Everyone is diffrent this is how we did it for over 5 years!
There are millions of blogs, articles, podcasts, and books on learning how to balance work, home, and pleasure. We have a different approach to learning how to balancing all aspects of life. We say that first you have to give it to God. I know that sounds easy. A quick prayer, “god please help me balance everything that you have given unto me.” The hard part is not the prayer it is actually giving it to God. I like to give to god but keep a small line of floss tied to it. Then when it is not going the way “I” need it to go I give it little tug and take control of the balance.
Let me start with the fact that I have been traveling 50-75% for the last 3.5 years with my last job. Let us go back even further than that though. Exactly 6 months prior to my roll changing at my last “job”, my wife and I turned down the opportunity to travel about 6 times because we would have had to separate. We had been married for 11 years and spent less than 3 nights apart since our wedding night. In addition, those 3 nights were rough. In fact, it was supposed to be 5 nights but my wife pulled the kids out of school and drove 8 hours 2 days early because we were both going crazy missing each other. I’m pretty sure that when god heard us turn down an opportunity for free travel and the ability to get in front of youth to help them grow he said, “watch this, yall are in for a shack up.” It was not 6 months later, my roll changed at work and I was “asked” to start traveling if I wanted to keep my job. It was supposed to be one tour of our company. That turned into traveling 50-75% time for the next 3.5 years.
Now do not get us wrong we are not complaining at all. In fact, I have thoroughly enjoyed traveling. I enjoyed the attention that came with the traveling; everyone would ask where are you going this week? The would oooo and owww over my life and say man I wish I had a job like that. Even though I enjoyed going places and seeing “friends” coworkers, I hated leaving my family every other week. Nevertheless, it became a habit for me. The kids got used to it, the dog got used to it. My wife on the other hand, she never acclimated to the new roll. I get it, she was stuck at the house taking care of our four kids, the milk cows, her chickens, horses, the dogs, cats, PTO, volunteering at the school, running the kids to lacrosse, acting, gymnastics, orchestra, dr appointments, and grocery shopping…. I cannot imagine why she hated it every time I would head out of town. It definitely strained our marriage at times. When that happened, we would eventually pull our heads down to our hearts and ask god for help.
He guided us to some better time management practices that we want to share with you. We are not saying that these will work for you, but they did work for us. We started setting up times to spend with each kid individually to do something they liked. It might be hunting, going out to lunch, playing a video game, or having a nerf gun war. Each child is unique and we wanted to make them feel special. We also took up camping on the weekends. I would get home Friday head straight for the house where Jenna would have the truck packed and ready to go. We would load up and go explore a national park, or mountain where we could just set up our tent, and chill for a day. Another thing we did was make sure that every weekend we did at least one thing as a family. Sometimes we played a board game. Others we would chill and watch a family movie. We made sure to make time for our family together and for each kid individually.
As I said, traveling was hard on marriage at times. I take full responsibility for all of the fights, all of the hard feelings and every single ounce of disrespect that ever happened during those times. We found that we were both putting up a shield a distancing ourselves from each other so it did not hurt as much every week I would leave. So we would have a great Friday, Saturday and by Sunday afternoon we started the distance, so it wouldn’t hurt so bad to leave. How to help with that? We ended up spending more time in the evenings…. Talking. (I know what you were thinking) we found TV shows that we wanted to watch together and would spend time just being close as we watched the shows. We read books to help us work on our marriage. The five languages of love helped us more than you can ever imagine. Eventually we get to where we stopped distancing ourselves and started embracing the time we did have together. We started living for each other.
We made sure to put priorities our lives. I know that sounds super easy but it is actually not easy at all. I have a quick exercise that I am going to ask you to do. After you get done shoot us an email or leave us a message with our answers. What are the 3-4 most important things in your life? Of now, prioritize them. For me it is God, Family, and Work. Ok now that you have yours think really hard, are you living with those proorties? I was not. God and family had taken a back seat to work. I made goals and took action to re prioritize life and get it back to what I needed. I started getting up 30 min earlier every day and spent that extra time in scripture and prayer. Then I made sure that I scheduled work around family. When the boss said I really need you at this location this week. I make it clear that I have no issues going there but it will either have to be an extremely short trip, or I can push it back a week and do it right. My family started coming first. I should mention how awesome and understanding my wife is. Last year I missed her birthday because I was told I needed to be in a certain area and my priorities were not straight. She never complained, but I should have never put her in that situation.
The whole point of this is to let you know that it is ok if your life is not aligned with your priorities right now. However, do not wait to get it straightened out, because you can always make more money, but you can never get back the time you missed with your kids, wife, and God.
I would like to take a moment and give full credit to God for everything that has every happened for me in this life. He is the reason that I live. In addition, I know that I went through that season of life for a reason. He needed me to learn something so I can help others.