Managing the Kids While the Husband is Away

How many times has someone told you, “I don’t know how you do it!” and you just laugh it off and say it’s not that bad. What they don’t know is that you are quite possibly on the verge of a breakdown because you forgot to send Henry’s lunch to school, Sally ran to the bus without her coat {it was only 20 degrees out}, you spaced out the kids’ dentist appointment, and it’s been three days since you’ve showered or had any conversation with people over the age of ten.

That’s right. We are oilfield wives, and we put on our capes and pretend that we can do it all. Some of our friends know our dirty little secret {and we like to vent and confess on Facebook}, but overall we do a pretty good job keeping up that front. You know as well as I do that WE CAN’T do it all. It is damn hard taking care of everything while the husband is gone to work for weeks at a time.

Fortunately, there are things we can do to make managing the kids easier on ourselves.

My lifesaver? A calendar. Not just any calendar, the MASTER OF ALL CALENDARS. This is where I write in football, dance, volleyball, choir, doctor appointments, dentist appointments, meetings, conferences, and every little detail of oh, you know, EVERYTHING. Seriously. If it isn’t written on my calendar, it does not exist in my mind. That is probably why I was still in my pajamas with full bedhead this morning when the cable guy showed up. I forgot to write it on the calendar. In fact, I haven’t filled October yet. FAIL.

Another thing that helps me hang on to that last little bit of sanity? I’ve learned to ACCEPT HELP. Really. This fall, Tuesday nights were pretty much IMPOSSIBLE for our family when the hubs is at work. Imagine this: Kids get home at 3:45. My boy has choir at 4:15. Daughter has volleyball game at 5. Twins have football on the other side of town {1/2 hour drive!} at 6. Daughter has dance from 6-9. Not to mention that we now have a foster baby who has to adjust to our crazy schedule. And supper? Ugh. Thank goodness after a few weeks of this, my Uncle volunteered to help me out with the twins’ football rides, as did another total-stranger-football-Mom. I let them help, and it was just awesome. You know what? It’s *hard* for me to accept help. For some reason, I’ve always felt that it means I am failing as a mother. Once I finally accepted help, I felt so much better and less stressed. Try it. You won’t regret it.

Let things go. No one is going to die if you don’t have all your laundry washed, folded, and put away. Sure, your kids might go to school in day-old underwear and unmatched socks, but that’s okay. It happens. Your house does not have to be spotless.

Enlist help from your kids. Have the older kids read a book or play games with the younger ones and give yourself a break. My kids have been AMAZING with our little foster baby. Not once have they complained, and often times, they volunteer to feed her a bottle or play with her so momma can do something else! Chores? Make a chore chart and stick to it. If you and the kids do a few quick chores each night, it makes for much less housework in the long run! Quality family bonding time, right?

So, how do YOU do it? How do you manage your children when you are on your own and the husband is hundreds of miles away? Share your tips below!



  1. I have a calendar, but I use the one on my phone that syncs with my laptop and iPad. That way I’ve always got it with me! I start the day checking out my daily ‘itinerary’ on my iPad while I make breakfast. Everything is on the calendar, and everything has some kind of alert so I’ll actually remember! Still, things slip through the cracks, and I just have to learn to cut myself some slack. And yes, asking for and accepting help is huge! It doesn’t mean you aren’t a good mom, it means you’re a GREAT mom!

  2. In the last few weeks I have accepted help from Mom’s who offer it all the time!!! I Normally I never do and just mange through it with a lot of stressful moments. I felt like since I am all they 75% of the time it is important that at least one parent be there for them. My husband has been working in the oilfield for 6 yrs and before that he was in the Army for 15 some how I have manged, lol. The last few weeks of allowing myself some much needed it help, I feel as if thousand pounds have been lifted off my shoulder!!! I love this blog! Reminds that thier other family’s out there in the oilfield with crazy lives like ours. Thank you

  3. Ok here is my question about accepting help….my hubby has been in the field more than out but why is it everyone is so helpful when he’s working a normal job but as soon as he’s back in the field I have to pay for someone to help? His last stretch I didn’t hear a word from his entire family for the 28 days he was gone and my parents NEVER offered to watch my kids but would if I asked which makes me feel guilty for asking so much.

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