Tips to balancing life on the road and family
Put simply, it can be really tough to be on the road for extended periods of time if you’re trying to raise a family. Balancing family life and being on the road isn’t easy, but it can be done.
Here are some tips to keep your family life intact while you’re out providing for your family.
Show your kids the ropes
Have you ever seen clips of sports figures interacting with their kids on the sidelines or on the ballfield? There’s no other bonding experience like it. Those are the kind of memories kids will never forget, and you can do the same. You may not be a ball player, but the trucking industry is extremely important, so take pride in that.
When you come home, make a point to show your kids your big rig and teach them about what you do and why you do it. Big rigs are pretty cool, and not many people get the opportunity to have a close up look at trucks or climb into the cab. There are a lot of good life lessons that can be taught from being around a truck too. It’s an opportunity to show your kids how to check your tire pressure and how to keep your engine running properly ꟷ basic life skills that they don’t learn in school. Your enthusiasm towards your truck may get your kids interested in trucks…or at least remind them of you when big rigs pass them on the highways.
Stay involved on the road
Ever heard of the Trucker Buddy Program? If not, it’s a great program that connects kids with truck drivers through their school teachers. As a trucker buddy, a driver will write letters; send emails, post cards and pictures; and on occasion visit the classroom they are paired with. Students will also write letters to the driver asking questions about what life is like on the road. It’s a great educational opportunity for kids to learn about the industry and different regions around North America.
As a driver, you could reach out to your kid’s teacher and see if you could become a trucker buddy for their classroom. It’s a safe bet that your kid would find it pretty cool to have their parent interacting with their classroom, sharing all of their cool adventures out on the road.
If you don’t have a smartphone, consider getting one. With services like FaceTime, it’s incredibly easy to connect with your family when you’re away from home. What better way to spend your downtime than checking in to see how everyone is doing? It’s an easy way to stay connected, no matter how far away you may be. It’s much better than a simple phone call.
The calendar app on your phone is a convenient way to remind yourself of important events like birthdays, anniversaries, kid’s activities, etc. It can be easy to lose track of time on the road so setting reminders ensures you don’t forget those important events. The app is also great for setting casual reminders to give family or friends a call or to FaceTime. It’s easy to put your head down and work, then look up to realize how much time has gone by. Don’t let time pass you by, and let relationships become more distant, because you aren’t physically at home with your family.
Quality time with your spouse
As a long-haul trucker, you know you have limited time to spend with your spouse. It’s important to find that time though because being on the road can be strenuous on a relationship. Make a point to do something, just the two of you, when you’re home. Maybe consider trying out a new shared hobby or activity so that you have something fun to look forward to when you’re back
Stay on the same page with your spouse
Being on the road can create a disconnect between you and your spouse, especially if you don’t maintain good communication. Home life is totally different when one person is away the majority of the time and the other is in charge of maintaining the household. If something happens at the house, like the fridge goes on the fritz, it’s up to one person to solve the issue. It can be stressful, and kids can add to that stress. Make sure you talk with your spouse to understand what it is you can do to make their life easier. It’s important to talk things through rather than rant about frustrations.
It can be easy to lump all of your time off into one big vacation, but there are pros and cons to that approach. It’s always nice to unwind for a week or two, but on the flip side, that means you won’t have much time off after that. If you burn all your paid time off at once, you’ll be committed to the road until the following year. Instead, think about spreading those paid days off throughout the year, and taking multiple quick trips. This is especially beneficial if you have kids because you’ll never be gone for a substantial amount of time.
At the end of the day…
Family comes first. No matter what’s going on, if your family is in a pinch and needs you, be there. There will always be another load to haul, and if your fleet is understanding, they will work with you. If not, it’s probably best to find another fleet to work for.