As a working Mom, I often am required to travel with my job which used to cause a great deal of stress for my family. I thought I would share with you a couple of things I’ve learned to make it easier for them and me while I’m away on business.
- Lose the Guilt
I am a working Mom, and there is nothing wrong with that. I can love my family and love my career.
- Accept Reality
Travel is a part of my job, it’s the career I chose, but my family is always my top priority.
- Stop the Sadness
It wasn’t helpful for anyone when I would call and say “I miss you”. It only made him think about the fact that I was gone which would make him sad.
- My Family was First
I could still do a great job and it was OK for me to step out of a meeting for a couple of minutes to call him before his bed time, or leave the exhibit hall to call and tell him to have a good day at school. He needs to hear from me at those times and I wasn’t missing anything by excusing myself for those few minutes.
So, what we started to do was to plan together a week or two before any business trips to get ready.
- Who, What, Why, Where…
I found that these questions were important to him. It mattered to him whether I would be driving or flying.
- Make it Fun
We always do an art project prior to my trip. We draw boxes on a sheet of paper for the number of days I will be away and decorate it with stickers of a plane or car, the state where I will be, the phone number of the hotel I’m staying in. We would try to color the hotel chain logo with crayons and color pictures of what I might be doing each day. This just made if fun for him and he felt very comfortable with the answers to all of his questions about the upcoming trip. As he got older we would draw two pictures, one for what I would be doing and one for what he would be doing. I would pack our “art” of what he was doing and we would hang our “art” of what I was doing on the refrigerator so he could see it. I would also put some extra stickers and drawings in an envelope for each day I would be gone so he could add them to our masterpiece while I was gone as a way to check off each day of my trip.
- Home at last
I always try my best to schedule my flight home so I am there when my son gets home from school, it’s a little thing but it makes him happy to get off the bus and see me there instead of all the questions to my husband about my arrival time when I’m not there.
I would love to hear from you about how you handle traveling as a working parent.