Peter asks: Do you or your spouse have to travel for work?

Peter’s leaving on a jet plane… and Lisa hates when he travels for business.

Photo: DallasEventsInc/iStockphoto

Well, it’s business travel season for me again. Most of my work travel is concentrated to May, June and later in October. As it stands now, I have to be away from home for several days at a time for the next three out of four weeks, and two out of four weeks next month. I don’t travel for weeks at a time — it ranges from one to three nights, but that’s enough for both me and Lisa, and the time away definitely takes its toll on us and the kids. We have a routine with the kids (it might not be a great routine, but it’s a routine, nonetheless), including Addy’s school drop-offs, etc., and we’ve become an OK-oiled machine at bedime. But everything gets derailed when I have to go out of town.

This stresses out Lisa and I (Lisa in particular), on top of the stress I already have because I hate to fly — and I don’t find back-to-back meetings particularly enjoyable. Needless to say, this can cause… errr… friction at home and that doesn’t help either of us.

I know travel can cause problems between spouses and other family members because my dad had to go overseas on business a lot when I was a kid. He was away for much longer stretches of time — sometimes three weeks or so — and I remember it being stressful.

I get aggravated with Lisa because even though she knows what’s entailed on business trips (always being “on,” for example), she reminds me to no end how hard it will be for her at home, how much easier business trips are, and how at least I’ll get quiet time in the evenings and will be able to sleep soundly in bed, without the kids. She knows I have to go, but she doesn’t like it. Obviously.

Lisa gets aggravated with me because everything falls on her when I’m gone (and it’s not like she can take a vacation from her work to deal with everything), and she doesn’t have a hell of a lot of patience. The kids don’t always listen to her, and both girls — especially Peyton — are really (really) into Daddy right now, and the incessant crying for me (much like what Peyps did on Saturday when I went golfing with my father-in-law and she was at home with Lisa whining for me) drives her a little batty.

We can’t be the only ones in a situation where one parent has to travel for work. What do you do to make being away smoother on your spouse, kids and the household in general?

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