Being married to a trucker can certainly take its toll on your sanity. When you’re new to the industry, it seems like every hiccup in the road is a crisis. Even if your a seasoned trucking spouse, there are times when even the simplest of problems can turn into a complete code red.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in the industry for a week, or 20 years, your attitude towards the lifestyle and the job will make all the difference. It can be difficult to keep a positive attitude when it feels like your world is caving in around you. Your thoughts flash to a happy trucker, travelling the countryside without a care in the world – which we know isn’t the case, but still, they aren’t here to deal with the madness that we are stuck in at the moment.
Whether you are a new, overwhelmed trucking spouse, or a seasoned, roll with the flow spouse we’ve got some great tips to help you adjust, rebalance, and try to keep a positive attitude about the lifestyle.
#1 Go on a Run with Your Spouse
It can be difficult to understand what you can’t see. The day to day job of life on the road is far from travelling the countryside taking in all the beautiful wonders along the way. While your home stressing about getting the kids to after-school activities and dealing with a vehicle breakdown, your driver is on the road stressing about making deliveries on time and finding a safe place to sleep for the night.
Jumping into the cab with your spouse will shed some light on the life of a trucker. Even seasoned spouses should take a run from time to time because it can be easy to forget what’s happening out there on the road.
#2 Take Control of the Situation
This is a tough one, especially if you are used to making decisions together and sharing responsibilities. As the non-trucking spouse, the responsibilities of the household fall on your shoulders. The chores, the children, the new purchases, etc. will largely depend on your decision making and motivation to get things done. It can take some time to develop the take-charge attitude, and even after you develop it, it can become exhausting. You need to rely on yourself first, reaching out to your spouse for assistance when the situation calls for it. You’ll also need to decide what needs your immediate attention, and what can wait. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family for help, or even hiring someone.
#3 Don’t be Afraid to Learn New Skills
Trucker spouses often develop some Jack of All Trades skills as they pick up the common roles and responsibilities done by their trucking spouses. Don’t be afraid of the new challenges that you’ll be faced with. Learning to cook, or change a flat tire can be rewarding. Over the years we have spoken with many trucker spouses who have picked up skills in plumbing, mechanics, landscaping, painting, cooking, baking, carpentry, hairdressing, costume design, and so much more. Google and YouTube are likely to become your new best friends, especially for simpler tasks. It’s unlikely that you’re going to learn to replace your car’s transmission but changing a battery, a flat tire, or a headlight becomes something you can do with a little research and an easy to follow how-to video.
#4 Learn to Roll with the Life
In trucking, there are a million things that can go wrong. Your driver is on their way home when they get a flat tire, or they are dispatched on an emergency load which means a turn and burn, or they’ve been kept waiting at the shipping dock hours longer than expected. Learning to roll with life will keep you from stressing out when things do get delayed. This is probably one of the most frustrating things to learn to deal with and no matter how long you’ve been in the life, the disappointment of delays never really goes away.
Encourage your trucker to use broad language when letting you know of his expected arrival time and learn to interpret what these things really mean. No driver is ever home at a designated time. Using broad terms like “late afternoon or early evening” sets a time without leaving room for disappointment to set in when they are delayed by an hour or two. Another great language term to use is “if everything goes according to plan.” This is especially useful for the return trip when there are days left on the road. Anything can happen between now and then, so while your spouse is expected to return on Thursday, there is no guarantee that will actually happen.
#5 Keep Yourself Busy
Learning new hobbies, spending time with family and friends, volunteering in your community, completing projects around the house, and even obsessive cleaning can keep your mind from missing your spouse. The worst thing you can do as a spouse of a driver is to put your life on hold while your trucker is at work. While it can be difficult to push the guilt aside about having fun without your spouse at your side, chances are, your spouse doesn’t want to do all the same things you want to do. While your spouse is away, focus on the hobbies and activities that your spouse wouldn’t mind missing, that way when they are home, you can spend time together doing things that you’ll both enjoy.