So everyone knows about stay at home moms and stay at home dad’s are starting to become more commonplace in today’s society. What about an away from home dad? What about those of us who can’t be home all the time? What about those of us who are away from home parents?
I learned how to drive a semi while I was working as a mechanic because it was part of the job. I also became a proficient welder while working in the shop. After years of doing this hands on work I developed carpal tunnel and had surgery. After the surgery I found myself much worse off than before and can no longer use my hands to make a living. So now I am driving truck to support my family.
I began driving truck again out of necessity and it keeps me away from home for a good part of the week. There are a lot of us out here on the road that are away from our families for extended periods of time. Some drivers get home every week like I do and we are lucky to only have to be gone for a few days at a time. During my travels I have met other drivers who stay out on the road for a month or two at a time and then only get a week at home before they have to leave again.
Being an away from home dad is a very tough lifestyle especially when you have little ones at home who miss their daddy or mommy. It also puts a huge strain on your marriage because you are basically asking your spouse to be a single parent for most of the week while you are gone. If you can’t afford child care this also makes it very tough for your spouse to have a steady job.
The plight of away from home parents is something that no one talks about but it is definitely real and something that we struggle with every day. Even on the days when you are home there are too many things to do all at once, so you never really get caught up. I have been working on repainting our house since June and now it is August and I’m only about half done. The worst thing about this is you basically have to choose between spending time with your kids, who you don’t get to see, or catching up on all the work that you don’t get to do while you are on the road, you can’t really do both.
The hardest thing for me is being gone when they need me and missing those special moments. The first time my daughter said “I love you daddy” I was three states away on the phone with her trying to keep talking to her through my tears. She is only 2 and most of our phone conversations don’t make much sense but I cherish every one of them. I can’t tell you how tough it is when your wife calls in tears because your kid is being naughty and the dogs are running wild and all she wants is a 5 min break and there is absolutely nothing you can do to help. What if there is a fire, what if someone breaks in during the night, a bad storm, someone gets hurt. These are all things that run through my head while I am out on the road, all the what ifs that drive you crazy.
To get by I talk to my daughter on the phone as much as I can, sometimes she is in the mood and sometimes she is not. Sometimes she wants to give the phone to one of the dogs so they can talk to me too! My wife keeps me in the loop with pictures she sends to my phone. I would like to use a service like Skype but all the truck stops charge for Wi-Fi and Starbucks parking lots are not quite big enough for a semi to pull into. Having a great family is also important to help you get by, grandpas and grandmas who will stop by the house and check on everyone while I am gone, or even take my daughter for a day.
Most of us out on the road are always looking for ways to get off the road. It is my goal to someday make a living in the exact opposite way that I am now, on the road and gone all the time, by never leaving my home! I know that I can achieve this goal in time because every day that I am gone makes me work harder to not be gone. I would like to thank all of you who read our blog because in the end it will come down to all of you who make the final decision whether or not I can make a living from home. All of your support through social media and comments help strengthen our site and give me an opportunity to spend more time with my family, and for that I am truly grateful.