How to stay organised when your husband travels away

This is a guest post by Naomi from Seven Cherubs

As a mother I like to be organised and prepared in advance as much as I can be for unexpected and expected events that happen with our family. One expected event that often happens in our home is that my husband travels away for work. When he is gone he is normally away for 5 or more days at a time. This can seem like an eternity for any mother and especially for a mother like myself, of a large family.

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How to stay organised when your husband travels away

To help me prepare and survive when my husband travels away, I have a certain steps that I take to ensure that I am able to keep our home running smoothly during this time. Here are some of my tips on staying organised and surviving while your husband is away:

1. Know where your husband is travelling to and how you can contact him

This may sound very basic and common sense but there have been times where I have been so busy organising my home that after my husband has left I have no idea where he has gone or where he is staying! If you are able to, make it the responsibility of your husband to leave contact details for you before he leaves, therefore allowing you to focus more on your family. Being able to contact your husband is wonderful to keep family relationships strong and vital if an emergency occurs.

2. Have spare cash on hand for emergencies and incase you need to buy take out

Many times I have been left stranded with no cash and had to pay for school excursions or emergency trips to the chemist and needed some extra cash. I now make sure I have some spare cash in my home for those unexpected events and it saves me an extra trip out with all of the kids. I also keep some spare cash incase everything falls apart that day and we need a takeaway meal for dinner. This is normally a special treat for us.

3. Plan your meals in advance

I find having my meals planned for the days my husband is away saves me a great deal of time and worry about the crazy dinner hour in our home. I write out a list of what we are going to eat and make sure I have all the supplies needed. You can do this on a serious level and plan out all of your meals and snacks or a more relaxed level with only a basic plan. I find even having a general idea is helpful in advance.

4. Clear your schedule

When I know my husband is going to be away I clear my schedule as much as I can. I let go of any nice to do events and focus on the necessary required events that need to happen in our week. I find it is almost a guarantee that things will not go according to plan and having some extra time available and less stress during my week allows me to deal with our schedule in a calm manner. I also find I am far more tired than usual and need the extra time to rest and restore.

5. Assign children as special helpers

When I am dealing with my children on my own I assign a child to be a special helper for the day. I make a big deal of the assignment and they know that they are to help me out with any tasks that I need assistance with. I give them extra praise and make them feel that I could not get through my day without them. Often this is the real situation – I really could not get through the day without the help of my special helper. It is a great help to know I have a back up even if it is a child.

6. Use technology to connect

If possible use technology to connect with your husband when he is away. Send emails, record videos, use Skype, use Facetime, take pictures and keep your husband updated on what is going on during your week. If your husband is able to ask him to send a postcard or email to your children that is just for them. This will help them feel special and they will know that Dad is thinking about them even though he is not there in person.

7. Treat yourself

When my husband is away the days are often long and exhausting. Having a treat planned just for myself gives me something to look forward to and helps me get through the day. Often the treat I have planned is something easy and inexpensive that I can do at home, such as a bubble bath, a new book to start reading, a movie to watch, a new song to dance to in the kitchen or even an early night with a hot drink.

8. Treat your children

I find I often need an incentive to help my children get through the week without Dad in the home as well. Not only is it difficult for a woman or mother to survive when her husband is away, it is often difficult for children as well. Often they miss the contact and can start to behave differently to when both parents are in the home. I always find one treat to encourage my children to be well behaved and to give them something to look forward to as well. I place conditions on the treat with behaviour and just as with myself, I find treats that are inexpensive and can often be done at home. We might stay up a hour later than usual, we might watch a movie with popcorn, we might go for a drive at night to see the lights or we might all sleep out in the lounge room for fun. These are simple ideas but I have found they work well for me and my children.

Raising children is a challenging and rewarding work. Having a husband who travels for a designated period of time makes the challenge harder but it can be made easier by being prepared for difficulties that may come your way. I hope that you have found my tips helpful and will make those long days seem shorter.

{This blog post is written specifically to women who have children and husbands who travel. I know not everyone has a husband and many women are raising children as single parents. You are women that I admire greatly and I know that you are doing an inspiring and great work. I hope that you have not felt discouraged by any of my words and understand the specific nature of my blog post.}

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Naomi is a blogger, writer, chocolate lover, kitchen dancer, jewellery addict, happiness seeker, motherhood advocate and mother to seven cherubs. She blogs at www.sevencherubs.com .

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15 comments

Bricknellpiano July 6, 2012 - 6:57 AM

Thx for posting this right now.  My husband started going away for work for about 10 days every month about 6 months ago, and I already am doing some of your suggestions, but I will now start having a special helper and rewarding myself and the children.

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Katrina July 6, 2012 - 9:19 PM

I really like the idea of the special helper too, I am sure the kids feel great for helping too!

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AshMmisforMe July 6, 2012 - 8:20 AM

So true Naomi! I’m Miss Super-Organised when my husband is away! Just need to be super-organised when he’s not now! 🙂 Love the sleep-out in the lounge idea!

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Colleen July 6, 2012 - 8:36 AM

I have a number 9! Invite your mum to stay! My daughter’s husband travels for work too so I try to arrange things at home so that I can spend some time with her…for company and I hope that I am a bit of help as well..I suppose it is a bit of a circle as I need to arrange things at home before I can go! My daughter has 3 children the youngest 8 weeks the oldest 4 and a 2 year old in the middle..she is amazing..I think she uses all your tips..I think I am her treat! Last week they all went off for afternoon tea..the boys loved it..not McDonalds a lovely restaurant for hot chocolate and cake!
No. 10 might be…a calendar just for the time dad is away. Marking off the days before he comes home.  A big star sticker on the day he comes home. One leading up to him going for a few days is also good as it helps to know ‘the when’
No. 11 Keep a diary. For littlies it might be a picture diary of what they did while he was away. Cutout from a catalogue if you went shopping, printout of a photo doing something or a drawing. Older children can write a story or just a sentence.
Great to share with dad when he come home.
I have quite a few of these little books from when my children were young and their dad went away.
It can be hard going but it can work…you just have to work at it….
Just like everything else associated with being as parent!

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Cookiemother2 July 6, 2012 - 2:51 PM

Colleen, you’re right! 
The best piece of advice I’ve had about this topic is when my husband’s cousin suggested that the weekend he was away was the best time for me to visit her in the country! It upped the adult:child ratio, and gave them something fun to do. Now I always make sure we have fun stories and great photos of our fun to share with him when he gets back. He loves knowing we had fun family time while he was away, and he sends us pictures of fun things he has done too. 

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Harriet Archer July 6, 2012 - 11:00 AM

I might need to print this off and leave it for the Bloke! I’ve never been away from home more than one night before, and I have not one but THREE business trips coming up in the next couple of months – including one overseas one where I will be away for about five days! The first one is coming up in four weeks and is two nights interstate, and I’ve already started planning for it – I’ve organised the morning off before I go, I’ll take home a copy of my itinerary so they know where I am – although I won’t really be contactable during the day (And I’d better make sure I leave him with money for the cleaner, lol.)

Meals will be planned before the first trip – although I’d lay money on them either going to the pub for dinner or getting takeaway at least one night I’m away (or that might be the meal plan for the two nights I’m away)! His mum will be back in time for my second trip (which is the longest one), so he’ll have a little bit of help for that one, and she loves it! The last one is as soon as I get back from the first (get back Saturday night, gone again Monday morning. Sucks, hey?)

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Newtohubbybeingaway July 6, 2012 - 1:48 PM

Great ideas, everytime hubby goes away as a mum of 4 I freak out thinking how am I ever going to do this. I’m not a very organised person and I guess that is where I lack but with ur post and my motivation to get organised I think I am going to be okay next time he goes.

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Sevencherubs July 6, 2012 - 11:14 PM

Love the extra suggestions ladies. I did not think of adding them as I have no family near me and can’t rely on help in that way and love the suggestion of giving it to hubby as well. Thanks so much for having me Katrina xx

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Sarah July 20, 2012 - 12:29 PM

Thanks for the tips.  I am a mother of four beautiful girls aged 13, 9, 6, & 3.  My husband has just started to do away work for the next 5 months, hopefully coming home weekly to fortnightly depending on workload. I also work part-time.  I am fortunate that my mum and dad are coming to stay for a bit of stress relief and company during the weeks that he is away.  I know my girls are going to struggle a bit but thanks to modern technology we will be able to Skype on a regular basis. I really love the idea of the “special helper”.  

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alint October 10, 2012 - 9:58 AM

When the woman I love broke up with me, my world fell apart. I had gone to several casters and I got no results or insufficient ones. I found [email protected] and gave another try to retrieve my lover and restore the passionate relationship I had with her. I’m so glad I did and trusted him. He performed a spiritual cleansing to banish negative energies and cast a love spell. After 4days, the man I missed dearly started to call me and told me few days ago that she still loves me and wants to try again. Thank him fo me.

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lisa March 17, 2014 - 12:06 PM

my husband also works away; i find it useful to also have the number of the after hour locum service as inevitably my kids always fall sick with ear infections etc at night when he is away. Much easier than dragging two small children to an after hours place to wait to see a dr…

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Pat February 22, 2016 - 11:42 AM

Kate, I think your responses area has been high-jacked and you need to do a clean-up.
When my kids were little I loved the time that he was away with work – Army – the wives would have special things organised and if it was school holidays, it was picnics during the week with other dad-less kids. Helped the kids know they were not alone.
Of course there were some Mums and kids who didn’t handle it well.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife February 22, 2016 - 2:20 PM

ooh dear, has been ‘high-jacked’ thank you, I just deleted them.

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Hira February 22, 2016 - 4:47 PM

All the tips are really useful. My husband has been away for over 2 months now I have been juggling around with everyday tasks with my 3 boys (7yo, 4yo and 1 yo). Unfortunately, i could not defer anything as husband is overseas on a 2 year contract. My tips being a mother of boys would be plan ahead and take them out as much as you can. Meal planning is a key too so that you know what you need when you are grocery shopping.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife February 23, 2016 - 9:03 AM

Great tip s Hira, thank you for sharing.

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