We are both musicians, which means there are times when we’re away from home for weeks at a time, playing and traveling to gigs. No lie, that can be a strain. If you’re dad and you travel for your work, you already know this. When you’re away from home, Mom is stuck with everything that puts the mess in domestic—from diapers and cleaning up toys to dishes and laundry. That’s rough enough, but if she feels like you don’t appreciate her covering your ass while you’re away, it can really put a strain on your relationship.
Don’t let that happen. Even if you have to be away for a while, there’s a lot you can do as an enlightened, next-level dad to make travel easier for your baby mama and better for everybody. But first, let’s draw a clear line between two kinds of travel:
- Mandatory travel. This is usually travel for work—a conference, a meeting, a project, or just something where your presence is required. You have to go on these trips to do your job, so it’s reasonable to expect your partner to be cool about such travel. This could also be something like taking care of a sick parent, but hopefully, that’s rarer.
- Optional travel. This is travel by choice, usually for fun. It might be guys’ weekend, a trip to a big game, a bachelor party…and so on. It should be obvious that if you have a partner at home with one or more little ones, you’d best be ready to get on your knees, beg, and—this is the most important one—plan your travel around what’s convenient for your partner.
Now that we’re clear, here are some of the big and small things you can do to make sure you’re greeted with hugs—not a pissed-off baby mama—when you get home from the road.
Call or FaceTime at least once a day.
Your family wants to know that you’re thinking about them when you’re gone…and hopefully, you are. Sure, just between us, it’s great to have a break from domestic bliss, but Mom and the little ones want you to miss them, because they miss you. Make time for at least one call, FaceTime, or Skype every day—the more, the better.
Get stuff done before you leave.
If your travel is planned well in advance, it’s on you to knock as many things off the honey-do list as you can before you head for the airport. Focus on anything that will make life easier, more convenient, more comfortable, less stressful, and safer for your family while you’re away: household repairs, car repairs (including checking the air in the tires), stocking up on groceries, picking up new books or games to keep the kids busy, and so on.
If Mom is open to this, hire somebody to help out while you’re traveling. This could mean anything from hiring a cleaning service or nanny if you’ll be away for a few weeks to just finding a neighborhood kid to take the trash to the curb and walk the dog. Whatever you arrange, your partner will appreciate it. And if you decide not to arrange anything, they’ll still appreciate the thought.
Finally, be prepared to kiss Mom’s ass when you get home. You owe her, and you’d better pay off. Give her a weekend where you do all the housework and childcare, send her to a day spa, cook dinner…do whatever it takes to say “Thank you.”
This post was previously published on www.dadsknowbest.com and is republished here with permission from the authors.
Read more from John Luzzi and Don Miggs:
As fathers, we should be less worried about who will pass us, and more worried about who we are leaving in the distance.
You’re going to be a dad!
How To Be There for Your Baby Mama and Take Care of Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind in the Process (Interview)
Where can an expectant father turn to get advice? Start here with this interview of Dads Know Best co-authors John Luzzi and Don Miggs.
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