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Travels of a Trucker Quality Family Time

March 25, 2012

As a trucker and a previous OTR trucker, I know what it is like to be missing family. To be missing out on the lives of your children and not seeing your loved ones or sleeping in your bed. Things around the house don’t get done. The yard does not get mowed. The kids have aggravated mom, mom is feeling that she has no energy left since she has to feed the kids, take them to school, clothe them, bathe them, make sure they do their homework, clean the house, take the garbage out, and more than likely she also has a job so she has to do her work plus she has to make sure she gets back in time to get the kids from daycare. This is just a few things, but over time the additional work load can of course create a rift and a division in the family over the way the workload is shared around the house. As a man and being an OTR trucker, I can sympathize from a drivers’ point of view. We work long hours, 18-20 hour days with no thanks from our dispatchers. And this is not just one day but many days in a row. When we get home we are tired and we just want to relax stress free. But yet, as soon as we hit the door mom is bitching and complaining that she wished she had our job. Well mom, let me tell ya let’s trade a day and you walk in our shoes. Getting up, having coffee with no shower for possibly 2 or 3 days at a time. Dealing with inconsiderate Shippers and Receivers who make appointments that you have to speed like the wind getting to putting life and limb at risk with no recourse since if you don’t like it the door is over there and they will look for some other gullible trucker to do the load. Then having to stay awake and drive until you get there regardless of conditions. There is lack of sleep, lack of good quality food among other things. Being able to sleep in a nice warm bed, putting on fresh clothes after a nice shower in the morning is nice. Eating a healthy breakfast before starting off for work and seeing the children is a blessing in disguise.

But anyways, this article is not about justifying either side of the equation. It is about that quality time we have as drivers when we come home to be with our families. Of course we are all tired and just wish we could sleep, sleep and have more sleep. Unfortunately sleep will always be there, but we won’t be and our children will not be living with us forever as they also grow older and become independent. So what do we do?

I am a firm believer that family time is a quality time. There should be no distractions. Work should be put aside during this time. Dispatchers and employers should be told that the phone will be off and that this is family time. Being firm and direct is the best option. Do not set yourself up to saying I will be available to preload before I go or I will have the phone on in case you need me. This sets the door up to the employer needing you more often than not when a situation arises. As an example. I was working for a guy where I was working the whole day and suddenly he would call me and say I have a hot load to Vancouver Island. Well wanting the night off or work?? That was the option. Of course I went to work, but I could have just as easily said I have plans. The point being when we become nice to our employers and do every bidding they ask, they will continue to walk over us as drivers since we are nothing more than revenue in their pockets.

So how do I spend my quality time? First I tell my dispatcher that I will be gone. This sets the point that I will not be available until I am ready to go again. Not when they want me to go again. Secondly I make a plan. I will decide that I am taking the kids to the park or to the beach and stick with that plan. There is nothing more hurtful to a child than setting them up for failures by not doing what you said you will do. Not only is this a bad reflection on you, it is also teaching them bad ethics and children are like sponges. They copy what we say and copy what we do. So once you decide where to go, have a budget ready. Are you going to starve them until you get home? Will you feed them a lunch or a dinner when you are gone for the day. Setting a budget is better than going out on a spur of the moment idea that will cost more than you want to spend. Instead make a plan where you will eat. Will it be the favorite place you know you wont spend and arm and a leg or will you budget for a treat to make a picnic of your day out.

My children at the beach today

You also need to listen to your children. In most cases a day at the park is an agreeable choice for a whole family. However, not all children are outdoor lovers. Perhaps your child doesn’t like water. Maybe they hate getting dirty. Whatever the case, be prepared with alternatives. As an example, instead of the beach, perhaps a movie night out for the whole family. Maybe a trip to the museum. Perhaps a couple of hours in an indoor swimming pool. There are many alternatives out there and as long as you and your family have agreed you will all have fun.

In the end, it is all about spending quality time with your family when you are home. It is about bonding with your children and your spouse showing them what love is about. It is about helping your spouse with the childcare duties when you are home. It is about being a role model to your children as they see how you spend time with them they too will learn these traits as they get older and have families of their own. Above all, whatever and however you spend quality family time make it count and enjoy it.

I hope you enjoyed reading another article of Travels of a Trucker. I look forward to hearing from you. What, where and how do you spend quality family time??

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Thanks for reading, be safe and drive safe!


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One Comment
  1. Your kids are lucky to have you. I know from talking with you, how much you care for them. I hate being away from mine the time I’m at my day job. I can’t imagine being gone much longer.

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