How to Survive the Chaos When Your Husband Leaves Town

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Ever since my kids were babies, my husband has worked a job that requires him to leave town periodically.  With no family in the area and having just moved in when my first was born, I had zero people I could turn to for help.  It was incredibly challenging to be the sole parent 24/7 for them and the experience gave me an amazing respect for single parents.  I don’t know how they manage to maintain their sanity with all of the demands of day and night parenting without a spouse to fall back on.  When your husband leaves town, how do you keep chaos from taking over your lives?  Can you make it to the end of the day without have a nervous breakdown induced by a two year old who decides that the fish really wants to swim in the toilet bowl?  Now that my kids are teens, things have gotten a bit easier but I still wasn’t thrilled when my husband just told me that he will be gone almost all of March for two business trips. It got me to thinking about our previous experiences with his business trips and I thought I would share a few tips that you might find helpful. And learn how to add me time into your daily routine to stay sane!

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 When Your Husband Leaves Town

How to survive the chaos when your husband leaves town

© Bialasiewicz |

1.  Give your kids fair warning but don’t make a big deal of it.  My kids did NOT do well when my husband left at all.  There were tears and near hysteria every single time.  For YEARS!  I would mention the trip a few days ahead of time just to make sure they knew about it but then didn’t bring it up again until right before he left.  Of course, they still cried so maybe I didn’t handle this one right!

2.  Make welcome home signs.  This was our attempt to keep their minds off the actual leaving part of the trip.  Just as he was walking out the door and the tears were starting, I would suggest getting out the craft supplies and large roll of paper to make a welcome home banner.  By the time they were done, dad was gone and the tears were forgotten.

3. Plan meals ahead:  In the weeks before your husband leaves town, put together a few casseroles or a pot of chili and stick them in the freezer. That way, you don’t have to figure out how to cook dinner with a 2 year old screaming on your leg and a 5 year old ‘helping’ you in that oh so helpful way that they do.  Meals also don’t have to be complicated.  Pancakes and fruit, a peanutbutter and banana sandwich, or grilled cheese and tomato soup are all healthy and fast, even if they aren’t exactly ‘dinner’ food.

4. Take your moments of down time when you can.  The kids are finally in bed at the end of the day.  You survived!  But, your house looks like World War Three hit.  Does it really matter if the Lego bricks are still all over the floor?  Not unless that is that path you use at 3 AM to pee!  Do the basics of washing dishes and picking up the worst of it but then sit down and relax!  You need to recharge your own personal sanity meter if you are going to survive tomorrow without duct taping the kids to the wall. Start living streaming TV channels and munching on popcorn!

HOw to survive when your husband leaves town

5.  Plan a few fun activities.  Scheduling time to go to the park or out for icecream when your husband leaves town gives all of you something fun to look forward to.  It also gets you all out of the house and sometimes a change of scenery will do wonders for your mental outlook.  Try and keep your activities simple…no need to plan a trip to the amusement park!  Just taking the kids to feed the ducks at the park can be a lot of fun!

6. Enlist help.  If you have family or friends near by, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Maybe you can swap a few hours of child care with a friend so you can both have some down time. Get the kids to help out more around the house as well.  You don’t have to do it all alone.

When your husband leaves town, you may feel overwhelmed by all of the demands that are being made on you.  Don’t try to tackle too much and make sure you take time to recharge your mental batteries on a regular basis!

How do YOU survive when your husband goes out of town?

Diane Signature


  1. I dont have kids, but I think my friends would definatley benefit from some of these ideas. I think planning is the key, huh? Great ideas.
  2. Planning definitely helps! I don't have kids yet but the pups do miss him dearly even when he's just gone to work.
  3. Planning meals ahead is a huge help. Otherwise, I end up getting completely stressed out.
  4. My wife would argue that I'm the one that creates the chaos and she enjoys the quiet when I'm gone. ;)
  5. I agree with you enlisting help is a smart strategy. I am the opposite here - it's me who ends up going away and leaving husband in charge. I think he usually has a game plan and he manages with lists I live him (he asks for them because our kids have a LOT of sport activities) but I think if the shoe were on the other foot I would seek out help. Even a neighbour can help.
  6. My kids are ok when Dad isn't around. They are use to it being pretty much just mom. But these are great tips for kids who have a hard time with Dad being away
  7. I am a wife of a very hard working shift working husband. So most weekends I am on my own with my kids, and only have my husband home with me a couple times during the week. So although he doesn't "leave town" it can be days before my kids see their dad even for just a minute or two. So I loved seeing the ideas.
    • Im glad you found the ideas helpful. Parenting is hard work and when you can't find a 'break' for a few minutes it can really wear you down!

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