It's been a while since I have had to travel for work. My last full-time job, I had to travel often. It was hell. I had 3 kids at the time, 1 was a newborn. I am so glad I don't have to relive those days.
While I don't for see myself having to travel too often (praise Jesus,) I will be traveling some. Last week I headed to San Francisco for Forward with Ford, in a few weeks I'm taking my team to Oklahoma City for one of our conferences.
Tips for the Working Mom Who Travels
If you are a working mom who will be traveling, here are a few tips that I hope will help.
1. Plan Ahead
With 4 kids, I know whenever I leave to go out of town he is going to be taking on extra stress. I try to minimize that as much as possible. I layout clothes for the entire week, putting them in labeled baggies for each day. The kids have to wear different outfits since they are in camp so this helps. I make sure that there are easy to cook meals readily available. I also pre-make any kid lunches to simplify the week.
2. Double Check Your Kids' Schedules
I totally goofed last week. I forgot the boys had an extra swim day and didn't pack a swim suit. Thankfully my husband was working from home and only 5 minutes from school. It was a good reminder to double check school calendars and schedules before leaving.
3. Set an Alarm to Call the Kids
Another goof on my part last week... I was in California, totally different time zone. The first night we had an event that went late. I tried calling the kids to say good night at 9pm, well it was 11pm there time and asleep.
I made sure to set an alarm to remember to call them each night. We do try to Skype bedtime routines when possible. It makes the time away a little less painful.
4. Try to Enjoy Yourself
I admit, I have this problem of not wanting to leave my kids. I love them, and DO enjoy time away from them but as I mentioned, 4 kids is a lot. I know when I leave it is someone else who has to take on the stress and responsibility that I typically do.
If you are going to travel, taking time to enjoy the "me time" is critical. Worrying about your kids every minute isn't healthy or productive. Use the trip to do something for yourself that you typically can't do. Make the best of it!
5. Bring Home a Souvenir
Maybe it was a bad habit to start, but it's worth the effort because I know that it's hard for the kids to adjust when I'm away. Every time I head home from a trip, I bring them a little something (and I always buy a Starbucks mug from each city I'm in.)
This doesn't have to be much, i've brought home candy bars before. It's just a simple reminder for them to know that I am thinking about them while I am gone.
Kids and Separation Disorder
I will mention this since I've gone thru this with multiple kids. When I return from trips, I've had kids upset with me and in their sadness have stopped talking to me or clung to their dad - refusing to show me affection. It was AWFUL, and has happened several times.
This feeling the kids were going thru did go away. It took a few days with giving that child extra attention. This is definitely the most sucky part of being a traveling working mom.
You Can Do This Mom!
I know traveling and working is hard and I'm so thankful my trips are few in comparison to some.?You can do this, mom. Plan, enjoy and remember the kids a little something and all will be fine.