Helping our Toddler Cope with Daddy’s Job

A few weeks ago I shared how our son told daddy not to go to work EVER AGAIN. Thanks to this community of road wives, I got some great advice about how to cope.

20140912_125138I got a cheap map of the US and taped it to the fridge. I cut out a photo of daddy’s van and glued a magnet on the back. Whenever he asks, “Where’s Daddy?” we walk into the kitchen and I show him. He also knows how to find Nashville and where his grandparents live, which is really fun!

We’ve also changed our tone. When he misses daddy or asks where he is I say things like, “He’s playing a big, awesome concert!” or “He’s rockin out on his guitar!”.  My former response was just, “He’s working”, but the added enthusiasm has helped. (And it helps that our son loves wild and crazy concerts!) Anything to keep him excited about dad’s job.

I’m also teaching him the days of the week. Toddlers have no concept of time but I’ll point to the days, also on the fridge – under the map, and show him when dad gets back.

Do we miss dad any less? No! But I hope these are healthy steps in helping him cope.

What do you do when your kids have missed their dad when he’s on tour? I’d love get and share more ideas. That’s what this community is for!

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I Need You

This week, for the first time ever, I got to feel what it was like to be the unavailable person in the relationship. This time it wasn’t bad cell service in small town venues or traveling abroad. It was dunking my phone in a toilet. For 24 hours my phone was drying out, possibly dead, in a bag of rice. Coincidentally, my husband didn’t have WiFi so he didn’t get my Facebook messages. We had no contact. Not one text, tweet or video chat. It was like touring in the 80s!

I realized throughout the day how often I call my husband. During those 24 hours I showed our son his new daycare and that’s something I would have called him to tell him all about. I bought a ton of groceries and a few things for the house. I made plans with friends (via Facebook message) and I wished I could have consulted him on some of it. But, because I couldn’t, I just rolled with it! Independent woman over here!

Normally he’s the one that’s hard to get a hold of. I have internet access and a cell phone [with a charge!] pretty much all day. It’s a disgusting balance of being independent because you can’t rely on him but still needing him there for moral support and to discuss your life with. This lifestyle requires us to be independent but doting, self-sufficient but loyal. I want to believe I’m independent and then I have trouble deciding what color sheets to buy or who to invite to dinner next week and I am reminded that he’s with me. I need him. He is a part of every mundane detail of my life regardless of the fact that he’s been on the road for over 150 days this year already. (There have been 239 days this year, for the record). 

Wanna know what the first text I sent was?

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Five on Friday: 5 of Our Most Popular (and Helpful) Posts

We’ve had a lot of new visitors on our Facebook page and a ton of new traffic to the site so I thought I’d do a little recap! Here are five of our most popular and helpful posts.

1. The Musician’s Tour Clock.  This is a post I wrote, complete with a graphic, that shares about what exactly your man is doing while he’s away. 

2. Things only other Road Widows will understand.  Nise wrote this post and it’s spot on. You’ll get it.

3. Things your traveling husband should never (ever) say to you.  These will either make you mad or make you laugh — depending on what day it is. 

4. Blurred Lines. This was a saucy little piece written by Chris, our creator. It’s about fidelity and trusting your man while he’s on the road. 

5. Who We Are. Nise gives us a clear depiction of who Road Widows are (who YOU are) and what we’re all about. 

 

Thank you so much for being a part of this community. What have been some of your favorite posts – on this site, or others?

 

 

Five on Friday: Sometimes irrational and emotional

1. Being annoyed he’s back home. I start with this one, because I JUST went through it. My husband was gone for a long period of time, and when he got home I was happy he was back! But I also found myself getting annoyed more and more with things that normally are… normal. I realized it was because I had gotten used to being alone and my days had a certain rhythm to them. He came home, and it was like a tornado came through my day and uprooted everything. I got annoyed, and he noticed. The important thing is that we talked about it, and it only lasted a day. (It was weird for him, too! He was in road-mode and had a hard time not being on a set schedule, and lord forbid he put the toilet seat down…)  This is only something to worry about if it lasts a long time, and you go from annoyed to resentment. Make sure you talk about your feelings to avoid that from happening.

2. Feeling frustrated with a schedule change. You can’t do anything about it. You know its part of being on the road. I often joke that one of the only consistent things about having a husband on the road is knowing that nothing is consistent. I know this. I accept this. (Sometimes even embrace it!) But… its okay to get frustrated when a schedule changes. Just don’t hold it against your spouse, because its not their fault. They’re probably as frustrated as you are. And while I am sure they appreciate you being flexible and understanding, they also know the times will come when you’re inner five year old comes out and you want to stomp your feet in frustration at the changes.

3. Looking forward to some alone time. And I don’t mean time alone with your spouse. I mean time away from them. It’s a running joke with myself and friends that if my husband is home too long, I start going, “Don’t you have a show to go play or something??” Its a joke. But even my husband knows there’s an element of truth. Its important to be an independent person when you marry a man on the road, and sometimes if that man on the road is around too much, your independent side screams for time alone.  (A suggestion on this one, if you can’t get time to yourself… plan to get up earlier than your spouse. That’s how I get my me-time when he’s off the road for an extended time. It keeps my independent side happy.)

4. Feeling absolutely lost when he’s gone. Don’t let my previous items make you think I wish my husband would go away! That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sometimes when he leaves on the road, I feel completely and totally lost. It’s worst if he leaves when I’m at work. He’s home when I leave, but gone when I come home. My tiny house suddenly feels big and empty. I feel so alone. I know I’ll eventually get into my own schedule. I know we’ll talk on the phone. I know I have tons of friends I could go hang with to fill my time and attention. But in that moment, that doesn’t matter. I’m lonely. And sometimes, I think I need to feel that. So I’m more compassionate to those who are new to “the life” and so I remember how very, very important my husband is to me. So I don’t take him or US for granted.

5. Having a completely mixed up opinion on fans. Oh fans. Fans are what keep our spouses in a job. And for that I think we can all say we are thankful. Its okay, though, to have mixed up emotions and opinions about those fans. There are the fans that end up being friends. I have several delightful people I never would have met had it not been for their being fans of whatever artist my husband was working for at the time we met. Then there are the fans that just drive you crazy, because, frankly, some fans don’t see a line between the musician or crew on stage and the person they are off the stage. Its okay to feel protective of your spouse and your private life. Depending on the situation, I find myself either feeling amused, annoyed and sometimes a little jealous when I haven’t seen my husband in a long time.  Talk about those feelings. Be up front about them. Hold on tight to the trust you’ve built between yourself and your spouse, and know that you are the one they are coming home to at the end of the run. And know it is you they are missing the most.

Missing His Dad

Since moving to Nashville nearly 6 months ago, my husband has been non-stop touring. He’s popped in here and there, stayed home for a week to ten days a couple times. But, other than that, he’s been on the road. It was starting to wear on me and I’ve had a few of those, “I dont know if I can do this anymore” conversations with myself and sometimes with my husband. I’ve gotten used to it, for lack of a better explanation. I’m fine. This week.

I am having a problem with the current tour, though. This problem is new to me: our son, Liam, is missing daddy in the worst way. He’s acting out, being overly clingy, refusing to talk to dad on the phone, crying for daddy before bed, looking for daddy whenever we go out. It’s heartbreaking. Yesterday when I made him talk to dad on the phone he said, “Daddy, you work too much. Dont go to work ever again!“. My husband feels terrible. I feel terrible. 

This is new territory for us as this almost-3-year-old is communicating so much better than he used to. It’s heartbreaking for us to hear him say those things even when we knew he always felt them.

Dad gets home in a couple days and then we’re all going to back to our home state for 2 weeks together. Hopefully our son will get the attention from dad that he so desperately needs. 

My plan, when we return is to try and show Liam where daddy is and when he’s coming home. Up until now we’ve kept daddy’s coming and goings a surprise – so as not to get him too anxious. But we think he might be at the age where he can start to comprehend time and space. So, I plan to teach Liam the days of the week. We’ll get a calendar and we’ll get a map. We’ll talk about what day it is and count how many days until dad is home. We’ll make a magnet of daddy and of us and show him where daddy is in the world. 

Any other suggestions on how to help our son through this? Please share your ideas in the comments or on our Facebook page!

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map via: http://www.awanderingsole.com/

 

Five on Friday: Helping your road warrior get ready for a long run

Sometimes, I feel a little lost as to what to do when my husband is getting ready to go on an extra long run on the road. I’ve discovered a few things, though, that are always a help.

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1. Laundry. It never fails, some item of clothing he wants is dirty and he has an hour before bus call. I have over time figured out, the night before he leaves is laundry night. Make sure every item that can get washed IS washed. And don’t wait for him to get it to you, just dive right into the bag full of dirty clothes and get it all out yourself. He’ll ultimately thank you when he’s trying to get out of the door.

2. Head to the store for toiletries. I’m a planner, so leading up to a long run I start stocking up on things he’s going to need. Medicines, razor blades, tooth paste, etc. Turn that bathroom closet into a miniature CVS pharmacy!

3. Something special for him to take. Some wives might write a note for him to find in his bag. Some might get him a couple pieces of clothing. Me? I cook. The longer the run, the more snacks I send with him. Not just for him but for the whole bus. It’s my little touch of home that he (and all his band mates) can have while riding down the road.

4. Stay out of the way. Sometimes the best way to help is to NOT help. I want to spend every second with him when he’s home, but when he’s packing? You’ll find me stuck to the couch watching TV as far out of the whirlwind that is him packing his bags. Stay out of the way or get run over!

5. Go over the packing list with him before he goes. Did you pack your cell charger? Underwear? Socks? (Yes, one time my husband completely forgot to pack socks.) Toothbrush? Enough show shirts? Gear? My love? I always end with that last one. It makes us both smile.  Cheesy, yes. But ask me if I care. ♥

Who we are

It recently came to my attention that a post was made in social media about this blog that clearly screamed they didn’t “get” who we are. First I was shocked. Then I was, frankly, angry. I later realized the post clearly came from a lack of understanding.

Directly from out About page:

Road Widow (n.)

A person whose spouse or significant other is a touring musician, crew member or artist. Sometimes irrational and emotional, but mostly always supportive.

Synonyms:
Musician’s wife, band wife, musicians wives, band wives, wives of touring musicians, tour widow

254: Showcase
We are the wives, fiances, girlfriends (and sometime even the husbands & boyfriends!) of singers, musicians, crew members, bus drivers, managers, and support staff who tour not just this country but the world. We are stay at home moms. We are working mothers. We are professional women. We are volunteers. We keep our households running while our other half is in let-me-get-a-globe-and-show-you.

Sometimes we get lonely. OKay, we very often get lonely. We find ourselves feeling isolated and like no one in the world can understand our life. Sometimes we find ourselves cursing the road and it taking our loved one away from us for days, weeks and months as a time.

It is in these times we turn to our Road Widow sisters. It’s for these moments that this blog and community exists. We don’t need advice, we need an understanding ear and shoulder to cry on… or to laugh with. Women we might not normally be friends with outside of this crazy lifestyle become our best friends… even if we might never meet them in person.

We exist to keep our marriages alive. Let’s face it, we’ve ALL see marriages and relationships crumble under the strain of the road-life. I’ve witnessed too many divorces in the 7 1/2 years I’ve been married. This blog exists to try to help be a source of strength when it starts to feel just too hard to do. Because sometimes… sometimes it really does feel that way.

Every time we receive a message, comment or tweet saying this blog has helped someone, it makes the time spent writing for it even more worth while. We’ve helped someone, and they unknowingly have helped us through THEIR words.

Thank you to all our fellow Road Widows. We love you all and are here for you any time.