To most people, the holidays mean time off with family. For OTR truck drivers, however, that might not be the case. Truck drivers are often away from home during holidays due to their driving schedules, and they may be anywhere, at any time, on any day of the year.

But that doesn’t mean you have to completely give up on enjoying the holidays. There are ways you can make the most of your family time.

Steven Perry, who has been a truck driver for 24 years, says, “I take the weekend before Thanksgiving for my family and spend as much time with my family as I can. I was at my uncle’s and aunt’s with all my cousins for dinner this year and I had a great time till I needed to leave for work the day after.”

He advises, “take time off with your family and friends. Balance your life with work and home time. No matter how much money is out there to make, your family also needs you with them.”

Here are some more practical ways for truck drivers to spend quality time with family.

Set Realistic Expectations with Your Family – Unrealistic expectations are dangerous in any kind of relationship. Communicate with your family and let them know the reality of your job. For example, tell them about how scheduling works. Know what your family wants and let them know what you want as well. This will lead to understanding each other better and knowing what to expect in the future.

Celebrate! – Celebrate occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays when you ARE home. It might not be the same, but you don’t have to stick to the calendar date. On the actual dates, you can still celebrate together while you are away by video calling and sending a card or a package.

Enjoy a Hobby Together – When you are home, don’t get hung up on filling up all the hours with plans and visits. Resting and recharging to go back to work is also very important. Do something you enjoy and something that makes you happy. You can take a walk, go fishing, play games, or watch a movie together. Get creative!

Never Leave Home Under Stress – When it’s time for you to return to work, try not to leave home with any loose ends. Was there an argument or a disappointment with your spouse, child, or sibling? Make it right before you go. Remind them of how much you love them.

You might have chosen the truck driving profession to financially support your family. In doing so, learning to find work-life balance is crucial for your relationship with your family, as well as for your happiness. It is important to spend quality time with the people you care about, whenever that time may be. As you make plans for the next holiday, try these tips to make the most of your home time and strengthen your family bond.