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How do you cope if your DP travels a lot?

(36 Posts)
VotePedro Tue 26-Oct-10 14:05:47

DH travels a lot for work, mostly short trips of a couple of nights but also longer trips of one to two weeks at a time. To make it worse the longer trips are often to places where the time zone means it is difficult speak to or skype with DS (2.6). DS reacts REALLY badly to these trips - he has disrupted sleep often waking up three or four times a night shouting "Daddy Daddy". He is constantly asking for "Daddy cuddles" and today he has spent the whole day wandering round with a picture of his father gazing sadly at it and saying things like "Daddy's gone away on an aeroplane SIGH". He's often pretty angry with DH when he gets back too. I find it difficult because obviously he's too small to understand why DH has to go away and DH doesn't seem to get how important it is that he tries to skype/phone everyday if at all possible. Am also about to have DC2 any minute and dreading coping with the two of them alone. Anyone with any tips/experiences that can help me along?

spotofcheerfulness Tue 26-Oct-10 14:21:42

No suggestions I'm afraid but bumping this thread for you as am in the same situation. smile

bratnav Tue 26-Oct-10 14:24:35

Feeling your pain. DH is awY on a 3 week course leaving me with the 4 DCs. No practical advice other than to keep them as busy as you can

VotePedro Tue 26-Oct-10 16:01:07

Ah well at least we are suffering together now! Spotof and Bratnav - how do you find your DCs cope with it or not as the case maybe?

sungirltan Tue 26-Oct-10 16:09:42

hi all.

my dp also travels away for work. he is a diver. dd (1) is ok when he is away but super unsettled when he's back. i think because it mucks up her routine etc. i have a friend with a diver dp - her dd's are 2 and 4. dd1 behaves exactly like op's ds. she pines for her dad and does things like wearing his clothes and aftershave to bed and nursery. i fear i have all this to come because dh is home a lot in winter and away nearly all summer. he thinks it will just work out because he makes a lot of money and we can afford a nice lifestyle. i am worried dd will suffer like this very soon.

Ghoulfriend Tue 26-Oct-10 16:12:21

Not sure I cope - just survive! DH away this week (originally had annual leave but it has gradually faded away angry) and I am trying to entertain 3 children 7,5 and 20 months but failing miserably sad

The children are used to it although are always counting down the number of sleeps until he's back.

Litchick Tue 26-Oct-10 16:31:01

Dh is away a lot (been gone a week now, not due back for another).

My DC do miss thier Dad, but we just get on with it. I am very matter of fact about it iyswim.

sungirltan Tue 26-Oct-10 16:32:30

i find the general disruption hard going though to be fair now dd is older dh is much better and pulling his weight when he is here :-)

i am trying to get back to work in the next few months and dd is starting nursery. wondering how that will affetc things.

MassiveKnob Tue 26-Oct-10 16:32:58

dh travels all the time. He will call us morning or evening, no matter where in the world he is. He will set an alarm and wake in the night if necessary. Even calls from some aeroplanes when they allow it.

We just carry on as normal, because it is normal for us. Always has been since before dc born.

escorchio Tue 26-Oct-10 16:38:18

Our DCs do miss their Dad very much, but he makes a superhuman effort to talk to them at least once a day - usually breakfast, and if he can bed time, regardless of time zone. We've been able to manage it going in either direction, which has meant lots of times he has spoken to them at breakfast, just before he goes to bed and vice versa.

Normalising it was really important for us - ie it is no big deal, Daddy just has to be away for work sometimes.

A couple of good friends to help too, with no family around was invaluable, just for adult conversation. I always found weekends hard though when they were tiny. Much easier now they are 6, 8 and 10.

It does get easier. <<brave smile emoticon>>

Joolyjoolyjoo Tue 26-Oct-10 16:39:01

DH is in the navy, so has been away for long stretches throughout the kids' life. They are a bit upset when he is going, but soon settle down- I think we have such a routine in place that life just carries on, iykwim? Also I am lucky enough to have my dad next door, so they see a lot of him, which probably helps (and certainly helps me!)

So in summary, any support you can get and a good routine I think!

Duritzfan Tue 26-Oct-10 16:40:41

My dh travels a lot too - he is away all week and then occasionally has to do two to three week trips away ..
I have to say I found it very very hard indeed when the children were smaller - and I was younger .. Now I try and make the most of the time I have here alone with them ..I eat the food I want, watch all the rubbish tv that he hates - Greys anatomy, Private Practice etc and have lots of bubble baths ..I MN a lot too !

Its really hard tho .. We do speak on the phone or email each day and we make sure we get a date night ..we had time at Relate where we worked out that this could only work if we didn't have to sound every weekend playing catch up on the week ... So we now have debrief every Friday afternoon so when he comes home he knows all the stuff that's happened that week and what to ask the children about..
That way we actualy get a weekend of family time rather than my constantly having to explain stuff all weekend ..
We try and make weekends special ..
I think we have got a good system going now ..not sure what will happen in the future tho as I am about to have number 3 in the next couple of weeks....[ hmm]

sungirltan Tue 26-Oct-10 16:48:53

jooly - you are right of course re the routine - its just that dh insists on interfering with it when he is here even down to what dd is eating for breakfast at the time. meh.

durritzfan - food for thought about the debrief - thats a good idea though sounds like your dh has better memory than mine? i catch dh up with things all the time but he doesn't remember :-(

we find it hard having no social life in common though. our conversations goes like this; me: so i went to x with my mum friends, a,b and c (dh has met them once). dh: thats good, i went for a meal with d,e and f (i have never met them, they work with dh but dont live in plymouth like us) f's wife is pregnant again!. me: (glazed expression).

VotePedro Tue 26-Oct-10 16:49:17

I agree sungirltan the disruption is a massive part of it especially as for us the travel is quite unpredictable and the weekends are a killer. Think I will try and hammer home the contact aspect with DH as very impressed at the efforts some DH's seem to go to! Escorchio - it really does help to know it gets easier (though I guess it will get worse for a while first in my case!)

GhastlyandUgly Tue 26-Oct-10 16:52:40

For me I actually find the longer trips easier as I plan a lot of exciting things for us to do - having friends, for example, round is a great distraction and really tires them out.

The shorter trips which DH does at least once a fortnight are tough as they are always mid-week and it's hard getting us all up, ready and out (I work full-time). DH is good about calling the DCs and we talk about where he's gone a lot to get their interest up but like the OP we do sometimes have behavioural issues which can only be down to DH's absence.

VotePedro Tue 26-Oct-10 16:53:06

Ooh good luck with DC3 Duritzfan I have nearly a month to go and I swear people have been asking me for the past two months "Must be any day now eh?" Er no but thanks for making me feel like a walrus.

FerminaUrbinoDaza Tue 26-Oct-10 16:53:33

My DP is away 4 nights a week, every week, which is tough but at least predictable for the DC (16 months and 2.10).

He's rarely able to speak with the DC on the phone and skype just doesn't happen sad. DD sometimes has terrible 'MY PAPA' attacks which I find really hard to deal with. Does your DS know his days of the week? DD finds it comforting to know that papa will be home on Friday and all weekend.

When she's sad and missing him I always try to acknowledge her feelings but concentrate on the positive. "yeah it's a tough time missing papa isn't it, I really miss him too. Papa's so lovely isn't he. He'll be at home aaaallllll day on saturday, what would you like to do then?'

I involve him a lot in conversation, so instead of just saying 'I love you so much' I make a point of also saying 'mama and papa love you so much'. Talk a lot about what she can do with him when he's home, that sort of thing.

TBH I can't really suggest anything else other than keeping busy.

Ragwort Tue 26-Oct-10 16:54:39

Actually I find it harder now that DS is older (9) - he misses his Dad dreadfully, he is a real Daddy's boy but also will not speak much to him when he phones - almost as if he wants to 'punish' him for being away. However as we've just had a horrendous phone bill for overseas calls we will have to seriously cut back grin - also I agree with sungirl that it is quite difficult talking on the phone as there is so little 'common ground' - last week I was freezing as the heating had broken down and he was complaining about temperatures in the 30s !!

No real solutions - but after over 20 years of marriage I would find it very hard to have a 9-5 husband ! (I love being on my own!).

sungirltan Tue 26-Oct-10 16:58:35

votepedro - find weekend hard too. i got really isolated when dd was about 6 months and made a huge effort to go to baby classes and meet other mums. dd and i now have a busy week and i have plenty of mum friends but this doesn't change the fact that i am alone every evening and usually at weekends because all my mum friends natually do things with their own dh then.

i have recently found a regualr babysitter though so i can go out a bit more and get to the gym etc - it not all bad news and i feel guilty for complaining.

my dh rings every day and talks to dd on phone and skype as much as he can but if he has no signal on his boat its just tough :-(

Joolyjoolyjoo Tue 26-Oct-10 16:58:44

Suntangirl- I am lucky in that DH is happy to just slot into our routine when he comes home: guess he knows who is boss around here wink! I think I must be a bit of a control freak, because I don't like my routine to be disrupted blush

As it is, DH is home for a week this week after 4 weeks away, and will be away for another 4 wks come Sunday. I think I find it more difficult to adapt to him being here than the children do!!

Duritzfan Tue 26-Oct-10 17:01:02

I didn't say he always remembered !
But it's better than it used to be ..
I agree that keeping in touch with each others lives is the hard part .. I barely know his team at work, he barely knows my friends .. But this is the way it has worked out for us and so I am trying to make the best of it..
The times I hate most are when the kids are sick or I'm sick and I know there's no one coming home that night ...I know we aren't supposed to play the it's like being a single parent card here on MN but a lot of my life does feel like that .. I make all the decisions for the children ..its on me to do parents evenings and hospital appointments and make sure they are ok...when I'm sick, theres no one to take over .. It's hard . But the phone calls help - when the kids were young I did my fair share of calling him at work in tears ..have got over that now but it's very hard sometimes...

I know it does get easier as they get older though - if only because you get to have conversations with the dc about things and so at least don't feel completely "mummied out" !

Hang in there , and use the time alone to your benefit ..small things like slobbing out in your pjs all night and eating ice cream on the sofa really make a difference !

YunoWhatYouDidLastSummer Tue 26-Oct-10 17:03:28

Tip 1: Tell your ds how many sleeps until Daddy gets home. My 2 find this much easier to understand, and they feel more involved somehow when they can confidently tell people that "Daddy will be home in 3 sleeps".

Tip 2: Make his return really low key. Dh just wanders in the door and joins in whatever we're doing. Hugs and hellos are okay, but no frantic "DADDYYYYYYY!" and hysterical clingy greetings. We find this makes the most of the time he is here.

Duritzfan Tue 26-Oct-10 17:05:13

Votepedro - ooh .. I go in next Friday for a. C section ..
Have felt like a walrus for weeks now! ( have polyhydramnios and so am mahoosive !)

Good luck with yours .. I have managed to get dh to be home for a whole week ! God he'll probably drive me crazy grin

Duritzfan Tue 26-Oct-10 17:06:17

I'm remembering that we used to keep a calendar in the kitchen when ours were smaller and every day they could cross a day off until daddy came home - that helped..

toddlerama Tue 26-Oct-10 17:14:54

Yes, we do that for longer stretches (a week or so) with the calendar. DH is away a minimum of 2 nights awake, which is usually 3. I just act like it's no big deal so that the DDs don't get upset. I always think they're fine, but if they are particularly tired or upset about anything else, the first thing they do is howl for their daddy. sad

It's been like this since before they were born, so they don't know any different.

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