The question of “What’s life like as a truck driver’s wife?” can be answered in various different ways.
Seeing that no human nor no relationship is ever the same.
Continue reading below to see through the eyes of a wife of a truck driver…
Life As A Trucker’s Wife?
Let me begin with this is not an easy question to answer as there are many aspects to this question. Is it just the two of you, or do you have children? Can or do you go with him? So many ways for this to be answered so I will just give you my version here…
I have had the experience of being both an OTR (Over The Road) driver wife and as of the past 3 years a regional drivers wife.
When I met my husband years ago I knew that it was going to be different and difficult. When we had met, he hauled cars OTR. Our time was spent together on his home time which was a mere 3-5 days a month if I was lucky.
It was incredibly hard and I will tell you it takes a strong love to make any relationship work when you are apart far more than you are together.
Being the wife of a driver that is OTR when you have children as we do, is hard because you are mom and dad at the same time while he is away.
Yes, they have their daddy but daddy is making this ultimate sacrifice to support his family and give them the life that they deserve.
You have the weight of the entire home on your shoulders. The cooking, cleaning, laundry, yard work, taking out trash, repairs and etc is all on you.
All of this while you are still trying to be the mom. Now if you work as I do, this adds to the stress as your not just Mom and Dad while he is away, you’re also working and everything at home still falls on you.
There are times where you will feel overwhelmed, but stay positive.
Road Trip Anyone?
Prior to my husband being a regional driver, I did go on a few trips with him hauling cars OTR. I loved being able to be with him every moment of every day, it is the one thing I would give anything for. I also saw some of the most amazing sunrise and sunsets I have ever seen in my life.
Although there were beautiful sights and my favorite part of being in the presence of my husband 24/7 there were still some things that I did not like, nor could find my self ever getting accustomed to.
The hardest part for me was the lack of having the ability to eat when hungry and use a bathroom when needed or even how and when you are able to take a shower. Most people do not take these simple little things into account.
Like who really thinks about that? I sure didn’t in the beginning. As time passed I quickly learned that there are times where you can not get to food, and you go 10-12 hours without a meal, the same thing applies for using a bathroom and taking showers.
Along with the above-mentioned situations, there are also times where you may be able to get the semi into a location in hopes to use the restroom, only to find that they won’t allow you to use it at all.
In regards to showers, you can shower at almost any truck stop. Some will offer you a free shower with the purchase of X amount of gallons of fuel. Yet, there is always the possibility that your employer does not allow you to fuel up at these locations.
So if you wish to shower, you must pay to shower. Some are as cheap as $10 and as high as $25. The showers are also not always the cleanest. While on the road with my husband I always wore my flip flops in the showers.
This is just one of the many things that they put up with while not having the convenience of home, there are so many things that they sacrifice to do the job they do.
The same thing applies to parking. Your spouse may be forced to pay to park. It is not always free for the drivers. When it is free, it’s not uncommon to find these locations already full. This leaves them no choice but to move on and try to find another location, whether it be a different truck stop, a rest area and worst case scenario an on/off ramp.
There are times that while trucking that you may get stuck on the highway, and you may be stuck there for unforeseen circumstances and countless hours, not have access to food or a restroom for hours on end. It’s not like road closures have a time limit, nor do they care that you’re hungry or in need of a restroom.
I have seen how your day can go from amazing to being shot in just a split-second when the truck breaks down and now your a sitting duck waiting for the company to get you fixed or trying to fix yourself so you can get back to rolling to somewhere better to park.
Misunderstood, To Say The Least!
The life of a driver is truly so misunderstood by everyone. Most people tend to think “that job is easy” or even think “they are lazy all they do is sit there”.
Yet all while thinking stuff like the above mentioned they neglect to attempt to even truly understand. Drivers are taken advantage of by most people in various different ways.
There are only certain places a driver can go with the truck and trailer. Most if not 99% of the time it’s a truck stop. Have you ever stopped at a truck stop with a fast food restaurant inside?
Have you taken notice of the price of items in these places? Something so simple as your average $1 drink any size at any other McDonald’s simply does not exist.
Any and all meals regardless of the food chain are severely overpriced. Often double or triple of a regular non-truck stop restaurant i.e. McDonald’s, Burger King, Arby’s etc.
Even the convenience end of the store, a candy bar that would be an average price of .99 cents your now looking to pay $1.99 or potentially even more for it.
They offer very little healthy choices, nor any reasonably priced options for these drivers. I know this because I lived it while on the road with my husband. Lunch can easily cost you $60 just for some combo meals and extra drinks to get ya through the next 6-8 hours.
Often there are times you find yourself and your spouse being degraded because of the profession. People tend to assume truckers are some group of uneducated individuals that couldn’t make a living in the “real world” just as they assume the spouse is some woman he most likely picked up off the side of the road somewhere.
Drivers are constantly spoken down to, treated with unfairness at levels most will never experience anywhere else.
Now, Let’s Talk About The Infamous “Home Time” That Many Companies Claim They “Guarantee”…
Lies, all lies I tell ya! No one can guarantee any home time! That is a bait they use to suck you in, and once you are there, you and your family find out the hard way.
Well let me be 100% honest with you, if your spouse is OTR often they don’t get home for the holidays. You may find yourself alone on any single one of them. Fortunately, my husband was able to make it home for every Christmas thus far, however, Thanksgiving and for many other holidays, this wasn’t and still isn’t always the case.
Just the same for anniversaries. Many times he was away, more often than not. These may seem little as you read this but if your love for your spouse is true, keep in mind these times are times you can’t get back. Just as you can’t get them back, you need to find peace within yourself to accept his or her absence during these moments.
Same applies to the children. There will be birthdays that are missed, school events, conferences, concerts, and etc. the list is honestly endless. There is a higher probability that your spouse if he/she is regional or OTR will be absent from all of these situations because of this profession.
Here is a prime example of how this guaranteed home time is a complete joke; February 14th, 2015 was our wedding day. In the days leading up to our special day, my husband was on the road. At this time he was still an OTR driver hauling cars. His boss at the time “promised” he would be home in time for our wedding.
I began to panic when on the 9th of February he was still over 2,000 miles away from home with a full load of cars to deliver. Now I am not talking drop them all at the same place, they were all personal vehicles that went to each customer’s home. He promised me that no matter what he will make it home.
He was starting to become concerned himself and told me that if he has to park the truck and catch a flight home he would. In the next 2 days, he drove every single moment of his available drive time. Not stopping till he had a delivery or was required to for his 30 minute DOT break.
By the grace of God, and through his determination he made it home in the later hours of the 12th. He slept but just a few hours and the next day we were out picking up his tuxedo, and getting last minute things ready.
This all happened because of his boss at the time insisting on changing his route, and adding more picks and drops along the way. Often they called these piggybacks or connection cars because they were not from one end to the other. They were cars that he would grab in Maine for example and drop in Indiana. Then from Indiana, he would grab more to replace the ones he dropped to carry him home.
As you can see the priority of any company at times, is not the sake of the driver nor the home time they “promise”, it is for them to make money. So just remember when they “promise” you home time it is not a true promise. If my husband would have overslept, or had been delayed by any given stop our wedding may not have happened as planned.
The issue didn’t stop there, we arrived at our planned location on February 13th, 2015. We married as planned on February 14th, 2015. We had planned a honeymoon as many couples do. It was merely for us to have time together and have some fun.
We planned for 5 days following the wedding to honeymoon between Vegas and then remainder days at home. On February 16th my husbands boss called him and told him he booked him a flight to Massachusetts because another one of his drivers abandoned a truck while loaded with cars up there and he needed him to go get it.
As you could imagine I was hurt, angry and everything in between. Yet, my feelings couldn’t stop the situation. If he wanted to keep his job, he had to go. So out of everything planned for our moment the only thing that went as planned was our wedding day.
We had no honeymoon, we packed his bags to go recover a semi instead. It wasn’t long after that he decided to look for a different place of employment. That is when he went to a local company that is regional. I am forever grateful that he made that choice.
Now that my husband has become regional it’s a little different. It’s different in a positive way for us, for our family as a whole. We now are able to see him every weekend, have that family time more often than not. I still work but at least I know at the end of my shift on the weekends I can go home to him.
He is home from Friday late afternoon or Friday night till Monday early to mid-morning. Also, if he wants a day off or needs a day off he now has the ability to have this.
I have the comfort in knowing that more than 3-5 days a month he is home with me. It has helped our relationship tremendously and given me a bit more peace. I no longer feel so stressed knowing that if I need him to help me with something around the house I don’t have to wait a month for him to return home to get his help.
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