I've noticed questions posted here before on how to deal with this that and the other out there on the road, when it comes to relationships, children, the stresses of life at home while you're on the road, etc. Some helpful advise was in store I believe from a driver to a driver or perspective driver. And please if you are considering driving a truck and have a family or kids READ THIS FIRST!!!
As we all know relationships now days are complicated to begin with ain't like it used to be by any means watching my parents and grandparents. If you're already in a relationship and are thinking about driving a truck for a living here are some suggestions I have before you even start.
1.KNOW WHAT YOURE GETTING YOURSELF INTO-Most companies are going to keep you out on the road for 4-6+ weeks while you're training, you WONT hit the house and you probably won't have a chance to see your significant other or kids for that duration of time, after that you're still going to be gone anywhere from 7-30+ days at a time with probably 1 day off/7 you are out example gone 28/home 4 different companies have different policies on home time plan on being out no less than. 2 weeks with a max of 2 days off. Sit down and talk about it make sure both of you understand and can deal with the time away from each other. If both of you can't deal with it then trucking isn't the career for you. If you can deal with it or think you can I'd advise staying apart for no less than a month, no contact other than a phone call that will help "break you in" and get you used to what you're usually going to go through on the road.
2. KNOW WHAT TO SAY AND WHAT NOT TO SAY-This is a big deal weather it seems like it or not. Things happen out on the road no I'm not talking about lot lizards cheating and all that crap although some people do do that. I'm talking about the day to day life and this not only goes for drivers but their significant others as well. Trucking is stressful anybody that's been driving for more than a week knows the stresses of controlling an 80,000lb battering ram.
For the trucker-dont sit there and stress your significant other out when you're out there and you have had a bad week, aren't getting miles, your dispatcher has pissed you off, you've broke down, you got hurt, almost had an accident, etc. This does nothing but stress them out and guess what they worry about us out here just as much as we worry about them back home. Keep things like that in, yes it is hard, yes it gets frustrating at times and you need to let things out to keep from going insane but your wife, girlfriend, or fiancee is not the person to let it all out to while you're 1200 miles away. There's nothing they can do about it, all they can do is listen to you get pissed off, or sound depressed in the phone and what do you think that is going to do to them? Its not going to cause anything good to happen I can say that from experience just saying.
For the significant other-Dont sit there and tell us about how long your day was at work how the kids were bad, what your friends did, etc that pissed you off etc. Were rolling down the road or parked at a truckstop 1200 miles away theres nothing we can do about it other than listen to make things better and we cannot solve the problem. I realize everybody is different on how they deal with things, me personally i cant do anything ill listen and try to say anything and everything to give my gf strenth and make hee feel better but theres really nothing ican do at that time othere than talk to her and try and get her calmed down and feeling like the weight of the world isnt on her shoulders. What it usually ends up doing is stressing me out or pissing me off which takes my concentration off where it needs to be which is driving that truck and making it home safely. Keep that in mind it takes time to get used to withholding information however sometimes its for the best not to tell everybody everything that's going on at the current moment in time.
Ok I will say this you do need to know what to say if there's an emergency or something really important always let the other know always be sure to be open and honest and keep them up to date on the situation such as hospitalizations etc.
3.FIGHTING-Yep here's the big one fighting we all do if and it all happens in every relationship at some point in time or the other. Personally I don't like to fight period it doesn't solve much of anything but it does happen. So how do you deal with it on the road? Act like an ADULT don't sit there and yell and scream at each other on the phone talk it out, preferable at a truck stop or rest area after you've stopped for the day/night. Don't do it going down the road I've been there done that start grabbing gears next thing I know I'm running 95 in a 55 not smart but it happens from time to time. Whatever the problem is it can wait until you're stopped getting pissed off when behind the wheel is not the right thing to do once again. See the advise above your focus won't be where it needs to be which is on the road and controlling that truck rolling down the road. Remember you're not there to hash it out, and also remember DONT SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. Realize you don't gt much time with your family even to simply talk to them on the phone pick your battles widely and choose them wisely. Cherish the time you have if its something small let it go. Don't waste 30 minutes of an hour phone call fighting about something that doesn't matter. I will also say if it is important get it hashed out before you get home. Time spent with your family is slim to none in this lifestyle don't sit there and fight while you're home and with the family once again LEARN TO LET THINGS GO!!!! Enjoy what little time you have and get back on the road and always remember that every phone call and every worked may be the last time you ever get the chance to speak to them. Its blunt but its true keep that in mind.
4.CHILDREN-Probably the biggest issue involved in trucking. I will say this its the hardest thing you'll ever do to climb in that truck if you have kids and turn that key to push the starter to leave especially if you have young children. It hurts like hell when a cowboy cries, and I've left out before with tears rolling down my cheeks because I didn't wanna leave. Best advise I can give you is you're going to miss about 90-95% of them growing up, you'll be lucky to make birthdays, you'll miss most sporting events, choir, etc whatever they get into when theyre older. Its a #### rough time missing all those things in their lives you'll miss first steps teeth words, many many things in their lives. It will ALSO be your BIGGEST regret if you CANNOT handle that and are not somewhat okay with that (you'll never be 100% ok with it) DO NOT get into trucking at all find something better where you can be home more often. Also remember if things go south courts do NOT like giving full custody to an OTR driver that is also something to think about. And realize that your children are always going to ask you when you're going to be home again now for the wives or husband's who are going to be at home you also need to understna that they're going to be asking you when daddy/mommy is coming home and BOTH driver and significant other need to remember these words, "AS SOON AS I CAN BE" that is the answer I always give. I don't know from one day to the next what its looking like its hard to say when I'll get home and for how long 2 weeks out might become 10 days might become 20 days all depends at hats why I always answer ill be home as soon as I can be that's the best way to do things you're not making a promise you can't keep by saying that and you don't want to be breaking your child's heart by any means.
5.KNOW WHEN TO COME HOME-Now when you're probably thinking what do you mean by know when to come home I get home time that's when I get to come home NOPE! There are certain circumstances when that rig needs to be pointed to towards the house and headed home. I wll give an example that happened to a friend of mine. His girlfriend got in a car accident that put her in ICU he had a drop in KY that was 900 miles from home plate ended up getting back the next day after an 11am appointment time. Now I realize a company driver doesn't necessarily have the freedom of an owner operator but in some situations if the company will not show the compassion to get you home its obviously NOT company that you need to be working for I can say for a fact it will never be anything to leave a load sitting if #### hits the fan and I need to be home due to an emergency and that rig will NOT stop until it gets home. Its different for everybody but you need to know when its okay to stay out, and when you need to tell the dispatcher to screw off and get you a load coming back or bounce you back. This will very by relationship and the needs but it's something g that needs to be discussed and you will both need to know. Personally I know my girl will NEVER tell me or ask me to come home after I have left even if its an emergency, does that mean I won't hell no. I know what she can handle and when I need to be around will I stay out when there are some problems yes will I head home if its something major yes am I afraid of losing my job over it hell no I'm not. NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN FAMILY!!!! Trucking will never be more important than family and that is something you need to realize and remember when our get into this and when you are on the road. Your family and loved ones always come first no matter what.
That's about all I have time for tonight anymore information that anyone would like to add feel free to I'll add to this as I have time been pecking the keys on this phone here for over and hour and its about time to hit the hay. Be safe out there y'all and happy trails hopefully this gives some basic information on what to expect when it comes to trucking and some helfpuf advise on how to deal with some situations while you're on the road.
Relationships, Trucking, Kids, Time Away, What new drivers need to know.
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Being gone is the hardest part of being an OTR driver. The stress and guilt that it causes me can be overwhelming at times. I am not married, but I have two kids (girl is 7, boy is 6) at home. I have a good job now that gets me home every weekend (the whole weekend, not just 34 hrs), but I still miss out on a lot of their lives. But my kids are young enough and I've been doing this long enough, that this is all they've ever known. Daddy is gone during the week, and its always been that way as far as they're concerned.
i make it a point to make sure my weekends with the kids is quality time. When I'm home, we do fun stuff like hiking or swimming or just hanging at the house doing what they want to do. I always make sure that I'm fully engaged with them, not watching TV while they play in the other room. And I tell them often that even though I have to leave on Monday morning, that ill always be back and that they can call me anytime they want. And I tell them often how much I love them, how much I miss them, and how much I think about them when I'm out on the road.
It is a proven fact the the most important thing, the thing that will have the most profound impact on a childs life, is to keep them out of poverty. Making sure that my children have everything that they need to live a comfortable life and that they get a good education and that their bellies are always full is much more important than my being there for every one of their little league games, or even their birthdays. I try to always keep this in perspective when I start to stress about that dance recital that I'm missing. Being able to provide what they need is more important than what I want.
Well, one benefit to OTR is that you don't take home for granted. To me it's like a vacation every time I get home. I don't care what it is, if you see something everyday it loses its luster.
Thank god for trucking or the insanity at my house would drive me to just that. The truck is where I can get a piece of mind and think in peace without the hassles of yelling at kids to clean up, get in the bathtub, make your beds, do your homework, etc plus they fight like cats and dogs. I've never seen sibling rivalry so bad in my life. I think my two step kids take the cake for being the worst at it.
Aminal Heavy Load Member
- Nov 9, 2013
Good post. I would add: timing is everything and if there is nothing the other person can do about it and it is an ongoing situation you are dealing with: leave it alone until the time is right to discuss it and driving time is sure not that time and neither is the time the one manning the fort is trying to deal with the kids fighting, the soup pot boiling over, the dog barking and the cat clawing the furniture and a bill collector on the call waiting.
My loved ones and I have a ritual that works for us. Maybe it will help others. I have a group set up in my connections. My wife and kids all in a group contact. After I do my PTI and say my pre-trip prayer I send a blast text to my group. Short and sweet. "'Bout to roll. Love y'all." I get back a bunch of "LY2. Be Safe." That's our polite code for; "I'm driving now. Don't bother me unless it's an emergency." It means don't call, don't text, Tweet or anything unless it's an EMERGENCY; meaning I need to find a stopping place and do something to assist. If three's nothing I can do then you'll have to deal with it yourself and tell me AFTER.
When I'm done or down for a while I blast to everyone; "Down for a ten count (or two or whatever). Love y'all". I get back a bunch of "K. LY2" or "Skype?". That's our polite code for: "I can talk, text or Skype now."
Oh, and about fussing when OTR: Yes avoid it but if you can't, then NEVER end the conversation with harsh words. End with; "OK we need to end this now. It's just gonna escalate. I'm mad but I DO love you." God forbid something awful happens 1200 miles apart and the last words you spoke were anger words. My late first wife and I's last words we spoke were angry, hateful words. That was 1993 and it still bugs me to this day. Not as much as it did then and I'm OK, but it's still there and probably always will be on some level. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Being OTR drives that fact home very strongly. Anything can happen in the next mile. Not just to us but to them. No matter how mad you get; always ask: "What if this is the last thing I ever get to say to him or her"? You never know. It might be. It happens. Trust me. I know. It does happen.
I started flatbedding 3 weeks ago and have been fortunate to be home all 3 weekends so far. I came off the road in January for the birth of my 5th AND LAST baby girl. I ran local for 4 months and bout starved to death so had to make the hard decision to go back OTR.
This weekend my load didn't pick up on Friday but Saturday instead which sucked but after a long day, I pushed hard and made to my bed at 3:30 this morning to find my 5 mo in my place... I moved her over and laid down to wake up this morning to her rubbing my face and smiling at me... Those moments right there are priceless!!! My children are definitely my motivation for what I do.
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