There are times that I am asked about what it’s like to live life as a trucker’s wife. Well today, I’m going to give you the brutal honesty of it all. Whether you or someone you know is considering becoming an OTR truck driver, or you’ve been in my shoes for years, these are the “behind the scenes” of living life married to a truck driver.
People can be judgmental little turds when it comes to truck drivers. Hell, there’s a chance that my readers will see this and instantly roll their eyes a little bit. Maybe you don’t like being behind them because they are so slow. That’s because most trucks are regulated, they literally can’t go over a certain speed. And if they are at their max weight, it can take them a lot longer to get moving from a full stop. (Safety tip, that’s also why it takes them a lot longer to slow down. NEVER cut off a semi-truck! I don’t care how good of a driver you think you are, you are risking your life and others if you cut off a semi truck. They can NOT stop on a dime! Physically impossible.)
There are also people that find truckers to be dirty, poor or stupid. Uh, rude much? While I’m not saying there aren’t -any- truckers out there that don’t fit this bill, as I’m sure there are, most are not. It takes a strong mentality to live every day in a whats essentially a box on wheels. And if they are dirty or their truck is dirty, that makes it even harder to handle. Yes, some are dirty. My husband has taken over some pretty disgusting trucks left over from other drivers before. They are out there, just like Joe-schmoe down the street could be filthy too. From our personal story, I’ve never realized how bad my husband’s OCD was until I saw just how particular he was about his truck.
Many truckers are very intelligent as well. They get to meet people from all walks of life, visiting more places than most of us would ever get to dream. They have to work on their time management, they remember roads like their minds are personal maps, and don’t even get me started on the math. My husband will be telling me about certain regulations or start talking about weight distribution and my anti-math mind just kinda spazzes out for a minute. Truck drivers also have to plan everything at least three steps ahead in case something goes wrong and they have to change plans.
The Separation Is Hard
This is NOT a career for everyone, nor is it a relationship for everyone. If you’re the kind of person that has to see their spouse every day, don’t marry a trucker. If you don’t trust your partner with every fiber of your being, don’t be a trucker. At best, OTR truckers are home on weekends. However, in order to make better money, most are out longer than that. The longest my husband has been on the road was out for two months. No time home at all. Then he got to come home for a week. It SUCKS.
We learned that two months is way too long for us. My husband misses a lot of our daughter’s life, despite everything we do to keep him involved. Every time he comes home, she’s learned something new, shes’ picked up a new habit or dropped an old one. It takes a toll on our personal relationship too. The distance can make for some unintentional resentment from both parties, and the longer my trucker is out, the more likely that is to happen.
We’ve found our balance, but that doesn’t make it any easier. We talk all the time, I send him daily pictures of our daughter, and we keep each other in the loop of what’s going on in each others lives. It also helps that the both of us enjoy spending time to ourselves and doing our own thing. Hell, if we spend too much time together we get on each other’s nerves! Even still, you can’t help but realize that y’all are living two separate lives for any given length of time. When you try to mesh those two lives together during home time, it throws everyone for a loop. Especially when you have a young child who is extremely set in their routine. Those changes can make it difficult to have my husband offer to help around the house, because Wiggles is simply used to Mama doing everything. We can’t help that.
There is no doubt that our daughter loves her daddy. Not a day goes by where she doesn’t ask, talk or worry about him. If it’s thundering, she’s worried that daddy is out in the storm. She’ll ask to talk to him on the phone or when he is coming home. She’ll mention things that she wants to do when he comes home like going to the zoo, playing with her toys, etc. As she has gotten older and better understands the lifestyle as a family of a truck driver, she is starting to get a bit better about letting him get more involved.
You Live Like A Single Parent
Easy there, this is NOT a bash against single parents at all. Y’all are badass and I have major respect for you! What I mean is, when you’re husband is a truck driver, you practically live like a single parent in many aspects of your life. You are the “main” parent for your kids, try as you might to be equals with your partner. Being a stay at home mom happens to be easier for us, because so few want to work with the hours I would have to have in order to correlate with daycare hours. There is no such thing as ‘must have flexible hours’ when you can’t ask your spouse to watch or pick up the kids. Sure, we could get a last minute baby sitter but I’d rather not do that. And I can’t depend on other family members and friends to constantly pick up my daughter.
The same concept goes for hanging out with friends without bringing your kids along or trying to have a bit of “me time.” Just about everything that I do involves my daughter, whether it’s at home or taking her with me somewhere. Sometimes I am able to ask my parents to watch her or on the weeks when my husband is home he is able to watch her while I go out and do something kid-free for a change. It’s not very common though. My husband works hard away from home, and I want to spend as much time with him as I can when he is home. Generally this is together as a family.
On top of all this, my husband misses a lot of things that we both wish he didn’t have too. Thankfully, his company is wonderful about getting him home if he absolutely needs to be, they always get him home on time if not early. And, his chosen holiday to be home is Christmas and they have always gotten him home for that. Last year he was able to be home for both Christmas and New Years which was nice. It’s other things he misses that you don’t realize you even miss that start to catch up to you. Trick or treating on Halloween, birthdays, doctor visits, trips to somewhere new, learning a new skill…We were so lucky in that my husband was home for our daughter’s first steps, first words, basically her first everything. But I know not every trucker is so lucky. That’s something to take into consideration if you or someone you love is considering this career.
Trust Is Everything
If you don’t trust your partner with every ounce of your body, then you don’t belong with a truck driver. It’s not even the stigma that there may be prostitutes out there in the truck parking lot knocking on doors. (Yes, it happens! They are generally called “lot lizards.”) I know for a fact that my husband would never do anything like that, in fact he is a member of a non-profit called Truckers Against Trafficking. Basically, he helps keep an eye out for anyone needing help getting out of trafficking, leaves cards in truck stops with a number to call for those that needs help and also has a sticker on the side of his truck that lets people know he’s a part of that and offers a number to help them. So I have absolutely zero worries that my husband is out there buying it from someone I don’t know.
There’s also the fact that my husband is an attractive man, and he does get hit on! Cashiers, waitresses, etc. He’s a sexy man, I can’t blame them! We usually laugh about it when he tells me, and I take it as a damn compliment that my husband is so good looking. But if the idea of that makes you jealous or a little angry, or if you even suspect in the slightest that your partner would go “Well, they’ll never know!” Then you should not marry a trucker. Actually, if you are that suspicious of your partner, you may need to reevaluate your relationship as whole…
THIS GOES BOTH WAYS!
My husband may go out and get hit on more frequently by others, it’s not to say that the same does not happen for me. Granted, I have our daughter or my mom in tow most of the time so it’s extremely rare. However my husband knows that I would shut down any advances, just take the compliment and walk away. Even if I’m pissed at him, he’s been gone for months and it’s been a looooong time since we’ve been together, my loyalty to my husband is everything. The fact remains that we have to trust and be committed to each other 100%. And if you don’t feel like you could be loyal during the lonely times, or if you constantly worry if your partner is up to something, then it’s not gonna work.
Money Is A Witch With A Capital B!
Truck drivers can make good money. Especially owner operators! This one kind of ties in to all relationships, but we have to stay vigilant on our expense for everything. The thing about getting a good weekly paycheck and being on the road is it is SO easy to lose track of! I’m the primary person that manages our finances because it’s simply easier for me to either open my phone or laptop and double check our accounts. Plus, I can sit there, call up my husband and be like “Hey, you gotta stop hitting up those fast food restaurants.” If he’s out there spending about 5-10 bucks for every fast food meal, then he is spending up to 100-200 a week on fast food alone!
We’ve helped manage this by making sure he does grocery shopping before getting on the truck. Easy go-to foods are sandwiches, rice bowls, soups, cereals, and some microwaveable meals. It seriously helps cut back on expenses. It’s also helped that he’s gotten a crock pot and a mini grill so he his able to cook some of his own food without getting sick of eating sandwiches all the time.
There is also the “oooh shiny!” affect of walking into a truck stop. Thankfully, my husband has gotten a lot better about it and uses his reward points now for those fancy things he finds at truck stops. This can be anything from a gift for Wiggles or me, to something that caught his eye like an audio book or something he believes would be useful for the truck. In order to keep your finances in order when your a trucker, you have got to stay on top of them and your spending! It is SO easy to just blow through a paycheck because you’ve been getting good money!
Here’s another problem though. Most truckers earn their pay by the mile, which is why so many go out for so long. Now, if they are getting a lot of miles each week then chances are they are getting great pay. But that can change so quick, there are slow periods for trucking in which they simply don’t get the same miles they would during the peak season. Weather, long drop off or pick up wait times, issues with the loads, accidents, there are many things that can affect the miles which in turn affects the paycheck. This is something that you have to be prepared for when you are managing your money with a trucker’s salary. Here are few of my favorite apps for making some extra cash and saving money.
You Will Worry And Sometimes It’s Scary
There are endless things for me to worry about with my husband on the road, just as he has worries for us. I think it would be safe to say that the both of us have the same worries in regards to each other. Accidents and bad weather are a concern, especially during winter when videos start popping up of rows of over 50 trucks smashed into each other like accordions. People with road rage that snap and attack other drivers. Something happening health wise and he’s on the road without a way for me to know about it or help. Riots breaking out where people attack or try and break into trucks. Theft. It can be crazy out there, and not a day goes by where I don’t pray for the safety of my husband and his safe return home.
The worst that we’ve experienced since my husband became a truck driver was when he was in a multi-vehicle accident on a highway that caught his truck on fire. I didn’t even know about this until later on after the fact. I only found out that my husband was in an accident because I had a nurse call me to say that he was in a hospital and that he was in stable condition. She would not give me any further information at all. Turns out, my husband’s cell phone had died and he asked is nurse to make a quick call to let me know that he was fine and would call me when he would get out. Didn’t tell me any of that.
So what did I do?
I googled accidents in the area he was in and found news footage of my husband’s truck melting down into nothing on the highway. I cried and prayed and stayed up all night, keeping in touch with his mom because the nurse called her and told her the same thing. Naturally she had googled it too, so all we had to go by were videos of a burning accident and that he was in stable condition which could be a whole range of things. It was early morning hours/late night hours when he was able to call me and let me know that he was ok, released from the hospital and his aunt that lived there was going to pick him up. The truck had burnt into practically nothing, all his stuff was gone.
The stuff was replaceable, but I have so many worries about my husband out on the road. He is not replaceable in any way, shape or form. It’s hard to keep those worries at bay, because if we are being completely honest, life itself can be scary as hell. But we can’t let the endless list of ‘what ifs’ stop us from living! It helps that my husband and I have agreed that wherever he stops, every night no matter how late, he lets me know where he is stopped at so that I know he’s parked safely for the night and I know where he is. If my daughter and I go out, I usually text him the same curtesy to let him know we are home safe and sound. The reason I have my worries are because I know the risks of being a truck driver, but we can’t let those worries control us.
To Wrap It All Up
Being married to a truck driver is not easy. Being a truck driver is NOT easy! Some days are harder than others, like most families and careers. We just have to remind ourselves that this is what is best for our family. This is the hard working dedication that my husband is doing to better our lives and our future. He sacrifices so much for us, and for that I am ever grateful to him. We found what works for us, and everybody is different. You’ve gotta find what works for you and your family.
So there you have it, some of the trials and tribulations of being a trucker’s wife. What kind of truths do you want the world to know about being in your or your loved ones career?