How would you feel if your spouse's job involved travel?

Sep 30, 2007
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VA (DC Burbs)
My husband is possibly interviewing for a job which would involve minimally 90 days of travel a year - and not within the US, but to developing countries. I think it is very exciting and something he has wanted to do for a long time so I do wish him well in this. So far a head hunter contacted him, he sent in the resume and the contact person for the job found it interesting and is discussing the resume with his colleagues... so 'maybe' an interview will come out of it.

So, things are still in the 'wait and see' stage, but it is one step closer to having to really think this through.

Currently, he works in downtown DC. He's gone 11 hours a day, 5 days a week and sometimes works evenings/weekends. The work is stable (gov't job) and he does find it rewarding, but there's really no way up and he's not really interested in the next level up anyway - way too much work for too little compensation (again, gov't).

So... this position would take him to Latin America and Africa and perhaps Asia. He would go for a couple weeks and then be in his office in DC between times. His salary would definitely go up, by about a 1/3 I gather from looking at the salary data the last few years. More money would be nice, for sure.

Now.... currently, I'm staying at home until our youngest is in school (he'll be 4 in April - so one more year). We also have a 12 year old in 7th grade. If he goes, my role won't change super significantly since I already do the school, homework and afterschool things, but my gut is telling me if he is going to be COMPLETELY gone every 1 out of 4 days a year, trying to work while taking care of everything else will be crazy. If he were gone just a couple days here and back, Ok, but he'll be gone for two weeks (including weekends) and then back a couple weeks and then off again. That takes a LOT of organization and structure to handle that....

but military wives/husbands do it when their spouses are gone for months and obviously single parents do it, but is it a GOOD choice to do when we could possibly manage it with me home?

I miss working, but I also know I have to reeducate (been out for 5 years) and that juggling family and work is hard (BTDT with first sone)....

are there things I'm not thinking about with a spouse that travels so much? I know we'll have to work on keeping the spark, but if he's happy with his work, then that helps.

Any thoughts to help me process this?
 

twin53

O.G.
Jan 24, 2007
5,320
4
i was an army brat, a navy wife and a corporate wife. i know i'm just used to not having hubby and dad home a lot. make the best of it. if DH is happy then that's the biggest plus. no way did i want my DH to turn to me one day and say it's my fault he's not where he wants to be career-wise because i didn't want to transfer or want him to travel. you don't want to be a liability. KWIM? i know a few corporate wives who have derailed their husband's careers because they didn't want him traveling or a corporate move. and now they regret it. but then as i said i'm used to the lifestyle. it's a trade-off but then marriage is a trade -off. and my boys turned out just fine too. good luck - everything always works out for the best. at least in this economy your family has choices. take care.
 
Sep 30, 2007
2,747
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VA (DC Burbs)
No way would I ever try to derail DH's career... now, he's derailed mine, but that was our choice since he earned twice what I did.... it's more... I know he'll ask what I think. Honestly I think he'll be a better spouse if he's happy at what he does, but if he asks me about ME going back to work.. this is where I'll start to not know. If I could secure a great part time job while we transition into me going back to work that would be great. But those are hard to find.

Also, I was looking at taking class this fall... how do I handle that successfully without wanting to pull my hair out. That I can do it, I know, but I want what's best for ALL of us, not just me, him - the kids are primary... if dad is gone so much, Mom should be there more. My older son has issues with ADHD and my younger we suspect some level of autism spectrum disorder (though minor). They need lots of structure and stuff.
 

HauteMama

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Sep 22, 2006
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My dh travels quite a bit. Sometimes he is gone for three or four weeks and home on weekends, sometimes he is gone two or three weeks straight with no weekends home. Still other times, he may be home (in the office) for a week or a week and a half.

I guess I don't consider it much different from everyday when he is home (less laundry, fewer dishes, cooking smaller amounts, etc.) except the lack of just having someone around for support - even if they don't actually DO much to lessen the work you do - hits you harder than you might think. It is hard when you have been used to having someone around in the evenings to have them gone. And it is harder for HIM than I usually think, too. It is long hours travelling, and he misses being home as much as we miss having him here. It seemed exciting and different at first, but the novelty wears off quickly and he can get exhausted just thinking about his schedule.

I stay at home with our children, and we could never make his travel schedule work if I did not. I think it is so important to have at least ONE parent home when the kids are, as they miss their dad a lot. When he is home, they are all inseparable; I might as well be invisible as far as the kids are concerned! But I don't think they would cope as well with both of us gone for the better part of their days. So while he travels this way, I will not be returning to work, at least not outside the hours the kids are in school, which really restricts possible hours.

If you guys think this would be a good opportunity, then think it through and decide if you both can handle it. The first year or so will be the toughest, and then you will be more used to it, but it can still be difficult sometimes.

Be sure to consider pension or retirement as part of compensation, too, as gov't jobs commonly have pretty good retirement bennies and healthcare. Consider how much of his raise you would have to put into retirement and/or healthcare before he accepts the new position, as if those numbers increase it might not be as great a position as it seems.
 

Swanky

Admin
Admin
O.G.
Jan 12, 2006
86,912
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Mine travels more than that and I have 3 young children, you just adapt.
Currently mine is out of town Sunday night thru Friday evening. It's hard, but like everything else, you adapt!
 

ilovepinkhearts

J'aime coeurs roses
Dec 28, 2007
6,601
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Texas
i personally couldn't handle it. and i know that the boys would miss daddy way too much. he has had to take a few business trips, though they were short [long weekends] and i have missed him and the boys did as well.

if you truly think that you can handle it and that you will be ok putting off the things that would make you happy, that is something that only you will know.

i wish you and your family all the best!

[maybe sit down and talk with the whole family about what might happen, and get a feel for how the boys would feel with their daddy being gone for 2 weeks at a time]
 

lovemysavior

Acting My Wage
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Aug 10, 2008
3,589
166
Beautiful Earth
My hubby recently got hired for a company that travels. The last time he was out of town he would commute a 250 mile distance to come home for the weekend. He did this for 7 months. We had three children under 13 at the time he was traveling. I was working for half of those 7 months he was gone then had to quit. The first three months he was gone were sort of easy because my parents live near by and there was a lot of support. After the fourth month kicked in, I stated to get anxious because I was now full time at home with my 2 y/o while our other kids were in school. I must admit, it was very difficult. Especially being that he is the discipliner of the home. My children became irritable and would tell me constantly that they missed Dad.

When he finally was done working out of town, we sat down and made a big decision. We put our priorities first and decided that NO job was worth him missing out in our day to day lives. He put in for a transfer at his job which meant he was still working for the company but he had to take a pay cut. We decided that it would be easier to adapt to lower income than to adapt to the role of a single parent.

In our opinion, money never comes before family. Money comes and goes but you can never buy back the years of your children's youth. That's how we see it anyway and it has worked out.
 

claireZk

Member
Jun 18, 2007
11,892
3
My bf subcontracts and he'll basically work wherever he can get the best contracts. Sometimes it's local (which is awesome, because he gets per diem pay + his regular rate), but other times he works out of state for weeks at a time and only comes home on weekends. I work crazy hours too, and I like having time alone, so it doesn't bother me. We very rarely fight, because we have time to miss eachother. We're both a lot happier now than when he worked 10 mins away.
 
Sep 30, 2007
2,747
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VA (DC Burbs)
I know this will not be easy to work through, but BEFORE we got married he said his dream job would be basically this. So, this is not just about money - the money is just an added bonus.

I have to say... part of me would look forward to him being gone for bits of time. Don't get me wrong, I love him A LOT, but he's another person to clean up after, cook for and take care of. I do ALLLLLL of that now. He basically pays the bills and reads to the little one every other night and checks older ds's math homework when he's having trouble. He can do some of that via the computer and online chats.

I do all the cooking, cleaning, homework, school stuff, extra curriculars, laundry, garbage, etc. DH gets home at 7 pm, has dinner and then spends the next 1.5 hours with both kids and anothe 1.5 hours with older son - he DOES spend time with them, but he's not like the dad coaching them and hanging out on weekends. DH is a very independent person and can basically handle "family" time for only so long. He's a good guy... it's just who he is and respecting and understanding that makes us all happier. And it's not like he won't be home ever.

For things like discipline, we both do it as we see it and always have been pretty much on the same page with that stuff.

So, for work..... it actually would DECREASE. but the lonliness factor would be an issue. BUT... if he DOESN'T take this job (or another higher paying one) we can't afford for me to be home any more. We have basically stretched it as long as we can financially. Money is tight and right now we are living in a house that is worth less than we paid for it (by a little bit).

But... if he gets a higher paying job AND its one he loves, I can stay home. We'll have to look at the benefits of course as they go, but so far the gov't benefits haven't been any better than any other job he has. He just needs to stay for a couple more months to hit the 5 year mark and get in on pension stuff and it will take that long for it all to play itself too. Already it's been over a month just getting this far.

Things I also worry about are - how do you keep the spark alive if you start to develop separate lives? He wouldn't be going to the same place overseas all the time, but different places all over the world. coming home for weekends from Thailand, wouldn't be an option.

Things that are great and would be interesting are the travel opportunities (we love to travel), but we couldn't do it as a family much since travel for even three people (if he's already there) is so costly.

I don't know.. I'm excited for him, but I have my worries too.
 

lmkhlh2006

L.a.m.b. Lover
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Jun 26, 2007
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My husband had a job for about a year where he was gone M-F every week (sometimes weekends too) and I hated it. I missed him constantly and he was working around 18hrs a day, so calling him to chat wasn't much of an option. I'm not a clingy person and I don't need to be around people all the time (I love being at home by myself for a couple of hours before he gets home each night) but I dreaded coming home after a crappy work day and not being able to see him to talk about it. Sure he would call me eventually at night but it wasn't the same as him being here and wrapping me up in one of his big bears hugs and making me forget what my crappy day was about. The worst thing was feeling like we were saying goodbye all the time, as soon as he was home he was leaving again. We were both quite happy when that job was done with, now he travels a couple of times a year and that's perfectly fine.
 

GirlFriday

Member
Mar 30, 2008
4,112
1
If he's just gone just for trips here and there...a couple weeks here a couple weeks there then I think that's easy to adapt to. It might be hard at first, but you will get used to it. I think it's hard when they're gone for months at a time or for over a year.
 

Zophie

Member
Feb 14, 2007
8,871
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New Orleans, LA
My friend's husband travels a good bit for his work, in the US and other countries too. I actually talk to him more about it than her because he gets sort of lonely when he's gone I think and starts calling people to chat. He likes it but I think it gets tiring. He said sometimes being alone in a new city isn't as fun as you'd think because there's nobody to really do social things with. My friend is a SAHM and loves being such so it's not a big deal to her, but I do notice she calls more when he's gone too.
 
Apr 17, 2007
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I have this situation and I would not want anyone to go through it. Your husband will not be gone as much so it may be ok with just a few unpleasant situations. It has strained my marriage. My husband is in the army. He has been gone for deployment for 15 months and training for months at a time. I have had to go through a miscarriage alone deal with break-ins at our apt and many other scary things. Being in a new area where you do not know many people was what made it stressful. I found that I had no one to help out and was very frustrated. So called new friends would not help either because of their own commitments or it was a bother. I was not one-sided in my friendship either. I did tons of things to help all of them and had even given them money for things they needed. I remember one stressful time this summer when I first returned to italy waiting for hubby to get home everything happened at once. I had many health problems come up , my cars alternator had been broken by my neighbor and the a/c in my third floor apt would not work and it was 100 degrees in there with me and my pet. I was having tachycardia, fainting spells and all sorts of problems with my thyroid. I could not get anyone to take me to get food, rent a car or go to and from the hospital emergency room or get anyone to help me find a place to stay with the a/c problem. We do not have tons of money to just hire anyone and pay 100.00 taxi rides for any trip but it was no choice. I was so stressed. I finally was able to get the car fixed after a few weeks of waiting on the car part from the us . I had to pay about 1000 usd for a rental car for 2 weeks, taxis while I was waiting on an automatic rental car to become available and hotel for a few nights. I even had to stay in the car after it was fixed some nights because of the ac problem. It was too hot for me and my pet in the house. I did not have my hubby there to help and I was extremely sick and so scared. I would say have a good support system in place before he starts traveling. It is important that someone can be there for you if something goes wrong. I could not imagine what would have happened if we had children. You are right they need to see one of you and it might not be a good idea to start the class with his new job. Is there an online alternative for this class?
 

MiuMiow

O.G.
May 6, 2008
527
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I don't have nearly as much on my plate as you so I'm not totally qualified to wade in but here goes anyway. I think a parttime job (depending of course hów parttime) could be too much, with your boys at this age and so much going on. But the course is defo a great idea to start off. However much you love DH and support him, you don't want to end up feeling like you missed out. Trust me that I know what I'm talking about there. Starting off with the training/retraining will let you get into a routine slowly, where you are doing all the family things but still being 'an independent grownup' a little while each week. As the training progresses, your boys will be getting a little older and you'll be able to evolve jobwise as some more time frees up.
 
Jul 21, 2006
12,966
1,750
Southwest Florida
I actually don't know how I'd feel about it, but it looks like I'll be given that chance soon. My husband has had the same type of construction job for almost all his working career and for the first time because of this stinking economy, he will be laid off by April. He is now taking a test and has applied for his license as a Public Adjuster and Home Inspector which he can do blindfolded, but it may involve travel. We'll see how we feel about this.