Survival tips for When Your Partner is GONE a long time on a business trip

My husband is just back from a three week business trip to Nigeria. It was rough without him. The hardest thing was keeping my spirits up for the girls, who are 7 and 4. If I allowed myself to wallow in missing him, the girls would catch on and we’d all be sitting around crying and acting out in other ways. (Believe me, that happened from time to time.)
We found some things to keep our minds and hands occupied and these things seemed to help. I don’t know what the wives and/or husbands do whose spouses are gone for a year serving in the military. But we found these strategies to be helpful for us during our three weeks without my husband.
1. I took photographs of our activities and made a scrapbook for my husband. The “While You Were Away” scrapbook also included print-outs of our infrequent emails to one another. (Nigeria has a long way to go when you’re talking about communications of any kind.) We also included pictures that the girls drew and notes they wrote to their father. I tried to keep up with it by getting the photos developed once a week. I involved the girls in the project as much as I could, but it also helped for me to have something to work on myself.
2. We had a half way-through party. Of course, we marked the calendar off every day. We drew a big star when we were half way through and looked forward to that party. Keeping in mind there were two of them and one of me, I kept this party simple. We made cookies, dressed up, turned up the music and danced. (Of course, that’s pretty usual in this house–all except for the baking of the cookies.)
3. I kept meals as simple as I could. One night we even had ice cream for supper, which is not usual in any way around here. But clean-up was easy that night, what can I say? I stocked up on easy finger food, like chicken-less nuggets and tortillas that I could throw in the oven to melt cheese over. Mmmm. Delicious, nutritious, and so easy, even when you have young children under your feet.
4. We did many silly things, which put smiles on the faces of my girls, who tended to be very sullen while their Dad was gone. The ice cream for supper was one of those things. Another evening, a friend brought over a foot bath bubbler thing and we took turns getting clean and happy feet .
5. We took any offer of help that was offered. One friend kept my kids so that I could go to my book group, which helps with my sanity in any case. Another friend took them one afternoon just to give me time to myself. (I actually did some Yoga–how wonderful.) Another friend bought us pizza one night and so meal time was not an issue. These little spaces of time to myself were treasured.
What do you do when your partner is out of town? Write back, let me know. I’d like to develop a bigger article about this.

One thought on “Survival tips for When Your Partner is GONE a long time on a business trip

  1. wesleyjeanne says:

    For three months my husband and I were living separately. He had taken a job in another city and I stayed back to sell the house (which took longer than I hoped).
    It was also during that time that I quit my job, so I was three months at home alone all day…argh.
    What kept me going (besides friends and frequent phone calls to my hubby) was blogging. I found myself looking for things I could blog about. Looking for photo-ops. Every day, we’d do some activity and I’d take tons of photos. Every evening after my toddler was in bed, I would upload the photos and write in my blog.
    As an added benefit, my husband could then read the blog and see the photos and get a glimpse into our day-to-day.

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