A reader writes…
I, like many Americans, am stuck in traffic to and from work every day. Living in Southern California, I feel like I’m in a marriage with the 405 freeway, rather than with my husband. There’s suddenly a lot more tension around the house (once I finally get home). I can’t afford to change jobs, and don’t expect you to dish out marital advice, but what can I do?
Dear, “Chagrined Commuter,”
You’re right, my purpose here is to offer work-related advice, but I find your question interesting —and am sure plenty of others can relate!
For many people, a long commute is just part of the job. You need to factor in this time away as part of your work schedule – which may mean a big shift in responsibilities at home.
Now, I have no idea what your personal life is like, but if you’re expected to be “June Cleaver” and have the chores done, dinner on the table, and kids in bed on time – ALL after pulling an 8-hour workday plus a 2-hour (round-trip) commute, something’s gotta give!
You and your spouse need to openly discuss options and figure out how to divvy responsibilities. Since it doesn’t sound like your commute will be going away anytime soon, I encourage you to make the most out of your driving time. For instance:
- Get on the phone with your hubby (using a hands-free device at all times PLEASE), and chat it up while you’re on the road. He can keep you company; you can discuss your days, and figure out a “plan” for dinner, etc.
- Use the time to unwind. Listen to a talk-radio show, play some good tunes, or enjoy some peace and quiet (something you may not get at work… and you DEFINITELY won’t get at home if you have toddlers!)
- Take advantage of the time to unwind from your day on the job and transition into your “other job” as wife, mom, and/or CEO of the homestead. This mental shift will help you turn off work so that you can fully engage with your family once you pull into the driveway.
Commutes are a lot of work – but so is marriage! My friends at CareerBuilder recently posted an article on this very subject that I think you’ll enjoy: http://www.theworkbuzz.com/worklife/is-your-commute-ruining-your-marriage/
I sincerely wish you all the best and remind you to drive safely!