A few weeks ago, one of LGT's driver's wives reached out and asked us a favor. She wanted to share her story about how her and her family manages the trucking lifestyle. Trucking isn't an easy choice for families and couples, and she knows that firsthand. Charmaine Moore is a member of multiple communities online for truckers wives where they each offer support and advice for one another. She thought that with her husband being an LGT driver, she wanted to reach more partners and families and let them know they're not alone. Here's her story:
“It takes a special kind of woman to be married to a trucker. I wear a lot of hats but I’ve taken some hats off too. There are many things to consider when choosing this lifestyle. My husband will be gone leaving myself and my kids alone. Will I make enough money to sustain our life? I’ve got a kid battling undiagnosed health issues. What if I fail? As the wife I understood these concerns, but God had put this on my heart so I had to trust him to keep his word.”
Charmaine met her husband, Steve at eighteen while she was studying Law Enforcement Criminal Justice in college. What started as a funny prank call turned into a loving and long-lasting relationship. The two of them had been seeing each other for a few years, and decided to finally get married. When the time came to start planning for the future, Charmaine and Steve both knew they would need to find a job that could support them. That's when the two of them looked to the trucking industry. They both knew that switching to OTR trucking came with its own set of challenges like leaving your family, but it was Charmaine’s encouragement and beliefs that led them to the decision. Her husband was hesitant and in order for him to continue this new career, Charmaine decided to put her career on hold and become completely responsible for their children’s education and upbringing. Steve started driving over-the-road in 2007, where Steve was able to afford the monthly bills, but other expenses soon made their budget tight.
“I gave up pursing law enforcement about two years before my husband ever went OTR. We wanted them raised by us, not a stranger. We decided to fully commit to homeschooling our two boys. Our oldest had a small learning barrier, and our youngest, now middle son, had an immune system that was so compromised by steroids that he caught almost every nasty bug he came in contact with. Our family is always first. I remember the day I had a big blubbering cry at the police station where my oldest met up with his fellow Civil Air Patrol Cadets. I looked around at the officers and in that moment I remember feeling such loss. Steve was trying to figure out what was wrong with me. He asked ‘why are you crying?’ and our son said ‘Dad look where we’re at, mom isn’t going to be a police officer anymore’. It wasn’t easy giving up that dream.”
With Charmaine fully committed to raising and educating their children at home, Steve started taking extra loads to help with finances, eventually earning enough to put their children into homeschool academies. While there were benefits to this new role, other challenges soon presented themselves. Something that is difficult in having your partner be on the road is the independence. Many instances in life will arose for Charmaine, such as seeking medical specialists for her son or giving birth prematurely and her husband is away. Being OTR puts a strain on families because one partner is left to maintain the household for weeks at a time. Charmaine keeps a constant line of communication with her husband, but there are many times she has to make decisions on her own. Feeling connected with her husband is a vital element in Charmaine's relationship, and over the years they have experimented with new ways of doing so.
“I wrote him love letters while he was in trucking school at Swift. I do all of the above to keep us talking and engaged with one another. Before our youngest was born. We’d go rent a room at an upscale hotel for two nights during his home time just to get away from the house. New scenery, breakfast in bed, lunch and dinner out somewhere with no kiddies for the time being just to connect him and I. You have to think outside the box and do your best to keep some spice in your life. Men need to know their woman supports them.”
Charmaine and her husband have also found different ways to connect with each other like sharing podcasts with each other, or even conducting self-Bible studies and discussing with each other while he’s out on the road. A hardship that the two have come to work through are family events or when their children have sporting events. Often times Steve and Charmaine will plan out what days he can be home and have found something that works for both of them. Since her husband is away a majority of the time, Charmaine works tirelessly to keep Steve updated on what's happening at home and to let him know they how they are carrying on. Communicating between the two of them isn’t the only issue they deal with though.
“There have been times where I’ve wanted to throw my hands up with Steve and trucking all together. I may want to dance in my kitchen but there’s no dance partner there. He may have had a bad day and he’s taking his frustrations out on me or vice versa. The road is not for everybody- it’s tough on marriages. I sense when he has had enough for the day or week and he needs to reboot. I’ve had many days where I’ve let a whole hour long podcast play through the speaker and I just hang up after it’s over (no discussion) because I don’t want to talk, I just want to say at least we connected. As much as I hate to admit it, it needs to be said: a trucker’s wife can run the whole family dynamic with her eyes closed, but sometimes her trucker can come home and he’ll be seen as an interruption. I don’t like to say that, but there is truth in it. Times like those I have to try to be intentional and I have to show compassion. He’s on his schedule, just happy to be in the solace of his own home”.
The trucking lifestyle has many challenges and tests for families and couples to endure, and often times it can push people to their limits. Many wives and partners come up with their own ways to cope, such as therapy, joining online groups, or even meeting up in person. For Charmaine, she relies heavily on her religion to help her through those difficult times.
“We could not have done this if The Lord wasn’t steering our ship. I am a vocalist/worship leader at my church. I sing and pray through so many situations. These very acts are how I finally convinced Steve to apply at LGT. My garage is my place. I go out to the garage to sing, talk and pray to the Lord for guidance in all things. It is my place where I seek answers.”
Going into this decision, Charmaine knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but it would be worth it. Knowing that she is who her husband relies on and what keeps him motivated is enough for her. Although there are tough days for the both of them, they always remember that they are a team.
"You have to take your guy’s feelings into consideration. It’s not easy but it has to be intentional. Understand that he just endured many things to provide for you and the family. Do your best to be his peace, not his opposition."
The trucking lifestyle is definitely not for everyone, but for those who live it, know that you aren't alone. To hear Charmaine's full story, listen to our podcast episode Being a Trucker's Wife, available soon on our website driverstoriespod.com or your favorite streaming apps.