Mildred, wife of a businessman and mother of three -- with another one on the way.
Sometimes single because ... Husband, Philippe, manages employees in both Nashville and in Grenoble, France, where he travels at least one week a month.
Best advice ... Find friends in similar situations. "A mutual 'moaning' friend can be a lifesaver. It's not even about moaning all the time, but some days one hour of mutual moaning helps me feel better and get ready to think positively and go forward. Just thinking of someone else's woes helps take your mind off your own."
Stays connected to husband by ... Talking on the phone twice daily, usually when Philippe can speak with the kids as well. The time difference is severe and makes this difficult, so they fill in with e-mail.
Stays connected with others by ... Trying to have someone for dinner every week and volunteering at school.
When she's feeling challenged ... Chocolate and friends, she swears, are her two biggest crutches.
And the perks are ... Mildred's family gets to travel overseas and live in company-paid housing. Philippe racks up frequent-flyer miles so the entire family can take longer holidays to places like the Grand Canyon. Last but not least, the kids are bilingual and have a grasp of geography most kids can't even imagine.
Tricks of the trade ... Mildred uses time alone at night to plan family outings, which helps her to focus on good times. She turns her back on chores that make her crazy, such as healthcare paperwork (with insurance in Europe, it's complicated) or paying bills. When Philippe gets home, he spends time with the kids so she can tackle paperwork.
His side of the story ... Philippe loves to cook and entertain, so when he is home he spends lots of time in the kitchen. Sometimes he fixes lasagna and zucchini gratin before he leaves on a trip, so there are some meals Mildred doesn't have to prepare. When he's home, he has quality time with the kids at the swimming pool, riding bikes, or running in the park. In the evening he helps with the children's baths and cleaning up, but the bedtime schedule is temporarily disrupted when he's home. It takes some time to relearn the routine and keep to the schedule, but their 6-year-old, who particularly misses his dad, looks forward to these special moments.