Thursday, March 22, 2018

7 ways I stay sane when my husband travels.

Corey was traveling regularly for work long before we ever got pregnant with Madeline. I had my routine down for when he was away. I’d always worked a job that ate up a ton of my time - both while I was work and when I was home, too. So, when I decided to leave my job to stay home with Madeline, I really didn’t think it would be that much of an adjustment.

I know you seasoned mamas are laughing right now. I mean I knew babies were demanding but I’d been in a career for years where I couldn’t get so much as a restroom break for six hours at a time many days and where I was often away from home for work twelve hours at a time just to have to bring more home with me. How hard could taking care of just one little baby be?

Yet, when Madeline was a two weeks old and Corey was setting out to travel for the first time since my mother in law returned to Florida, I couldn’t help feeling overwhelmed with five days of just the two of us standing in front of me. So. Much. Responsibility.

Here we are two years later and Corey still travels for work several days at a time almost every week. I know that we are lucky and that many families, especially those with spouses serving in the military, face months without help at home. I try to keep this at the forefront of my mind on weeks when it seems too much. And I am super grateful for his hard work and that it allows me to be home with Madeline. 

I have our routine down for weeks that Corey is away so that my sanity is saved. There are definite things that help keep us all happy when Corey is away and I have some tips for saving your sanity if your spouse travels.

1. Carve out some guilt-free pamper time. For me, this is a bubble bath with my favorite face-masks and a good book. I wouldn’t think to take a long, relaxing bath by myself if Corey were home because I would want to spend time with him so I try to carve out this pampering time when he’s away. Then, when I get out, I apply my self-tanner and give myself a quick mani. A little self-care goes a long way in making me feel good. I use this face mask for my nose and chin (places where clogged pores are common) and this one for brightening everywhere else.

2. Make easy dinners. There is no need to pull out all your culinary tricks when you are cooking just for yourself and a toddler. I almost always cook one meal in the crockpot so it is virtually no work and then make something else that it easy. Last week, I made the Chili Lime chicken burgers from Trader Joe’s with baked sweet potato fries and roasted broccoli one night and then taco salsa chicken that we could use in a couple ways another night. It’s also a great opportunity to make something for dinner that your spouse hates but you really enjoy. 

3. Have a backup emergency contact. This is something that I just learned the hard way unfortunately when my doctor’s appointment was running so behind (two hours behind schedule) and I had to leave right before I finally got to see my doctor so that I could make it across town to pick up Madeline. If you have kids, have a backup person that can help you in a pinch and would have access to a car seat if they needed to pick up your children. I was so frustrated and angry with this situation that I was almost crying. For us, we decided to purchase an extra car seat for Madeline and leave it in our garage and teach my Mother in Law and a friend how to install it in their vehicles. 

4. Fill your schedule. Planning play dates and activities really helps the week move along faster than if we were just playing at home. It keeps both Madeline and I happy. I also try to schedule girl’s nights and use a sitter for a few hours every so often. For these, I go out and meet friends for a glass of wine, a late dinner, or a pedicure and leave after Madeline has gone to to bed so it really doesn’t make any difference to her but feels really good to get out. I don’t do this every week but it is refreshing every now and then for sure!

5. Find your tribe. I have another post planned about how my “Mom Friends” save my sanity when he is away but they really do make the world of difference. I have a couple different “types” of mom friends and being able to call on them in different situations when I'm having to tackle a week of parenting all by myself is a Godsend. 

6. Don't be afraid to call in reinforcements. There are weeks that I feel like I've got everything under control and then there are weeks when everything feels completely out of control. During one of Corey's recent trips, Madeline, Riley, and I all had doctor's appointments (all of which ran way behind) and the washing machine flooded our house. Some weeks there will just be more to do than one person can do and maintain their sanity. My tips for this are to outsource what you can. Run the Roomba instead of vacuuming, order DoorDash for an easy dinner (click here for $10 off), or splurge on a sitter so that I can go out for a quick dinner or mani/pedi with a girlfriend or even to run a child-free errand. 

7. Be intentional with one-on-one time. Corey and I make sure to Face Time every night after Madeline has gone to bed (he FaceTimes with her during the day too) so that we have a couple minutes to have adult conversation about our days, just like if he were home. We also try to do a date night out at least every other week and I think that is really important to reconnect after he’s been gone. I also try to tackle most of the household “chores” during the week (a little every day) so that he doesn’t come home with tons that needs to be done. I've also mentioned before that we try to plan quarterly mini getaways (even if just for one night) with each other to have some time just the two of us. We usually stay unplugged (you'll rarely find many photos of these) and just enjoy each other's company without distraction.

For those of you whose significant other is away a lot, I'd love to hear what you do for yourself while they're away. Happy Thursday, friends!


  1. Yes! Brandon travels every month for a week at a time (sometimes more than once a month) and I couldn’t agree more with this.

    I don’t ever cook when he is gone; I have made it okay with myself to just have leftovers from the week, make grilled cheeses or chicken nuggets, or even Chick-fil-A. I’ve also just started ASKING for help — something I’m not good at doing, but *need* to do when Brandon’s out of town. Lastly, like you, we schedule play dates to keep us busy. It’s amazing how much faster the week goes when you’re occupied — even if it’s just to my MIL’s house for a change of scenery on Tuesday morning.

  2. Yes to this. Jason doesn't travel but these are good self-care tips in general. When I used to be in private practice and traveled I always told Jason to get a sitter, call my brother, go have a beer. I still make him do this when he has taken a lot of the duties if I have a rough week workwise. And amen for mama friends. They are my lifeblood, but I need a better tribe sometimes.

  3. YES! My hubs works for the railroad and currently is on night shift. This is a great read and I couldn't agree more!


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