How do you handle business trips as a mom? Is there anything you can do to prepare your kids for your business travel? How do you balance everything? Reader A wonders:
I am a working, single mom and happen to be taking my first of quite a few “extended” business trips next week. My sister and parents are helping out with my lovely 4-y/o for the 4 days/3 nights I’ll be gone, but I want some tips on how to make the whole thing easier. I’ve read the pieces on business trips on Corporette, but haven’t been able to find one on the Moms side of things. Can you help?
Interesting! Whenever I have to travel away from my family there is a mix of dread (I have to leave them for X days!) as well as eagerness (I get to leave them for X days!). I’m curious to hear what the readers have to say, but here are a few tips:
- Maintain routine for your child. Emphasize to your caregivers that you really want your four-year-old’s life to continue as it normally does. Attend all the usual classes… see the usual babysitters (if any) during the week for the same amount of time he normally does… Particularly, the bedtime routine should all be as close to “normal” as possible. That said…
- Skype or FaceTime regularly. Build in a regular time for your child to Skype with you — the regular check-in should make him, and you, feel better. If you don’t already Skype or FaceTime regularly with your childcare team, walk them through the process so you know that they know how to do it (or so you can see where confusion or other problems might come up).
- Leave a printed itinerary in your house with your contact information and whereabouts at all times.
- Make sure your caregivers have the emergency information they need, as well as any insurance info. I keep a photocopy of my sons’ insurance cards in the diaper bag, and we have a laminated sheet on the fridge with the numbers for their doctor and poison control, as well as what their last recorded weights were (and on what dates).
- Prepare yourself for a gamut of emotions. Your child may barely know you’re gone… or he may be excited to see his caregivers… or he may resent you for leaving him for so long. Brace yourself for whatever comes, and make sure you allow for extra time to get out of the house for your departure.
- Tell your son about your trip when you get back. Why you were gone, what you saw and did — share some of the wonder.
Finally, it doesn’t sound like pumping is in the mix for Reader A, but we have talked about the logistics of pumping in a different office on Corporette.
Readers, what do you do? Do you have any tips for traveling without your kids? How do you coordinate things at home and at work? Here are some other articles on the topic that may be helpful:
- Juggling Family and Work Travel [Motherlode]
- Survive Your Time Away: Tips for Traveling Moms (And Dads) [Devex]
- 10 easy, no-tears tips for working moms who travel [MBA4Success] (great tips with a lot of fun ideas!)
- Keeping Mom’s Business Trip from Being Mom’s Guilt Trip [Smart Women Travelers]
- Travel Without Kids [Kids’ Health]
- The Working/Traveling Mom [Proud Working Mom]
- When Mom Travels for Work [NY Times]
- Parents’ travel for work puts strain on families [Chicago Tribune]