Parenting and Business Travel
While I used to travel for work a lot more, sometimes a few a times a month, I still have to travel every so often for business. While it’s hard to be away from my family for a few days because I miss them so much, sometimes it’s even harder to logistically be there for them for the things I need while I’m away.
Don’t get wrong, my husband can hold down the fort just fine. But before I leave for a business trip I like to have a plan for keeping some continuity and routine at home for my family before I board that plane or train.
Luckily, we have lots of family locally, so we have about four different relatives we can call in a pinch if my husband needs back up while I’m away…whether it’s picking up my son from aftercare or making sure the dog is walked. If you don’t have family locally, try to identify one or two people that you trust implicitly – like a neighbor or a best friend, or the parent of one of your child’s best friends.
Second, take time to think about the time difference. When I travel to the West Coast, it makes it super hard to say good morning or good night to my husband and son. At 8:00 am on the West Coast, it’s almost lunch time here and at night by the time my work day is done, it’s past my son’s bedtime. If we know in advance that the time zone will create communication challenges we try to identify a few times when I will try to call. For example, I’ll plan on taking a quick break in the afternoon to say a quick goodnight at a pre-determined time so that I can get back into my meeting and I know they’ll be expecting my call.
I also communicate with my husband…he might call it over- communicating what’s going on school–wise with my son. We’re both pretty hands on when it comes to parenting, but let’s face it, like most moms I’m the keeper of the calendar and I’m the main point of contact with my son’s teacher. So if there’s a special project due or he has to wear something for spirit day on a day I will be traveling I take the extra steps to lay out the clothes beforehand or shop for the supplies needed for the project before I leave for my trip.
Often, when I’m traveling, like many people I don’t have the luxury of checking in with my husband to find out how his day went or be there to give him a big hug and kiss when he gets home. We use text messaging instead and that way, no matter the time differences or the schedule conflicts, we still have the ability to express our love. I also use my iPhone to send photos of where I am so that my husband can show my son pictures of where I’m traveling. For example, I recently ziplined down a mountain for the first time at a conference I attended and sent the photo right after. They texted back how proud they were of me overcoming my fear of heights.
For a lot of moms, business travel is a necessary part of our jobs…but if we plan ahead to make that time away from our family less stressful, it makes things so much easier.