Help! My ex is a trucker! Parenting scheduling quest

by Lydia

My ex and I have a 5 year old. He was a local truck driver but took a national job because he likes the pay and the freedom.

I am at a loss as to how to work out the parenting schedule. He has been gone for 40 days at a time and then wants "make up" time on top of his regular time when he comes home. His live-in girlfriend even came to my house and demanded my daughter when he was out of state. The court said he is not entitled to make up time when he is gone. I am willing to work with him but he is not honest about his schedule and basically wants everything to drop when he comes into town.

I am at a loss how to work this situation out. He keeps saying he is "entitled", he is "entitled". For instance, he has Christmas this year and wants to take her from December 24th through January 5th. I also work full time and those weekends and holidays are very precious time for me with our daughter even though I do have her otherwise. Those times are my "down times".

We worked hard to come to an agreement on a schedule and finally came up with one that worked and then he chose a job that took him out of state for weeks.

He works for a national moving company. Can any of you tell me, does he have a choice to go out for 2 weeks and then back for a few days? Do you usually sign a contract about how long you will be on the road when you are hired on?

I feel it is important for our daughter to have a good relationship with her father but I also realize that at 5 years old she needs consistency. I have told him his parents are welcome to take her for a day visit anytime. I also encourage our daughter to call her dad.

Any suggestions from those of you who have had to work this out? How do you do what is best for the child and yet work with a trucker's schedule.

I should also mention we live less than 20 miles apart.

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Jan 12, 2009
Consistency for Child
by: Lydia

Thanks Jimmy for your input. I am trying very hard to work with his schedule. I am more concerned about my little one's schedule and consistency.

She is in preschool and having some challenges on the adjustment to "school work". He is not interested in her education and recently when he had her she missed school to celebrate his girlfriend's birthday. He also kept her home on her own birthday because he did not want to drive her to school.

Fortunately I saw that coming and sent her with cupcakes the last school day before she went to his house. That is a very important event in a preschooler's life!

My concern is that when he is home for a few days all of her normal routine such as school will be thrown out the window. That is not fair to her. He has already told me any extra activities she is involved in need to be done when she is with me because he will not take her to swimming lessons, dance lessons, etc. when he has her.

This was a problem before trucking and has only escalated since he does not have a set schedule. He is generally doing long hauls for 2 weeks, local for 1 week and then long hauls again.

I am just at a loss as to how to come up with a parenting time schedule that will keep our child on a consistent schedule but give him parenting time.

I know he is an important part of her life but I also know that her education and other activities she becomes involved in will be important too and we both need to support that. Distance is not a problem because we live in the same city.

Jan 08, 2009
papa on the road
by: jimmy

Hi Lydia, may I offer up some advice. I would doubt your ex has any say as to when he gets by the house.

Hauling furniture just isn't something where you can be home regularly. Try your hardest to keep it civil for the kids sake. Remember, you have her way more than he sees her. there has to be some give and take and there is a benefit to her seeing her daddy.

Just a thought......jimmy

Dec 23, 2008
Part 2 of advice (sorry not enough room on other page)
by: Jennifer Schnittker

I am going to hazard to guess, I could be totally off base here, but was his being gone all the time part of the reason you 2 divorced?

Please remember Lydia, for your daughter, "daddy is a HUGE part of who SHE IS!" and always will be. He will be a huge part of who she was, who she is, and who she will become. For better of for worse.

Keeping those things in mind. Sometimes stepping back, and looking at things in a different light, all the "little things" do not matter so much.

I find it wonderful that you are willing to work with him in seeing his little one. Unfortunately that leaves a LOT of decisions for us parents to make that feel unfair. As you already know, women have a "multi-situational role" situation. We are employee's, mothers, wives, friends. We often forget about us, and realize that parenting is more about "self-sacrifice" than about "ME". Take the time that he does take her to Relax, and perhaps go out with some friends. Leaving behind the responsibilities that you face every day with such a young child. This is not only good for your child, but it is also very good for YOU!. We all need time to evaluate who we are, and find US in between all the roles we are so often forced into. Those days that you do not have her can give you a break, and give her what so needs--her father.

Best of Luck to you Lydia, You are doing the right thing by working with dad as much as possible. If I can be of any more assistance, please feel free to drop me a line @ I will be glad to help if I can.


Dec 23, 2008
Tough Decision
by: Anonymous


What a tough decision. I realize and see both sides of your situation. I personally try to "step outside of the box" in these situations as much as I possibly can. Sometimes when you "look back in" its usually a bit clearer than mud. (So to speak. It is wonderful that you are willing to work with him despite his inability to take her on the "preset times" as given by court order- That is so important to little ones. And a HUGE part of consistency--even if it does not seem like it.

I have no information to give you regarding the company he drives for. However, I do think you are "over thinking" it just a bit.

The life of a truck driver is rough--but the job of a spouse, mother of a drives child, or "the" child is even rougher.

As far as Christmas, my suggestion is that you allow him to have his holiday as your court order states. Since I am not sure exactly how it is written I cannot tell you "exactly" how to handle this, What are the hours? What about Christmas Eve. And what about New Years?

I would caution you with this. For a young girl, a relationship with her father can be the most important relationship she will ever have in her life. Just as important, if not a bit more than a relationship with a mother. (besides nurturing) The "Lack of" can cause serious esteem issues in her future. The lack of a father figure can cause her to "look for something" as she gets older , such as older men, or even sexuality at a young age, that could stand to be VERY Detrimental in her teen and early adult years.

Sometimes as mothers, we want to protect, and mother bear out children. In the process we miss what they truly need.

Now with that said, My suggestion is you follow the order. Allow him to have Christmas day. Celebrate on Christmas Eve, you will have Christmas next year. Also, That should mean you have her for New Years day, correct?

Perhaps it is best (and you can take some time for yourself since you work) to Give her to him on Christmas day, and allow him to have her up until around 6pm on New Years Eve.

I realize that him being gone so much is hard on both you and your daughter. Guys, right now, that are long haul are actually much more fortunate than regional or local drivers. Many are being laid off, losing their jobs, or are "suffering" through with little to no pay.

The economy is effecting the truck driving industry in leaps and bounds at this point.

As far as consistency you are totally right, however, Consistency can also be made out of such a crazy schedule for your ex. She does have 2 parents, and both should be able to find a way to give her what is best. Consistency does not necessarily mean a regular schedule in such situations. But to know that Dad is still there, and even if not "all the time." That he is still someone she can look up too. She is young at this point, and perhaps "calling him" is hard. However, consistency can just simply be knowing he is still daddy, and he still loves her.

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