DEAR HARRIETTE: My work causes me to take four business trips throughout the year. Other co-workers have much more frequent, and shorter, trips to New York, Miami and Dallas. I consider myself lucky that I only have to travel quarterly and for a few days at a time. I have been at this job for just over a year now, and every time I have gone away, I Skype with my wife. I am typically away for four to five days, and each time I've gone away, my wife has broken down.
She does miss me, but she is mostly stressed because I am not there to split chores with her, so she must work and take care of our three young children alone. She does not want to take days off when we could use those on a family vacation. What can I do to make my business trips bearable instead of dreadful for my wife and stressful for me? Everything seems to unravel at home when I leave, and it affects my performance at work. -- Traveling Father, Detroit
DEAR TRAVELING FATHER: You may be able to help the family by getting your wife help. If a family member lives nearby, ask him or her to step in when you are away. Or hire someone to support with housework and the children. She may not like this at first, but she has to learn to adjust to your schedule. When you talk to her, stay positive and assure her that it will all work out. Select a helper who is strong and compassionate.