You ever met a management consultant or some other crazy person who travels 300+ days per year? It kind of makes you wonder how they have time to have a life. Yes, some of us do have lives outside of the job. The thing you have to get comfortable with if you’re going into a job which requires this time of travel is “having a life” has to look a little different than the life what your friends working industry jobs experience. When you have a family where one of the parents is on the road four days every week, it’s no easy task for anyone involved. There are some things, though, that make the time apart a bit more bearable. I’ll give you five quick tips now in no particular order.
The Parent Who Isn’t a Consultant Stays Home Full-time
This may not always be realistic, but when you have young children as I do, it significantly reduces stress to know that your other half is the one looking after your kids. There are some good daycare programs out there and probably some better nannies, but nobody loves your babies like you do. When your mind isn’t stressed about home, you’re also more productive at work. Win-win. Additionally, if you are in a profession where your assignments are project-based with small, gaps of downtime during the year, it allows the family to take advantage of impromptu vacations. If you roll off of a project unexpectedly, you can have a mini vacation or “staycation” if you’d rather spend your time off getting reacquainted with your bed.
The Parent Who is The Consultant Takes the Kids to School and Picks Them Up on Fridays
If you’re able to work from home on Fridays, do whatever you can to drop the kids off at school or pick them up. It doesn’t take much effort and it means the world to them. You’ll also find that it means the world to you. There’s nothing like having your precious little one running to you with open arms. It never gets old.
Video Chat With The Family as Much as Possible
Even if it’s just for 15 min in the morning or 15 min before bed, I promise you this will make your whole day. In fact, it will make EVERYONE’s day. It gives you that recharge you need to feel like you can withstand (almost) anything work can throw at you. If I had to order this list, this one would probably be at the top.
Take Turns With Your Other Half Doing Your Own Things for Fun
The parent responsible for the day-to-day care of the children most likely is taxed from the week and feels like he/she needs a bit of a reprieve when you get home…give it to him/her. It doesn’t need to be an all day event, just an hour or two will provide plenty of relief. It’s an unwritten rule at my house that bedtime and first line of defense from the kids in the mornings are my job. That gives my wife at least another hour buffer to get rest somewhat peacefully. You can also offer to watch the kids while your significant other decompresses with a workout or something else where they don’t have to listen to 3-foot dictators barking orders at the top of their lungs. Just making the offer goes a long way in boosting morale. While you need to look out for your other half, taking care of yourself is equally important. Being on the road for work has some perks, but it’s still work. Make sure you take some time to read, go to the gym, hit a few golf balls, or whatever is you do to unwind. It’ll help keep you balanced.
Do Family Errands
Time is precious so once you’ve had your fun, do the family errands together. It may take a little longer to get done, but what else you were going to do? You’ve already done something fun for yourself and you shouldn’t be working, so there’s really no excuse, right? I realize you might not always want to chase the little monsters up and down the aisles of Costco on a Sunday morning, but they’re yours and you love them, and they miss you, so make it happen.
Even if it’s one of these kind of days…