For a truck driver with a family waiting at home, time on the road can be bittersweet. The job is rewarding and fun, but it’s also hard and isolating. If you have kids, you may feel especially worried that your time away will hurt the family’s happiness. This guide outlines some of the difficulties of commercial truck driving and offers ways to ensure you still get quality family time even while away.
The Challenges of Raising Kids as a Truck Driver
Over-the-road truckers can spend days or even weeks at a time away from home, which can be hard on parents and children alike. Because of tight schedules and unexpected delays, you can’t make it to every game, recital, and event your children have, and this absence is always hard to deal with, even when it’s expected. While you’re on the road, your children will also be growing, experiencing new things, and developing new interests, and you’ll wish you could see every new development.
You’re sure to miss your kids and family while you’re away. While that’s true for any job, loneliness is a common and serious issue for many drivers. It’s normal to make friends with other drivers while on the road, but these connections can be short-lived and don’t fully compensate for the time away from your family.
Spending long tracts of time away from home is hard enough, but the uncertainty of a driver’s schedule can put additional strain on family happiness. Because you may not consistently receive the same routes, it’s hard to schedule family time in advance, and you may not be able to predict how long each route will keep you away.
How to Find Balance Between Work & Parenting
Communicate Openly & Frequently
Clear, honest communication is a truck driver’s best tool for staving off loneliness and overcoming unpredictable schedules. Regular voice and video calls with partners and children help you stay present in their lives during long hauls. Use this time to update them about the trip, tell them about the places you’ve seen, and ask them what they’ve been up to.
You must also be open about expressing your needs to the family. If you’re always tired after a trip and need an evening alone upon arriving home, take the time to explain that you’re excited to see everyone but need rest first. If you want to hear about specific aspects of their life while you’re gone, expressing that directly can help your kids be excited about upcoming calls.
Engage With Your Children
Young children can have an especially hard time understanding why one parent is gone so often, but you can help them understand by engaging them in your work. Make matching maps where you can mark routes. During calls home, you can discuss where on the route and map you are and how much further you’re going. You can also make your presence felt by setting goals with your children. Try reading the same books while apart and talking about them during the trip, or challenging one another to reach a goal between calls. Even older children can benefit from this type of engagement.
Working as a commercial truck driver is a challenging and rewarding career that benefits your family in numerous ways. If you’re interested in learning the tools of the trade, reach out to Hamrick School in Medina, OH. For over 40 years, this fully accredited trucking school has helped new drivers earn their CDL and get started in the wide world of commercial transport. They offer multiple levels of training, always emphasizing professionalism, and they have a robust financial aid program. Learn more about their admissions process online, and call (330) 239-2229 to speak with a team member about enrollment.
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