Being a Truck Driver's Wife: It's Not for Everyone
by Marissa Kenyon
(Ionia, MI, USA)
Being a Truck Driver’s Wife: It’s Not for Everyone.
Long, lonely days, and even longer, lonelier nights make up a truck drivers wife’s life. A lot of woman take for granted their husbands being home every day or night, we trucker wives know better; we take nothing for granted.
We are pros at deciphering the lingo of, “I’ll be home in the morning.” We are aware of the fact that those words can easily translate to and become the phrase, “I’ll be home two mornings from tomorrow.” We have learned to adapt; to go with the flow, and just continue on with what we know; which happens to be loving our drivers through thick and thin, no matter what.
We are strong women, holding down the homestead, paying the bills, taking care of the kids and fixing anything that may break. We are truck driver wives.
When I met my husband, he was a foreman of a landscaping crew and was home every night. I remember getting upset when he didn’t get home until 7-8 pm. I laugh at the naive person I was then. He drove OTR years before meeting me and came off the road when his daughter was born in 2005. I knew of his love for driving truck and being an OTR driver, but I didn’t think that he would want to do it again.
When we got married we didn’t know that within 6 months he’d be back in a truck, being home on weekends only, and that I’d be here with the kids and doing what needs to be done, alone.
There are days when I wish so damn hard for a dedicated local run where he is home every night with us, his family. It is pretty much like being a single mom during the week when he’s gone. I get lonely and I even get downright pissed off about his career choice. As a child, most women imagine married life as two people living together every day, sleeping in the same bed at night, eating dinner together at night, and just enjoying each other’s company on a day to day basis. I was no different; I imagined all of that and more. What I didn’t imagine was being a truck driver’s wife and only seeing my husband 2-3 days a week.
I hear women complaining about their significant other working 10-12 hour days, and I want to scream at them, “Are you kidding me?! Be grateful!” I am jealous of these women. So jealous that I sometimes see red and wonder what the hell I am doing in this life style. I wish I could see my husband on a daily basis; we are missing so much of each other’s lives with this job he is doing and I think it royally, flat out stinks.
I can’t help but ask myself, “If he was a driver when I met him, would we be married today?” I really hope that answer is yes. I love my husband to the moon and back, and I am head over heels in love with him, but some days I wish we were actually growing old together. How can two people grow old together when one of them is only home on weekends?
Don’t get me wrong; I am totally swooning over my husband. He is my world, and my soul mate, and I will love him until the end of time. I am grateful to call him mine, I just never expected to live this life. This lifestyle takes a strong, independent, self-reliant woman who won’t take shit from anyone. I admit, that person was not me when it came time to join the ranks as a truck driver’s wife. It took a long time to get to where I am as a person and to be able to handle the stress of dealing with the issues of being alone, raising the kids by myself, and never having anyone above the age of 13 to talk to. It was so damn hard and I marvel at how far I’ve come in these past 3 years. It takes a confident, trusting woman to live this life, and I am finally there.
When you’re a trucker’s wife, you have to be crafty in finding ways to keep that spark in your marriage. For me and my husband, that means coffee dates on Saturday mornings, stopping at thrift stores when the kids are in school on the rare Friday mornings he is home, and talking on the phone often during the day and well into the night. If either of us have an issue, we talk about it right away, we don’t let our anger simmer until it blows up and causes a huge fight. I feel that communication is key when you are a trucker’s wife, and being able to fully trust each other is also a crucial element for a marriage to survive this lifestyle.
I am constantly sending pictures of myself, the kids, and the dogs to my husband so he can see that he is missed and wanted at home; and that it is not just a paycheck we are looking for. If I know he is having a rather rough day, I make sure he gets extra pictures, phone calls, and random texts that day to cheer him up.
If you are able to go out on the road with your driver even once, I’d recommend doing so. You will be able to see what it is like for him, and what he does on a daily basis. Plus, you can help him out. Whether it be helping strap a load, tarp a load, or just tightening up binders; my husband is always appreciative for the help and the company. And you get that one on one time with your man.
When you are a trucker’s wife, you need all the support and friends you can possibly get. But, if you are like me and don’t have many friends you have to find support in other places. I found an amazing group on Facebook for trucker’s wives. The Real Truckers Wives group is for women only, whose husbands, fiancés, or boyfriends are drivers.
Talking to fellow trucker wives has been a god send. They know exactly what you are going through because there is a great chance they have been through it or are going through it as well. The women in The Real Truckers Wives group do not judge, they let you rant and rave if you are having a rough day, and they give great advice.
These women are always available to listen when you just need to chat and they are always willing to laugh and even cry with you. I just wish I had found this group 3 years ago when my husband started driving and I was completely new to this and lost beyond words.
Being a trucker’s wife, I am now more tolerant of semi drivers when they pull out in front of me on the road, or take what seems like ages to get their trucks moving. I have ridden along with my husband before and I know of the demands that are put on a driver and the general day to day shit they are forced to deal with. A little wave and nod or even a little smile can make a driver’s day a tiny bit better.
I am more aware to the fact that that driver is someone’s husband, someone’s boyfriend or fiancé, and possibly someone’s father or Grandfather. I want my husband to be treated respectively when he is working, why is it any different for any other driver? I find myself coming to traffic lights, looking for a semi getting ready to turn, and if needed I am prepared to back up to make room for that truck.
It amazes me that there are so many “4 wheelers” that are totally oblivious to the fact that trucks make such wide turns and can’t stop on a dime.
So, the next time you see a semi; nod, wave and give a little smile; it could make their day.
It doesn’t matter if you married a seasoned driver or if they became one later on; it is important to show them that we are committed to them and that we stand beside them in their career choice no matter what. They need to know that they have complete support while they are away from home, providing for their families. There are so many drivers whose significant other is either betraying their trust or has done so, and there are so many drivers who are working themselves to death for their families at home and that home is crumbling because some women just aren’t strong enough to be alone.
I can’t imagine not being faithful to my husband and taking care of things at home while he is working. It’s just not even possible to imagine. According to my husband, he is lucky to have “a good woman at home”. He is my one and only, and I would never do anything to hurt him or betray his trust. I wouldn’t jeopardize our marriage like that.
While this lifestyle can be challenging, it can also be so rewarding. You have to have a strong bond and not be afraid to speak up when something is bothering you. Our drivers are not mind readers, and it doesn’t help that they are not home to see your body language and facial expressions and be able to know something is on your mind. Speak up!
I feel being a trucker’s wife has made me closer to my husband; when you talk on the phone as much as us, you talk about everything! There are no secrets, and there are no lies being told. There are some white lies being told my husband such as, “I won’t be home until tomorrow night.”, and then he shows up a few hours later with flowers. That, I think I can forgive. We tell each other everything, and I think that’s how it should be.
I take care of the day to day home life, kids and animals, and he is providing for us. We balance each other out; it wouldn’t work if we didn’t. Trucking is in my husband’s blood, and while I miss him terribly when he’s gone, I couldn't and wouldn’t ask him to stop. Now, if he decides to stop on his own, who am I to stop him?
This is my life and I am happy with it.