease the transition for you and your kiddos. Don’t be afraid to lean on your village and have fun while your partner is away. Most importantly: when your they return home, treat yourself to some (much-deserved) time for yourself!


Now be sure to check out this other post for more tips for when you and the kids kicking it without Daddy! “When the Husband’s Away” by Jesse Hartwich

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Madison is a Louisiana native who recently moved to with her family to Harmony, a small town in the Pittsburgh suburbs. Madison studied Elementary Grades Education at LSU after which she taught elementary school in Baton Rouge. She is now a stay-at-home mom who enjoys watching “Blippi” and tripping over Hot Wheels that her son Matthew leaves all over the floor. She has an affinity for all things organization; a new planner, label maker, or cubby is like Christmas morning to her. She is often guilty of staying up well past her bedtime reading library books on her Kindle or watching Lifetime Christmas movies. Madison has struggled with chronic health issues for the better part of a decade and is constantly working toward improving her health. She enjoys connecting with other mamas and appreciates the creative outlet that writing provides her.