My husband’s career requires the usual gamut of military life – long hours, trainings that take over weekends and deployments.
My career requires weekend events, late nights writing and the occasional business trip.
So how do we stay sane?
What do dual-career couples do?
Here are 8 tips from dual-career couples who are making it work.
Split those household chores. Ain’t nobody got time to do everything in the house. Our MilSpouses Who Work It have told us time and time again that they have to divide and conquer in order to eat and have a clean house. Whether it’s cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry, washing dishes or having a family cleaning day once a week, they’ve got a system to make sure it all gets done.
Dianne told us, “We both do anything and everything. Whatever needs to get done we divide and conquer. Nothing is off-limits for either of us. It’s the only way to live.”
Meal plan, like a boss. With time being a precious commodity, dual-career couples have their meal planning down to a science. On a Sunday evening you will likely find them prepping meals for the week and parsing up their groceries so that whoever gets home first can make dinner.
They are also likely getting breakfasts and lunches ready to, so that it’s that much faster to get out the door in the morning.
And many dual-career couples are utilizing services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. By getting meals made quickly, there is more time together and a shorter wait for dinner.
Have an awesome support squad. This squad helps you keep your sanity. Each of you have your friends that you rely on for a relaxing evening, to help with a crazy situation or to turn to for a good old vent session. Sometimes you need extra help picking up the kids from school, getting advice on how to handle a difficult co-worker or have a beer with after a particularly hard week.
Support each other’s careers. This means being each other’s career cheerleader. It may mean your spouse encouraged you as you launched your own business and figured out the legality of moving your business between states.
It may mean you found time to show up to those mandatory fun events because your spouse really needs someone there to help make it fun for him or her.
Without that support it makes it harder for each of you to focus on the job that you truly love.
Endure a long commute. At our last duty station, I commuted an hour each way to work because that’s where my dream job was located. Now he drives 45 minutes each way so that we’d be closer to potential jobs and networking opportunities for me.
For us a long commute is a sacrifice that’s worth it when we’re both happy in our jobs.
Have completely different schedules. With your service member having early mornings for PT that may mean an early bedtime for her, but your job may require late nights. Katie told us that she and her husband have “learned to make the most of the time we do spend together.” This advice is key for any military marriage but especially for dual-working couples!
Share a calendar. Dual-career couples tell us they share an Outlook or Google calendar to help manage their schedules. If you have kids you may have a large calendar at home to track everything.
Whatever your calendar system, a shared calendar is necessary to know who will be home when, who is traveling for work when and help plan dinner or getting the kids to their activities.
Communicate, communicate and when in doubt continue to communicate. Dual-career couples told us that it is key to constantly be talking to each other – from those calendars to texting throughout the day to stay on the same page.
Sometimes things come up, so open and regular communication allows for the flexibility needed to survive when you’re a dual-career couple.