“Oh, he’s gone again?”
“Don’t you hate how much he travels?”
“He’s missing (insert important event or family activity)?!”
I have a husband whose job requires him to travel regularly and the above questions/statements are things I hear regularly. People mean well (and it really is crazy how many days he’s gone when you sit down and add it up – something I try to avoid doing) but the comments do nothing to help me fight the feeling of resentment that’s constantly creeping in. While yes, sometimes I do hate how much he travels and yes, he misses things regularly, this is our current situation and he’s in a role we both had a say in him accepting.
That doesn’t mean I don’t get grumpy before he leaves or that I’m not down to my last ounce of patience with the kids by the time he gets home, but I’m really trying to resist feeling resentment toward him or his job since we all know how unhealthy that can be for any relationship, but especially in a marriage.
If you’re in a similar situation, these are the things I’m continually reminding myself of:
1. Traveling for business isn’t always as glamorous as it seems. I like to tell myself my husband is always going out for fancy dinners and seeing new places without me, but more often than not he’s leaving for the airport at 4:30 AM, heading straight to the office as soon as he lands, and then working from his hotel room until late at night. His flights are often delayed, he’s on conference calls in between flights, and he battles jet lag regularly. And there’s really not much down time to recover once he’s home because we have two young children who missed him, and I need reinforcement by the end of a week of solo parenting.
2. I am fortunate to be able to be at all of our kids’ events, school parties, and activities. He tries not to miss anything big, but his schedule doesn’t always allow that. I know he already struggles with guilt about it, but then he gets comments from other people (and our 4 year old) that make him feel even worse. While some days it seems completely overwhelming and unfair to have to “man the ship” on my own, it also means I’m involved in all of the little moments and memories with our kids. I’m able to be my daughter’s class room mom, I can go on field trips, and I get to hear all about her day at preschool pickup after a big bear hug. I witness our toddler learning new things and saying new words and know all of the little quirks about her personality.
3. There are certainly perks to him traveling so much. First, our time together as a family is even sweeter. I don’t know how many times our 4 year old has said, “Look! Our whole family gets to sit and play a game together!” when we have him home on a week night. We value and are intentional about family vacations and time away from work. And secondly, a lot of those family vacations or weekend getaways are paid for with airline miles and hotel points accumulated from work trips. Lastly, I’ve gotten to tag along on at least one international trip and we plan to do more of that (with and without kids!) in the future. They’ve heard about a lot of these countries – and FaceTimed with Daddy to ‘see’ them – but we’re excited to let them experience new places firsthand in the years to come.
I will be clear that these points aren’t always at the forefront of my mind in the middle of a week with my husband gone. (And if I’m honest, it’s taken me months to finish this post because I’m feeling pretty resentful every time I pull it back up and try to write.) Not falling into resentment and bitterness is something I have to be intentional about. I’ve thankfully found a group of friends who also have spouses that travel regularly and while we use each other to vent occasionally, we also can encourage each other with reminders of the points above. Some weeks with him gone are strictly survival mode, but attempting to keep a positive mindset usually makes the week go so much more smoothly. So wives of spouses who travel regularly: I see you, commiserate with you, and encourage you to resist those feelings of resentment that try to creep in however you’re able.
Originally published in 2019.