Robin Hartkopf aka Mrs. H

by Robin Hartkopf
(Sauk Rapids, MN, US)

Hi everyone, I've talked to most of you, but I suppose I could be a little more forthcoming to what brought me here and what it's like for me as a trucker's wife.

My husband and I met on and have been married for 5 years this coming March. We met when I was 32 and he was 38....I already had 2 kids and a house, all the stuff...he had a house with 5 acres out in the country....we sold my house and moved out to his HUGE house (he had 1 piece of furniture in every room, just to make it look lived in).

We were so happy to have our life starting out with such great beginnings. Chuck adopted my older 2 kids when we got married (like the Monday after) and all was right with the world...then, he was laid off...after 10 years at the same company.

He's been a printer for 22 years. We lost our house and decided to move to Wisconsin. We had a LOT of tattoo customers out there from events that we've done, and they promised a lot of business. So, we decided it was as good a time as any.

We bought a house out there and I got a job as a banker in Hudson....blah blah blah...the shop did good, but not enough to replace his six-figure income he had lost (obviously) we moved again, luckily selling our house before losing it, and with a short-sale, so we walked away with nothing.

We have now downsized 2 times...right before we left Wisconsin I found out I was pregnant (at age 36....10 years after the last one). Chuck was ecstatic, I was scared to death. We moved back to the area where we are familiar - where I went to college and he lived growing up.

We found a house that was big enough, but not nearly like what we have been used to living in, and crammed the possessions we could FIT into this little house and little yard-space, selling the rest. We both got jobs, all was great; Chuck got a job printing again and I was working at one of the local high schools as a behavior interventionist with high school students...I was laid off at 7 & 1/2 months pregnant.

I had Sam July 23, 2008. We were okay - Chuck was LOVING being a daddy to a baby. March 31, 2009, the day after Chuck's birthday, his company laid him off. I had not found work since having Sam and the state of MN denied me for unemployment.

It was my suggestion that he go and get his CDL...I love Chuck, but he has a hard time with management. He always worked 3rd shift so he wouldn't have micro-management...I thought he would really like it. So, in May, 2009 he went to truck driving school and got his CDL - he was pretty proud of himself. But then he started looking for jobs and he couldn't find anything local that would hire with less than 6 mos to a year experience.

Reality set in...he was going to have to go over the road. I thought I was going to die. I was already SO displaced as a SAHM - I really love to work. I'm not a good stay at home mom - I feel horrible about myself, I get depressed, I don't sleep, I'm name it. Not to mention the fact that Sam has NEVER slept through the night and I go through most days as a zombie!

I love him, but he's not a good sleeper. I was feeling horrible about myself, but Chuck never made me feel that way, I made myself feel that way. When he left for training I thought it was going to be okay...3 days of orientation and 42 days on the road, without coming home at all. I cried for days. My poor kids probably thought I wasn't going to make it.

I went looking for salvation...I needed to know what to do with these feelings and how to manage the lifestyle. I came to the realization that this is not something most people understand, it's not unique, but at the same time it is. My friends JoAnn and Sue really helped me buck up; they both are veteran trucker's wives, but I really needed some way to channel and voice my thoughts without feeling like a broken record.

I started a blog to tell his family about where he is and what's going on in our lives (God forbid they might call and ask....). I have also been maintaining our tattoo business website for the last 5 years - since business has slowed down the last 6 months (since he's gone on the road) I have a chance to catch up on pictures.

I'm also in Graduate School for a licensure program in Special Education - my bachelor's degree is in speech/language pathology. My older kids have been GREAT - especially my 13 year old daughter - a lifesaver...she allows me to be able to attend a book club once every 3 weeks, so I can get out of the house and helps me with things around the house. My middle son...he's good at keeping the sidewalk shoveled...that's all I can say (today). :)

I can tell my acceptance of this lifestyle has calmed down, but my life is almost unrecognizable from 2 years ago. I've lost my identity, I've lost the structure my family had - it feels unfamiliar and scary. But, I want my husband to have a job - he's miserable without it, and I'm working for our future as well.

One day at a time...If I stop and think about the fact that he's not here and far, far away...I I try not to do that too often. He drives all 48 with Swift, but he's mainly been driving East of the Mississippi - especially Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina, those areas....he only gets back to Minnesota to come home. His ticket home is Chicagoland...that's what they say. :) He's told me that he doesn't intend to continue long haul for longer than absolutely necessary, he can't stand being home only 3 days a month.

The first 2 times he went out, when he came back, Sam didn't recognize him and cried at the sight of broke my heart. He's good at driving- he's achieved platinum status within the company, and is successful, just not happy...:( This, too, shall pass...

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Feb 07, 2012
write me NEW
by: tracy

looking for a few veteran wives to talk to. please email me at

Nov 03, 2011
I hear you...
by: Brigit

I am in MN as well, my bf drives OTR and I found this website to try and connect with some other women who may understand and not feel bad for me, I just need some support to get thru the rough times. It's it's own lifestyle - I get phone calls when he's gone and try to not make him feel bad for making a living. He doesn't want to be an owner-operator and been doing this with several companies for over 5 years, they have their pro's and con's - his latest one let me go out on the road with him and not require us to be married, a real plus, so Feb - July this year (2011) I was able to go out with him and see the country and learn what he goes thru and it made a huge difference. I had been unemployed for a year and a half and thankfully found a FT position with a non-profit that is great, but ended my ability to go out with him, so am adjusting and some day I can go again after I build up some time off... I was crying last nite, I miss him so much and was hormonal - doesn't help. I don't put a guilt trip on him or tell him I miss him, just "suffer" with myself, thus my looking on here for support. Nice to find a MN connection. Brigit

Nov 01, 2011
I Understand
by: Julie

I used to be with my boyfriend every single day. I cut out most of my friends because all that I wanted to do was spend my time with him. His dad had a simple surgery go wrong last year and he was unconscious in the ICU for 8 months. My boyfriend had to take over driving the truck to support his entire family as an owner operator. He's been driving now for almost a year and not a day goes by that I don't feel completely alone. I can tell you one thing that will help you out in the long run, driving for a company will never pay very good. SWIFT is a company that I have heard nothing but bad things about. You need to talk to him about becoming an owner operator. My boyfriend drives five days a week and makes between three and five thousand dollars a week before fuel. Leasing on to a company as owner of the truck will pay more than anything swift will ever do. Being an owner operator also means being your own boss and being able to be home when you want to. As long as my boyfriend has a couple weeks notice to be home for something special, his dispatcher can find loads to get him there. Please take this to heart because I know how painful it is to be left on your own for a month at a time, and there is better stuff out there, you just have to look for it. I wish you both the best of luck.

Jan 18, 2010
hey girl
by: Jennifer S


GREAT write up--- remember that for our Spotlight, cause your next!!


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