How to survive a spouse’s busy season: four helpful tips for when your husband works a ton.
We recently finished up a two-month-long busy season for my husband’s work. He works ‘til midnight five to six days a week as an accountant. During tax season, we fight more, relax less and we are both under more stress than usual. Here’s four tips that help us cope and get through!
1. See the Glass as Half-full:
- My husband and I have a few things we look forward too during tax season. For me, its:
- I can fix a SUPER simple dinner whenEVER we’re hungry- even if it’s 4:30 pm! Then there are the times we kinda forget about dinner ’cause we’re too busy playing and we sneak in some Lean Cuisine at the last second before bed. I stock up on easy, ready-made meals and it feels justified. I enjoy them for the season!
- I have lower expectations about life. The house gets cleaned when I feel like it and I feel less pressure to pick up for anyone else’s sake.
- I can concentrate my relationship-building time to get closer with my kids. Here’s why I think it’s worth doing!
- I do whatever I want after the kids are in bed! This means I have more time to quietly think, work on a hobby and everything is on my own time! I actually get out my journal during this time of year and it feels wonderful.
I acknowledge that life is trickier during tax season for us. So, I jump on opportunities to make life easier or more enjoyable like: online grocery shopping, grabbing the Little Caesar’s on the way home, planning a get-together with friends, employing a teenage house-cleaner- if you can do it, jump on it!
2. Plan Regular “Mom Retreats”
With more experience under our belts, we’ve learned the valuable method of a mom’s day off! I secure a babysitter for my kids and take off for a solid four to six hour chunk to do whatever I feel like! The longer, the better! The last couple of years we’ve planned one right before the busy season hits for my husband to take the kids, and then one around the end of the season where I hire a young teenager. This year, under our Christmas tree, my hubby wrapped up his printed work schedule— showing that his Thursday was indeed blocked off to take care of the kids! I loved seeing how he planned on it!
These are some things I have enjoyed for a retreat (or want to soon!)
- Lunch all by myself
- Lounge at a pool with a book
- Drive out to the wilderness and soak in the beauty and stillness
- Bring my laptop to a patio garden and write
- Hike with a friend
In a mom retreat you get to create your own list of where you feel “called to”. This might include going to the grocery store or a dentist appointment all by yourself (#ididthat)! It might even be to help someone else. All of these things can refuel us as moms and they are so much more enjoyable without any little people tagging along!
3. Intentional Media
You probably already know this, but I’m a total podcast fanatic. I love hearing new ideas to inspire me. (Here’s a list of my fave podcasts and how to listen!) But in tax season I have TOO much time by myself, so I get tired of all the non-fiction as my go-to. I can only take so much information! So– this year I discovered some great audio books (even some fiction!). Physical books are also more enticing during this time than usual, but I just love being able to get some tedious work out of the way WHILE I’m being entertained. The only audio book method I’ve tried is just through the public library’s free Overdrive app. It covers over 27k libraries, and so you probably have access to it with your library card!
Here’s a few audio books I’ve especially enjoyed:
- A Man Called Ove: I laughed out loud for almost the entire first chapter. This book was so heartwarming and a delight to me, all about a grumpy man in his last days.
- Pioneer Grit: Ooh this was so inspirational and fascinating. I learned a lot of history and have a deep appreciation for the women who sacrificed so much to do the most good they could in their time! I hope to re-listen to this with my daughters when they are teenagers.
- Killing Kennedy: This covers the details of the Kennedy Assassination in a story form, told by Bill O Reily. Entertaining and educational.
- The Healers Apprentice: ( haven’t finished yet..!) But a fun, easy listen about a lower class beauty that falls for the kind-hearted duke! That reminds me of another fiction story that I enjoyed- it was a little long, but a fun take on Beauty & the Beast in a futuristic way: The Clockwork Beast.
- How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: I might have found myself crying as I mopped my floor listening to this. I felt like the methods discussed in this book are life-changing for parents and people in general. I use a lot of the tools regularly and I’m SO glad I know about them!
- The Me, Me, Me epidemic. This is very similar to Amy McCready’s Positve Parenting Solutions online parenting course that we love! Oops- this is more non-fiction… perhaps I should learn to chill a little more? But I love it!
4. Keep the Marriage Alive
When your “other half” is buried in the work-load, it can be hard to connect. Since conversation time is limited, we often only have time to talk about the stuff that NEEDS to be talked about. You’ve heard how a good relationship needs more positive interactions than negative- well- this is where regular dates are crucial! You need to have time to relax and enjoy a meal together, if nothing else.
Other ways to connect with your spouse during a busy time:
- Count-down text: Only 3 more weeks!!! Emojis make it more fun 🙂 If your “season” is reaaalllly long, you’ll prob want to do mini celebrations along the way.
- Send pics of what you and the kids are up to. He’ll feel more connected and up-to-date with the family! Keep it “nice” and positive, but sometimes a “naughty” picture can be a great thing too 😉
- Remember his “love language”. Try to reach him where it matters most to him:
- remind him about how great you think he is
- give him as much touch as you can when he is around
- leave little gifts for him to find
- make sure you give some undivided attention. Just know that your husband probably has a specific way that you can make him feel the most loved.
For the first few years of tax season, I would sometimes refer to myself as a “single mom” during that time. I now realize that I can’t even begin to understand what it’s like to truly be a single mom. Single moms are incredibly strong humans! I deeply appreciate and admire their work-ethic and my heart goes out to them. I hope that they feel my love and the love of those around them to carry them through: You can do hard things, and your kids are lucky to have you doing your best to support them! Hopefully, some of these tips can help moms of all kinds get through a busy season- I pray it’s not too long for you!
I know there are many of us that are in the same boat at times: what do you think helps you the most? What are your tips for when your husband has to work a ton?