This work life balance thing with a family is NOT easy. One thing with my job is that I am often required to travel. I THOUGHT I had the traveling working mom bit down, even though I have 3 smallish children at home. Having a few months home without the hustle and bustle of the friendly skies - I am starting to realize that maybe I didn't have it down as well as I thought.
Finding That Work Life Zen
After returning from maternity leave with my 3rd child last June, my season of travel for work picked back up. It was back to business as usual, making sure that my kids and husband knew I loved them - all while traveling back and forth to various places - exhausted. I found that I could shorten my work trips by taking the first flight out and the last flight home. Or if that wasn't an option, I could take the first flight home in the morning, but all of those options left me as one VERY tired mom who wanted to be "on" for her kids and family - but ended up being asleep as soon as possible.
It's been 3 months since I've been on a business trip. I haven't had this much time at home in years and honestly can say I needed this. My 3rd trimester is right around the corner, and our event season at work doesn't go into full swing until August. I am embracing this season of not traveling and connecting with my family in ways that I didn't know I missed.
Finding the work life family balance is critical. Before my last business trip, I was tired and missing my family terribly. I am so glad we were able to work out the last business trip where the family could go with me. I attended SXSW in Austin and having family that had recently moved there the kids and husband were able to join me. Having my kids there after the long days meant the world to me. My son's 1st birthday landed during the trip, I didn't have to miss it. The kids were home for Spring Break so after each day at the conference we could go do something Austin and enjoy family time in our favorite city. I realized then that the quiet, empty hotel room with room service that I was loved, was actually overrated.
What I Have Noticed While NOT Traveling
My husband and I are in sync. Not that we're not when I'm on the road, but I feel like I have time at home to be his wife and support system and am not always asking for help with this or that. As much as I prepare the kids for me traveling as possible, trying to make it as easy as possible for my husband - it just isn't easy.
Being home more with my kids is great. Helping with homework that we can't do over Skype, or even going thru their binders at night is something I never thought I would appreciate.
But of all things that I had no idea that was missing was the connection between my youngest and myself. While I've loved this little boy before he was even born, we had a rough start with many sleepless nights and a really bad bout of colic. Then throwing myself back into work, I feel like I missed a bonding time that we've now been able to establish. Each Thursday night, for the most part it is just me and Iza's time. We get to hang out, connect and laugh. He had grown so close to my husband, I didn't even realize why. Well, his mom wasn't his primary care taker.
While I'm someone who tries to live with no regrets, I do believe in lessons learned. I need to make an effort to better balance my work travel with my family. There I said it!
It's been a sweet season. I'm happy to be home, not racking up miles and enjoying the family and growing this baby. But when my travel season returns, I'm going to make sure to recognize all the needs that my family needs from a mom and address those with each booked trip. As a wise person once told me, it's a marathon not a race to the finish. You have to pace yourself or else you will wear yourself out.