Keeping Up the Fort When He’s Traveling

Keeping Up the Fort When He’s Traveling

“OH, HONEY, HE’S GONE AGAIN? BLESS YOUR HEART.” YEP, I’VE HEARD THAT ONE BEFORE. I’M A PILOT’S WIFE. I’M THE ONE SITTING IN THE AUDIENCE AT THE CHORUS CONCERT MISSING MY OTHER HALF. I’M THE WIFE RUNNING UP AND DOWN THE ROUTE 7 CORRIDOR TRYING TO GET MY KIDS TO AND FROM PRACTICES LIKE A MAD WOMAN. I’M THE CRAZY LADY OVER SHARING ON FACEBOOK, NOT BECAUSE I’M CRAZY, BUT BECAUSE I LIVE IN A HOUSE FULL OF LITTLE PEOPLE AND HAVE NOT HAD ADULT CONVERSATION ALL DAY AND JUST WANT SOMEONE TO RESPOND TO ME WITHOUT WHINING OR HAVING TO PULL TEETH FROM MY PRE-TEEN. I’M OFTEN TIRED, WORN OUT, UNSHOWERED AND UNSHAVEN, AND JUST TRYING TO GET THROUGH THE DAY WHILE KEEPING EVERYONE ALIVE AND FED.

I appreciate the offers of help. More than you will ever know. I’ve learned, I have a village that I can count on and that saves me when I need it most, but for the most part, I’ve got this. In fact, I pride myself on the fact that I can do the duties of man and wife pretty darn well. I remember trash day like a pro, can water my grass like the best of them, and I’ve got it down to where there are usually fresh vacuum marks in the carpet when the hubby returns home from a trip making him think I soooo have my act together. In fact, there are some nights when I want to look at the sweet little lady “Blessin’ my sweet heart” and say to her, “Oh honey, you have to go home and deal with yours tonight? You poor thing.”

Ya see, for some of us with traveling spouses, this is our life. We don’t dwell on it. Our kids are resilient and really don’t know life any other way. I also choose to look on the bright side and despite the downfalls of a travelin’ man. It also means when the hubby’s away, the wife will…. have her own rules. It’s MY house. That means I can whip my car right into the middle of the driveway and not have to worry about being on the left hand side and leaving him room. It means the kids are all dogpiling and sleeping in my room and I have only one bed to make in the morning. It means the kids will be just fine with a bowl of Captain Crunch for dinner. And it means a diet Coke, chick flicks, and HGTV to unwind to my heart’s content. And it means silence. Sweet, sweet silence. No answering to anyone. No going over what I did with my day, going over receipts, or having someone wanting to get lucky when it’s one of those nights when the bed is just calling my name. It’s the little things people.

And then after a night or two, it’s back to reality and I miss my other half. It’s lonely. Hard. And when you have to tell your kid that Daddy can’t make it to their game, it well… pretty much sucks. As great as I just made it sound, having your husband gone is just hard. Plain hard. When I’m walking into preschool drop off and catch a glimpse of myself looking like a homeless woman, I pray he makes it home soon. When I am tired and want to check out, those spelling words still need to be called out. There’s no tag team action. When I am done for the day and the little wants a book, it’s me, all me. There’s no asking for help to make sure the doors are locked, the basement lights are turned off, the dishwasher is loaded, or anyone to share the stories of the kids with. No one to laugh with, to touch, to annoy, to share my day with. And when I get a call that instead of him being home tomorrow it will be two more days, I want to cry. But I don’t… because this is just my life. I deal with it.

Here is a little public service announcement to traveling spouses: Never tell your wife you are about to enjoy a wonderful dessert. She knows that you dine out with your colleagues but she does not need to hear about your “to die for” meal… especially when she’s nibbling on a the leftover crust of your kid’s PBJ for dinner.

While I get that many times you are missing out and missing your family too, never say, I’m bored and watching a movie in the hotel. Trust me, this sounds dreamy to your wife and it will more than likely, land you in the doghouse. Yes, after nearly two decades, I’m still working on these rules with my loving husband.

Okay, I digressed. Don’t think the issues of a man on the road stop when he comes walking through the door saying, “Hi, honey, I’m home.” They don’t. He wants nothing more than a home cooked meal, and you want nothing more than to be served and to dine out. It’s a constant battle. He longs for his own bed, and you can’t wait to spend those hotel points that you feel you helped earn. It’s a cycle.

But here’s the deal. For every complaint I have, I often keep in mind that the hubby is away from us working hard so that we can live the life we lead. Sure, having a better half that spends life on the road sucks. It’s not ideal, however, for many who are in our situation, it is the life we chose. If you marry a pilot, you know that you will have a husband that is not home half the time. So this is the hand we played, not the hand we have been dealt. If you need to show someone sympathy… save that for those who are playing with a hand they didn’t choose… The ones that don’t have someone coming home to help. They are the ones that deserve it… But I’d be willing to bet, they, too, on most days will say, “I’ve got this,” and don’t want anyone blessin’ their pretty little hearts.

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