We all try to be there for our families, day in and day out. But there are times when business calls (or pleasure) and you have to leave your spouse and kids for a few days or a week. This is a very trying time for all involved. Whether a business trip or a fishing trip, the situation can create long days for your partner and the kids back home. Contrary to popular belief, this can also take a toll on Dad emotionally while he is away from his castle. To make everyone happy or at least content, you have to make the most of the days before departure. Your pre-trip decisions may be the most important parts of the trip.
As your trip draws near, you have to concentrate on your packing and trip organizing. No choice here, but several days before packing, make sure you plan for things your family will need. Consider creating a list of information they can access while you’re away. Write out all necessary info about your trip; flight info, hotel info, location, phone numbers, etc… Also, if your trip is an extended one, make appropriate assignments for all house and fatherly duties that cannot wait for you to return. Make adjustments for responsibilities like kids pickups/drop-offs, taking out the garbage, kids’ sports and recitals, and chores like lawn mowing and laundry. None of these or other chores should be left unchecked as unwanted surprises for the remaining house members. You also know that anything not listed will be things not done. Not mom’s fault, too much on her plate. To make it easier for her and the kids, you might want to write these items out as well.
One good surprise you can leave your children is a new toy, DVD movie, or video game. Instruct your spouse not to break these open until after you have left. This will give mom a much needed break and keep the children busy. Again… if your trip is for a week or two, you may want to buy a couple of these items and have your spouse spread these out over the duration of your trip. Many dads enjoy video games too, so this may be a plus for you when you get back! Don’t forget Mom as she may also enjoy a bottle of wine or a good book, so don’t skimp on these presents. These purchases won’t break the bank, and will give them a little something to keep you in mind.
The most important job you have is to spend quality time with your family the days before you’re gone. Nothing spells trouble like only doing “me” things the week before a trip. You may regret it. Not only will you probably be thinking about your wasted time, but your partner will probably let you know about this later. This is not a good time to be selfish. Some family options are going out to eat, catching a new movie or going to the mall for some shopping. It really doesn’t matter what you choose to do, as long as you spend the time with your loved ones. For some of us men, this is actually tough to do… but well worth the effort. You will have plenty of time for your own fun. Show your family that you care, and it will be self-rewarding now and after. This preparation does not guarantee your trip will be worry free, but it can make it a little more relaxing.