Traveling For Work That Works For Moms

Lots of moms find it a struggle to juggle their careers with their home lives. When work demands travel, it can become even tougher. Spending even one night away from home is tough enough. If you have to go away for the week, then you’ll have much more to consider. Childcare aside, you need to make sure you’re OK when you’re away from your kids and family too. That’s never easy for a mom!

Packing to go away is something few of us enjoy. Why not let your young children help you? If they are a part of the process, it can help you all feel a bit better about it. Chances are they’ll want you to take a soft toy to cuddle just in case you feel lonely! Kids are quite clued up about routines, especially bedtime routines. It can be a fun game to create the list and put all the bits in the case. Don’t forget your toothbrush mommy!

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If you are still nursing, leaving your baby can be especially hard. You might need to express in advance although don’t be disappointed if you can’t leave enough behind for the whole trip. You might also need to take the pump with you to help you cope while you’re away from your baby. It’s worth taking extra pads with you just in case.

Don’t forget your laptop and your personal tablet. These will help you stay in contact with the kids. You might have a wifi baby monitor you can check in with using an app too. If you’re not certain of your schedule, let them know that you’ll do your best to call around bedtime or straight after school. If you tell them that the timing might not be exact, they won’t build their expectations too high.  

Who is looking after your children while you’re away? Another parent, partner, or grandparent can be an ideal choice. Make sure you clarify any strict rules you have that you want to be consistent while you’re away. Make a separate list of those rules that are really personal preferences. These are the ones you might be prepared to be flexible about when another adult is in charge.

Don’t forget also to detail the essential comforters your children prefer. This will make settling them a lot easier for whoever is left in charge. If you would like full updates, just ask for a quick text message each day once the kids are asleep. If you have some time between the end of work and dinner, why not offer to call and read the kids a story, or have a ten-minute homework session with them?

Saying Goodbye
When it’s time to head to the car to go, your kids might become quite emotional. It’s alright to let them have a teary or get angry. It will get it out of their system and make it easier for them to settle later on. Just assure them that you understand why they have strong feelings right now. Remind them that you’re just as sad that you’re going to miss them too. Big cuddles all round will help everyone to feel a lot better.

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Some parents are happy to give the kids a phone they can contact them with. Don’t let them expect that you’ll answer immediately if you know there will be times when you can’t. Invite them to send a photo or a message once a day if it helps.

Once you’re away, you’re going to need suitable accommodation. Many people that travel to the same areas quite often prefer to use a service apartment. It gives you a familiar home from home so you can enjoy the same neighborhood each time as well. There is also a lot more privacy with this type of accommodation than using a hotel. You can still use the gym or pool if there is one. Keeping fit and active is a priority for lots of moms, so this could be ideal for you too.

Using an apartment also means you can relax and cook for yourself when you’re ready. This is perfect if you have special dietary needs, particularly when nursing. You might also find it is practical to bring your children and your partner or nanny along with you when you travel. Because the cost remains the same, there is unlikely to be a surcharge to pay with this arrangement. Of course, if your employer pays for the accommodation, it’s best to check this is OK!

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Alternatively, you might prefer a hotel so that you have no cooking or cleaning to worry about. It can almost become a mini vacation! When you travel on the company’s buck, though, chances are they need to stick to a budget. You might find an apartment is better suited to the company and to your lifestyle preferences anyway.

Enjoying Some ‘Me’ Time
It’s OK to make the most of some quiet time away from the kids. After all, you have two roles back home - you’re a mommy, and a career woman. Here, you’re having a break from parenting, so catch up with some ‘me’ time! Enjoy a long soak in the bath without worrying if the kids are getting in a mess. Have a late night and lie in until breakfast without kids jumping on the bed.

A break from parenting once in awhile can do every mommy lots of good. Despite working while away, you might even find you feel quite refreshed when you return. Enjoy walks without the buggy, and dinner without having to cut up someone else’s food. It’s not often, if ever, this happens back home! And no, there is no need to feel guilty. You work hard, and a quick break is good for the soul.

Making The Most Of Video And Messaging
Chances are you’ll want to call the kids as soon as you arrive. Video calling is ideal because you can see each other. It’s very comforting for both you and the children. If you can’t coordinate a good time to call, then why not record your video message? You can talk about your journey and some of the things you’ve seen. Kids love seeing different rooms, so why not do a little walkthrough of your apartment?

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The little things keep our little ones happy so don’t think any of it is too boring to include. If you’ve brought your Kindle along, why not read a chapter of your child’s favorite story for the message? If your kids are reading age, then send them lots of text messages to keep them going too. And if you’re a creative family, you might even write a little story between the two of in message form as well!

Business As Usual
Getting back into a work mindset isn’t always easy when you’ve traveled to another office or a conference. Try to treat the day like any other work day, minus the school run and nappy changes, of course. Because you are away for work, some colleagues might think it is OK to contact you out of hours. Be clear that work stops at 5pm and doesn’t start until 8 (or whatever hours you’re used to.)

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You might still be working out of those hours, but those are the times you usually reserve for the family. They’re the people you should be available for during those hours, even if only by phone. You might have the odd business dinner to attend. Just let the kids know you’ll call them back. Don’t be afraid to cut these out-of-hours appointments short. They’re on your time, after all.

Sometimes things can go wrong at home, and you’re too far to get back there quickly. It’s best to put your trust in the caring adults you’ve left your children with. Of course, if there is a serious emergency situation, nothing will stop you getting back home as soon as you can. Assess the situation before the panic sets in. Kids crying for mommy is normal. It might break your heart to say no this time, but it isn’t practical to drop everything for something that isn’t absolutely essential.

How you handle it is up to you, and there is no right or wrong choice here. You’re the parent, and they’re your children, so your decision is the right one for all of you.

Coming Home
At last, you’re ready to come home. Are you picking up any souvenirs or gifts on your way back? Do you reward your kids’ good behavior in your absence? Coming home is often the best bit of any business trip. Usually, the only thing you all want is a big cuddle as you walk in through the door.

It’s normal to miss the kids, and it’s normal for the children to have those typical mini meltdowns while you’re away. Even coming home can be disruptive and over-exciting for them, so expect some more odd behavior for a while. You’ll soon get back into your routines, and everything will settle down - until next time!

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