Surviving Dad’s Work Trips

surviving dad's work trips

“You know I am leaving for a few days next week.  You boys better be good for your mom while I am gone.  Don’t give her a hard time.”  Dad reminds the boys that another work trip is quickly approaching.  They usually respond with a sincere look and understanding, and they give him a simple little nod, “we will be good.”  But we BOTH know the boys will be good and things will remain semi normal for about…well, a day.  Then we await the inevitable, the moment when their emotions run a little bit higher and they start to say, “I miss dad, do you miss dad?!” On top of missing dad, the boys start to become annoyed with mom’s stress levels…{if I’m not managing it properly, which is about 90% of the time, yep, I can be quite annoying!}.

Once the conversation begins, it is a reminder to start preparing myself for the days that lie ahead.  When dad leaves for a work trip, it’s usually a bittersweet occasion.  On one hand, a little distance never hurts, and on the other hand, I have to deal with “everything” on my own.  I don’t get any breaks.  My day job  soon becomes my morning, my day, and my night job….24 hours of kids {constantly} demanding my love and attention!  I literally become a single mom. I praise you ladies who rock at this!  When it’s just me I have to become the fearless optimistic mom who can handle anything thrown my way.  I am the leader. If I’m scared, they are scared. If I’m stressed, they are stressed. If I am sad, they are sad.  I have to stay positive and upbeat to keep everyone uplifted.

When I think back to when I was working outside of the home, I am still amazed at what I could accomplish. It’s even exhausting to think about! I have a wonderful family.  My mom took care of our kids. Almost every day after pick up, I would wish for dinner plans at mom’s. Often times, I would give them a bath before we headed home. This was to help make bedtime easier so I could get ready for the next day and catch some zzzzz ‘s!

As dad’s return is near, we anxiously wait. He has, on occasion, surprised us. Only to appear out of nowhere unexpectedly-the kids dig that move! Finally when he does walk through the door we feel full of LOVE + happiness knowing he’s back home! Every trip we miss him dearly and realize what an important role he plays in our family.  He helps make our life enjoyable and he makes my life…well, easier and I am so grateful for everything he does do as their dad and my husband.

annette dads work trip
A HUGE hug after a work trip….

I have compiled a little list of things that I do to help us survive while he is away!

1. CATCH UP ON WEEKLY CHORES::I like to catch up on the mundane weekly tasks before he leaves so that I don’t have to worry too much about falling behind on them. Especially the laundry, because I have learned the hard way that I am just not going to be able to get everything done.

2. LOTS OF EXTRA HUGS AND KISSES::I try to hug and squeeze and kiss them a million times in dad’s absence because I know dad’s hugs are greatly missed.

3. DANCE PARTY IN OUR LIVING ROOM::De-stress. Yes, I LOVE dancing foolishly around the house.  It does help us decompress the built up emotions, stress and anxiety, PLUS we have a ton of fun letting loose!  The boys also love being the DJ.  Long walks or visits to the park also help.

4. A LITTLE YOGA AND MEDITATION::If the stress level is just too high, we sometimes have to try a little yoga and some breathing exercises.  I turn on some calming music and ask them to sit with me, breathe and talk about what is bothering them.

5. DESSERT FOR BREAKFAST {not really}::I do like to add a few extra treats like chocolate chips and marshmallows somewhere in the mix! They love little surprises. I hide certain snacks away just for this occasion.

6. LEARN TO SAY “NO”::I try to keep our schedule simple. Over booking us just leads to unnecessary stress.  Learning to let go in life is something I work on every day, especially when I am playing the single mom role.

7. BE HAPPY + OPTIMISTIC::I aim to teach them through example; I have to be happy and optimistic so that they are also happy and optimistic.  There is always sadness built around dad’s work trips, as well as a little optimism…  Let me explain.  I love my family unit.  We are a team!  The 4 of us work together to create a life full of love, trust and compassion for one another.  When something is off, it affects the whole unit, but a little distance is not going to hurt us-it will only help us grow and be stronger!

8. AVOID TALKING TO DAD ON THE PHONE::It is so easy for me to make him feel guilty for not being at home..helping! He knows, he really does, he gets it, and it is COMPLETELY out of his control and there really isn’t anything he can do from a distance. What is the point of starting a text message war or ending a conversation on a bad note? It also makes the kids even more sad when they talk to dad.

9. KEEP LIFE SIMPLE::I do things like boil a dozen eggs, make instant oatmeal, and wash and dry fruit (so it is ready to eat anytime).  We eat leftovers, go through the freezer for anything easy hiding in there or make breakfast for dinner {eggs and toast or pancakes are always a hit!}! Keeping bedtime routine simple also helps. I am usually completely exhausted.  When we are ready for bed, I take my laptop with me, set up camp and let them watch television until we all fall asleep!

10. PLAY DATES + FAMILY VISITS::Setting up fun play dates with friends and little visits with family help too!  It keeps the kids occupied and not asking, “when is dad coming home?!”  This also helps me-it gives me a little break from, well, them!  They keep busy, have fun and stay happy!

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Hi Detroit Mommas!!! I'm Annette Rioux, co-founder of Detroit Moms Blog. I'm a work-at-home momma raising my family in Novi. I am passionate about creating a healthy + happy life for the ones I love most in this world, my husband Joel and our 2 boys JB + JJ. I am working on getting my small creative business off the ground {annette's creation's}, I homeschool our 2 boys {age 5 + age 3}, and help run this wonderful blog {DMB}! I was given this opportunity to stay home with my family when I was laid off from my Interior Design career mid-January 20-13. I was a stressed, unhappy mom wanting more freedom in my life at the time. We made many sacrifices to do this, we work everyday to keep me home raising our family. I love design, DIY, creating a healthy lifestyle, entertaining, reading, learning, coffee and just being a MOM. I'm learning how acceptance, letting go, and choosing happiness can lead me to where I need to be.


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