During the first year of my child's life, I took
Business travel for working moms can be a stressful time for mom and her family. However, I want to reassure you...it does NOT have to be this way! During that first trip away from my child, a colleague told me that it wouldn't get any easier. That statement led to my determination to find a way to make it easier for me, my family, and other traveling working moms out there. So, I started implementing the strategies that I am going to share with you today. And, lo and behold, it DID get easier. A ton easier, in fact.
Without further ado, 9 sure fire ways to make business trips bearable (plus a bonus tip, just for you!).
1) Decorate the Family Calendar. For something extra fun, glue Hershey Kisses on the calendar for each day you are away. This is a yummy way for your children to countdown the days until you are home.
2) Make Packing a Family Endeavour. Ask your children to help you pack for your trip. This small gesture will help them feel included in your work life. Also, have your children choose a special item of theirs that you can bring with you. And, you can do the same for them. This will help them feel connected to you.
3) Leave Surprise Notes Everywhere. Before your departure, place special notes or cards in the children's room, their car seats, in their favorite book, in their seat at the kitchen table, in the cereal box, in their lunch box, in the arms of their stuffed animal, and other creative places that are sure to get noticed. I don't know about you, but I love receiving surprise notes. They make me feel cared for and loved. By the way, don't forget about hubby! Leave him a note or two as well.
4) Arrange a Special Outing. Arrange for daddy to do something extra special with your child that occurs ONLY when you are away. It could be going to a special place or as simple as sleeping in sleeping bag on the living room floor.
5) Minimize the Disruption. If daddy is not involved in a certain part of the daily routine, make sure to map out the schedule and provide a step-by-step list of what to do at what time. For example, when my son was an infant, I stored 3 containers of baby food and 3 bottles of milk in a large Ziploc bag for each day that I was gone. This way, my husband did not have to think about a thing until dinner time. He dropped my son off at daycare with the Ziploc bag in tow. I also laid out an outfit for our son for each day I was gone. Honestly, I did this more for my son's benefit than my husband's. Who knows what Karsten would have showed up at school wearing if hubby was left to his own devices!
6) Make the Trip to the Airport a Family Affair. Have your hubby bring you and the children to the airport for drop off. Many kids l-o-v-e all of the excitement that occurs at the airport. Plus, it is always awesome to receive those last-minute hugs and kisses from your kiddo's!
7) Technology Can be Your Bestie! Facetime (iphone or ipad) or Skype works lovely for your virtual 'tuck you into bed' routine. They can watch you read them a book (be sure to pack a copy in your suitcase) and sing them a song.
8) Capture your Voice on a Recordable Story Book. This is one of the best inventions ever...You can record your voice while reading your child's favorite bedtime story, such as 'Goodnight Moon', 'All the Ways I Love You, and 'Guess How Much I Love You, to name just a few! Whenever they want to hear mommy's voice, they just hit play! You can purchase the storybooks online at hallmark.com or at your local Hallmark store.
8) Plan a Special Outing with the Children When You Return: Schedule a fun day or activity(Zoo or a Day Trip to a favorite place) over the weekend following your return. This is a time for you and your children to reconnect and spend quality time together.
Bonus Tip Just For Mom: Enjoy your time away! As they say, attitude is everything. View your trip as a mini-vacation. After your business meetings are finished for the day, treasure the time you have for you. There are no chores to tackle, no dinner to make, no lunches to pack, no homework to oversee, and no interrupted sleep. Perhaps you can even throw in a massage, a workout, a mani/pedi, a movie, room service, sit in the hot tub or steam room, read a book, or have dinner with a friend who you haven't seen in a while. The options are endless. Oh, and don't forget about the plane ride! It can be a great time to catch-up on reading or on sleep!
After implementing the aforementioned strategies, you and your family will feel at peace with you being away the next time you head out the door for a business trip. You'll get uninterrupted sleep (WOO, HOO!), your children will have some special 1-on-1 time with daddy, and you are modeling how to handle a busy, successful career while ensuring that your family is cared for in a big away! Shoot, with all of the fun you have lined up for your children, they may just look forward to your next business trip!