Making Money Missing Time

Let’s talk about this touchy subject. While you are out making those wheels turn to bring in money to support your family, you are missing time with them. Events, moments, birthdays, holidays. Let’s dive into this and how you can make it work.

Parenting as Truck Driver

Now let me address this right off the bat. We are team drivers and our kids are all grown and out of the house. When they were little however, my husband was a driver and I was only a trucker’s wife. It wasn’t until the last ones were in high school that I became a driver. So my authority in this department in my opinion still stands.

The Toll it Takes

Being a driver is never easy and being a driver’s wife, is in my opinion that much harder. If you have a great marriage like my husband and I, even then it is rough. Let’s discuss why, from each perspective.

Driver: You are out making money and this makes you proud to take care of your family. You are making those wheels turn and hoping that God doesn’t decide that today is the day to call you home. You call as often as you can, you face time, you work towards being home so you can relax and enjoy your wife and kids.

You take your 11 hour drive times, and you plan. You hope you aren’t late to a shipper or receiver, you do your best to be the most informed you can. You send as much money home as you can and live on peanuts because that is what is best for the family. You work towards getting that time off so that you are away from your steel steed for 3 days.

Driver’s Wife: You are mom and dad. You are worried about that man/woman on the road with every fiber of your being. You want to help your 7 year old understand that mommy/daddy can’t be home for their birthday so that they can be home for the next big holiday. You have to explain to your 4 year old that mommy/daddy wants to be there to fix their boo-boos but he/she has to be out on the truck so that they can eat everyday.

You wake up exhausted and go to bed in fear. Praying that the phone doesn’t ring and it’s the police telling you that they found his/her rig in a ditch or that they were hurt in any way. You run each day to the best of your ability playing both parental roles and hoping that your kids understand. You hope that they see that you both love each other and that they aren’t just some visiting relative that stops by once in a while. All of this while trying not to let the kids see you cry. Because it is hard dammit. On both you and the driver.

Things you can do that help

  1. Schedule calls if possible. Keep it routine. This way it feels like you have some semblance of order for you and your kids. It isn’t always easy to do this but so worth it.
  2. Send text messages and pictures. About 20 years ago before cell phones were big, it was so much harder to do this without your driver. With the invent and accessibility of cell phones it has made this much easier.
  3. Get the kids involved. Track your driver on a map. Let them put pins in. Have your driver send pictures of what they are hauling if allowed.
  4. Talk about it when you get home. Set up calendars if you can. Check the days off until the driver is safely at home again.
  5. Work together on discipline. Let your kids KNOW that the driver has authority as well.
  6. Work together for each other. Being mom and dad is hard, but so is being the driver. TALK. NOT FIGHT about things that are concerning to each other.
  7. Remember with all else… It is always YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE AGAINST THE PROBLEM, not AGAINST EACH OTHER.
  8. Turn off distractions when your driver comes home. Make that a routine if possible of things that you all do as a family ad as a couple.
  9. ENJOY the little things.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Adapt this list as it works for your family.

Trucking is a lifestyle not a career

Always keep this in mind. For most of us it is in our blood. So as a family it is often found that if one member is a truck driver it is generational. Keep that in the forefront of your mind. Diesel runs most of our dreams and hopes. Those white lines on the road are the mistress that keeps calling us out. It isn’t that we don’t WANT to be with our loved ones, it is that we WANT to provide for them the best way we know how. Looking out that windshield, controlling that much steel is exhilarating for some of us. For Leslie, she jokes that if Optimus Prime were real, Mike would have a run for his money. That is what this industry is for OUR family. You have to define it for YOURS.

Happy Trucking

Les

2 Comments

  1. Thank you Les for the excellent article on the how to guide to parenting as a truck driver. There are circumstances unique to your profession that will make this an indispensable source of information for others who are facing the challenge to raise great kids while making money to support their family.

    I was not a truck driver but worked at the post office during evenings and over-nights for years before I was able to get a day job. This resulted in my wife sometimes feeling like I wasn’t present when in reality I was just trying to make a living to support my family.

    The advice that It is always YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE AGAINST THE PROBLEM, not AGAINST EACH OTHER is always important to remember, probably the greatest point in your whole article.

    Did you ever find that your children were bitter for your husband having to be gone so often for his truck driving job?

    1. I did find that they were hurt, but not bitter. Our youngest son is a diesel tech. So it is in his blood too. However, I did find that they didn’t always understand until they were older. And to be honest as parents we have to accept that piece of it. Those are the choices we made that we thought were best for our family. As they say hindsight is always 20/20. 

      Thanks for the reply. I appreciate it. If you have any other questions please feel fee to ask. I am happy to help.

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