by Pride Transport | Jun 15, 2022
Parents know that raising a child (much less multiple children!) is a full-time job with a unique set of challenges. For parents with jobs that keep them on the road, maintaining a healthy family life can feel like an even bigger burden. Variable schedules, distance, and pay can be stressors for truck drivers who are striving to raise their families.
But having a healthy family life while working in the transportation industry is certainly doable! Being a truck driver with a family requires being able to juggle life on the road without putting your partner or kids in the back seat – physically or emotionally. Don’t worry! There are ways to do this confidently and without any guilt.
Make the Most of Your Time at Home
Especially for single or separated parents, showing up physically and emotionally for your child(ren) and other family members is crucial to fostering good relationships. Single parent truck drivers, specifically single mom truck drivers, might feel extra societal pressure to find a manageable work-life balance – which even two-parent families find extremely difficult to juggle.
Prioritizing quality time can make all the difference in your relationship with your children. Harvard Business Review reported “Children’s emotional health was higher when parents believed that family should come first, regardless of the amount of time they spent working...And, not surprisingly, we saw that children were better off when parents were able to be physically available to them.”
Quality time with your family is not something to be taken lightly, and working on the road can make the physical time hard to find. This makes it all the more important to make the most of your time at home. It might sound like silly advice, but we mean it! Just like military parents, truck driving parents who spend time away from their kids on a regular basis can commit to setting aside specific time to give undivided attention to their kids (and partner, too!).
Take Advantage of All Forms of Communication
Although driving schedules can be flexible, truck driving will inevitably make it hard to have consistent communication with your loved ones. But that doesn’t have to mean you miss important milestones or let relationships fall to the wayside.
The good news is that it’s never been easier to stay connected while on the road. Make sure you make the most of all the different ways to stay in touch in the twenty-first century, such as:
- Video chatting over Facetime, Zoom, or Skype
- Talking on the phone
- Sharing pictures on social media
- Texting (as long as it’s not while driving!) using kid-friendly apps like Messenger Kids or JusTalk Kids
- Playing virtual games together like Words With Friends or Wordle
- Reading the same book to chat about when you’re next together
- Watching a movie together on Netflix using Teleparty
- Bringing one of your kid’s stuffed animals along for your ride and taking lots of pictures along the way
- Sending good old fashioned postcards from stops along your route
Use Your Time on the Road to Engage in Self-Care
Driving a truck for a living teaches adaptability, reflection, and independence. Not only does the profession require physical stamina and a strong knowledge of mechanics and the technical components of your vehicle, but it also asks a lot of you mentally. Spending that much time on the road can get overwhelming at times.
Use your time away from your family to manage your expectations about how you’re able to show up for them, and be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can to strike a good work-life balance! Being behind the wheel so often can lead to feelings of loneliness, but you can reframe being alone on the road as an opportunity to do good work for yourself. Listen to your favorite music and podcasts, enjoy the chance to travel and meet new people, and spend your downtime on trips partaking in your hobbies.
Although it sounds like a contradiction, focusing on yourself can actually help you show up better for others. Chances are if you have a partner, they feel lonely when you’re gone, too. When it comes to romantic relationships in particular, striking a balance between time together and time spent engaged in your own careers and hobbies is important. Shared experiences give you things in common; personal time allows you to foster your own identity and take a break to process and respond to any stressors you might face at home.
Remember the proverb “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and take it to heart! Having an opportunity to pursue your own interests can build your self-esteem and might even make your homecomings sweeter. And who knows? Maybe your partner will even want to join you on the road at some point!)
Know that Your Job Offers a Different Kind of Stability
Don’t feel bad about committing to your career! At the end of the day, truck driving can be a lucrative career that gives you the opportunity to provide for your family. Driving might take you away from your family sometimes, but a job is a job and you’re doing your best to make a living. Keeping this in mind can help you feel secure in your career and grateful that you can support your loved ones.
A career in truck driving offers just as many – if not more – pros than cons, and the pay is a compelling reason why family-focused men and women should pursue truck driving. According to Indeed, the average truck driver’s salary in the United States hovers around $70-80 thousand. This lets you support your family financially with an above-average annual income.
Companies like Pride have a family-focused culture with competitive pay and benefits so you can feel confident providing your family with a comfortable lifestyle (and feel like you’re part of a working family while on the road!). Visit our website to learn more about job opportunities.