How to bring home on the road

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Wisconsin idyll home timeMany aspects of the trucking industry require extended time away from home. Most long haul truckers average three and a half weeks a month on the road. Having a family at home and actually feeling like an integral part of that family is often difficult. A lot of relationships suffer, and it’s sometimes just as hard to come home. The transition from being alone all the time to being submersed in family activity is often just achieved when it’s time to leave again. Communication, balance and understanding are extremely important and absolutely necessary to continue growing strong bonds with significant others when you’re not able to be with them.

COMING HOME CAN BE AS OVERWHELMING AS BEING AWAY | A one-person show operates however that one person chooses. It’s difficult to change everything up and flow with the wishes of multiple personalities at a moment’s notice. Allowing the driver some decompression and re-orientation time is essential to good home time. Meeting someone at the door with every problem you’ve encountered during their stay away makes it extremely difficult for the person coming home to relax and take it all in. Studies show people are better at problem solving when they’re rested, and less likely to give up on assigned tasks. Just a couple of hours in the recliner before giving the “honey do” list can make the difference between it being accomplished and becoming a fight.

Budgeting home time can make the most of the days (or hours) you have there. Although it may be difficult for extended friends and family to understand, your critical focus when you’re home is the people you’re closest to. Setting aside time for the others is an added bonus if the hours are available.

Modern conveniences, like cellphones, tablets and laptops have made it much easier not only to communicate but to actually see your loved ones on a daily basis. Facial recognition is an ingrained psychological response that begins when you’re born. The brain releases dopamine when the optic nerve triggers a familiar response. Just the act of looking at the face of someone you love can make you feel better instantly. Looking at a picture can achieve this response, but movement and noise from the picture causes a greater release and engages the brain in a completely different way.

Pretty much every wireless service out there offers a data plan, and prices can range from $10 a month to $200. There are unlimited data plans, which are the best value if you want to have actual, live interaction on a daily basis. Face Time, Tango and Skype are all popular web-based communication services available as apps for cell phones, and all three are free to install but use quite a bit of data and require some sort of data plan to operate.

Couples who see each other on a daily basis actually speak to one another much less than couples maintaining a long-distance relationship through phone calls. The reasons are fairly obvious — the couple spending time together is able to do things together without having to speak, whereas the long-distance couple relies on verbal communication only. It’s easy to wind up with nothing to say when you’re not sharing experiences on a daily basis. You can only re-hash the daily events so many times before it becomes the same-ol’/same-ol’ and true communication is not achieved.

Planning activities both partners can participate in can open a lot of avenues of communication. Something as simple as watching the same television shows can offer interesting topics of conversation. The website “Loving from a distance” has a lot of fun, simple ideas for different things to do, together, when you’re not together.

Having close family ties while being away is absolutely possible. It requires dedication and understanding, and like any family situation, there will be trials and tribulations. Figuring out how to make it work for your family might require tweaking, but it can be done.

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