It is fantastic to use technology to balance home and work.
A while ago my husband, Darren, was doing work that required him to travel out-of-state for two weeks at a time and then work at home for two weeks. Our family is a close one. We enjoy each other’s company and like to hang out, laugh, watch movies, and music videos together. So having him gone for extended periods for a long period of time was hard on all of us. But, I put on my big girl panties and my fake it until I make it (with work) dress and decided to make the best of the situation. I put technology to work and created a workaround.
First I gave my son a pre-paid cell phone and let him text his father as much as he wanted. Even though Darren could not always text back immediately, he would text back when he was able and this made my son feel like he was still in touch with his dad. My Spelie already had her own cell phone with unlimited texts and she and her dad had some great conversations throughout the day. My twins got me to send emails to their daddy during the day and liked it when he responded to them later in the day.
Second, and this has a funny story attached, we used Skype. Each morning my husband and I would start a Skype call and as the children woke up they could come and talk with their dad. They all got to see their dad and pray with him before they went to school. At dinnertime, I would put the computer on the kitchen counter and we would all eat dinner together. The kids also had private conversations by taking the laptop with them to another room. It really made the children feel better to be able to see their Dad each day. The funniest thing is that Darren and I would start a Skype call in the evening and each go about doing whatever we had to do: I would write and do household stuff. Darren would work on his sales stuff. It was nothing fancy, just living life, but being able to see and hear each other.
A few times we fell asleep with the call still going on and the Spelie walked in because she heard her father snoring. She laughed at us falling asleep together. We used our technology to stay in touch and stay connected. Being able to see each other via the internet and video calls made our relationships stronger. Instead of being alone and out-of-town, Darren spent evenings with us, just like when he was at home. When the children missed their father, they could talk to him and see him. Technology kept us from falling victim to the notion of “out of sight, out of mind.” I even got to hear my husband snore, just like when he was at home.
It is hard to be homesick when you can hear your children bicker and tell them to hush. The video conference call enabled our family to act like normal. It enabled all of us to act like normal and have close to normal life. Darren still got to tell the kids his corny jokes. I still got to tell the kids to ask their father questions. It was a way to make the best of a bad situation.
If you are a family that has one member who travels for work, use technology to keep your family close and connected. Things like cell phones, text messages, email, and Skype can make the away periods better. So, the question for you this fantastic day is what is your secret for making work travel bearable?