Does your job (or your career in general) require frequent work travel, and could you use some advice from other working moms on how to make things easier for you and your family? While the topic of working moms who frequently travel for their jobs isn’t quite as relevant right now as, say, a year ago, it’s always nice to be prepared — and it can be nice to talk about normal, everyday things from the Before Times, too.
Traveling for work can be extra-stressful for working moms (and their families!), but it also can present you with a nice opportunity for some time to yourself sans kids and spouse. And it can get easier as your kids get older and they can understand where you’re going and why.
Our Week in the Life of a Working Mom series has become a reader favorite over the years (and we’re always looking for new submissions!), and we’re taking advantage of the many posts we’ve published to highlight the info and advice these working moms have generously shared on important topics.
So far, we’ve featured these working moms’ tips on managing au pairs, using grandparents as caregivers, and working from home. Today we’ll share Week in the Life reader advice on dealing with frequent work travel as a working mom.
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Here are four moms from our Week in the Life series who travel frequently for work:
1. M, a management consultant in NYC, married with a 2-year-old
2. C, a marketing director in the Bay Area, married with two kids (ages 3 and 5)
3. C, a corporate auditor in Texas, married with two kids (ages 4 and 8)
4. D, a project manager in Atlanta, married with two kids (ages 2 and 4)
Psst: here are Corporette readers’ business travel must-haves:
Working Moms’ Tips for Frequent Work Travel
Plan Ahead to Simplify Dinnertimes for Your Partner/Spouse
Some of the readers make a few days’ worth of dinner ahead of time — cooking “a huge vat of soup” is one mom’s usual strategy — or stock the kitchen with convenient options. (One mentioned healthy pre-made meals, for example.)
Find Simple Ways to Stay Connected with Your Spouse and Kids
One of the Week in the Life moms, who frequently travels to Asia for work, coordinates her nightly schedule to FaceTime with her kids during their breakfast.
Another makes sure to consistently check in — with FaceTime and Google Hangouts, and by sending her husband texts “randomly throughout the day.”
Another mom shared that she uses her work trips as a fun discussion topic for her and her daughter, talking about going on an airplane and sharing other kid-friendly details.
Other Details from Working Moms with Frequent Work Travel
One mom frequently offers to handle her daughter’s bedtime routine when she’s not traveling. She says she enjoys the chance to spend one-on-one time with her daughter, and it gives her husband a break.
Another reader leaves a “very detailed” daily checklist for her husband (which is a task that the default parent will often find herself doing before going out of town).
Grandparents who can lend a hand with childcare can be a huge help at these times, although this arrangement isn’t an option for every working mom, of course.
More Thoughts from Traveling Working Moms
Here’s what these readers had to say about being a traveling working mom:
“I used to feel really guilty when I’d schedule time with friends, especially when it came after a work trip. I imagined that my husband was probably really annoyed or frustrated with me. I don’t really think he was, but I still get in my own head when I take time for myself like that.”
“I haven’t seen [my daughter] much between personal weekend commitments and a new client that requires travel, so I relish the day to do [daycare] drop-off/pickup.”
While describing a particular weekday morning: “I get the kids up and dressed and try to prepare them for not seeing Mommy for a day and a half. My daughter seems more upset, but I am more worried about my son, who is very attached to me. I love it. My husband offers to take the kids to school. I consider it, as my daughter has warned me she will be crying because she will miss me. I take them to school anyway. E was right. She cried.”
“The arrangement with family for childcare is wonderful. I work for a global company and my role requires travel across the world; if not for being able to leave my children with family I’m not sure I could hop on a plane to Europe or Asia and feel comfortable being so far away.”
Readers, please share your own thoughts and advice! What are your best tips on how to deal with frequent work travel as a working mom? How do you and your partner make things easier on yourselves and your kids if you’re a traveling working mom?
Stock photo via Deposit Photos / mentatdgt.