Extended time away from home is a primary concern for a lot of truckers - it means long stretches of time away from loved ones, and a sudden shift in the lives of your family's day to day routine. For both parties, the one on the road and the one at home, navigating this period can be tricky - but, there is hope. With the below tips and reminders, long haul assignments won't seem so scary:
Understanding Roles & Expectations
In a lot of instances, drivers are the primary breadwinners of their families, so the pressure to succeed and earn is heavy on their shoulders. Equally as important is the roll of whomever is staying at home to tend to the family and insure the home base is running smoothly. Respecting the stress and weight of the demands each role is vital to communicating effectively about what to expect during this stressful time and any expectations that may need to be met.
These periods of separation when on the road can be made even more stressful if communication is not clear and consistent with your family. Be sure to include your partner in any decisions you're making about employment and assignments so they feel like you're all on the same team. And conversely, home base partners should be open and honest about how they're feeling and any decisions they need to make about family life so that the driver is included and still considered present, despite their absence.
The decision to leave home and family behind to support spouses and kids is not a decision many drivers make lightly.The decision to put their comfort aside for the betterment of the family is noble, and supporting them emotionally in making that decision is very important. Communicate frequently, and often, and let the driver know how much their sacrifice means to the family. Being reminded of your "WHY" is always a great motivator to continue on in tough times.
Equally is important, is support for the caretaker at home. Being the family manager is stressful too, and feelings of abandonment can quickly creep in if drivers aren't good about praising the work also being done at home. Remember, they're just as lonely, and deserving of praise as the breadwinner.
Trust is a must. If jealousy is a problem before heading out on the road, you may way to consider staying home. Having to worry about partners expectations and emotional issues due to jealousy can be distracting and cause drivers to perform poorly, which impacts everyone negatively. Having trust and nurturing it by communicating honestly and openly are the only ways to enduring these long stretches between home visits.
In the end, surviving long hauls and time away from home comes down to understanding, communication, support and trust. Be good to each other, support each other, and most importantly, don't waste any time you do have together.