The first time I went on a business trip I remember thinking it was awesome. I was an adult, traveling without kids, responsible for one bag, and able to crash on my bed alone at night. Now after several trips, the bloom is off the rose. I still love traveling, meeting new friends, and going to new cities, but I’ve learned it’s a bit more complicated than getting on a plane. Here are my survival tips for moms who have to travel frequently while their small children are at home. Please note these tips trend to moms with partners at home. I wish I had better advice for single parents!
1. Communicate with your partner. As soon as I have an itinerary, I forward it to my spouse. We also share a Google calendar, so we can keep track of what’s going on when, even when we aren’t in the same place.
2. Trust your partner. My first few trips, I obsessively planned and printed and called and emailed everyone from teacher to friend to grandparent to make sure everyone knew what was going on. I ran around trying to run last minute errands for the house, I cleaned, I stocked the fridge, but you know what? My husband is completely capable of doing these things! Now I’ve learned to sit down and discuss any needs the family might have while I’m away,. Then we determine if any of these things needs to be addressed in advance.
3. Don’t be afraid you’re scarring your children. The longest I’ve been away so far is one week. When I came back, my daughter clung to me for two days and I felt horrible. When I left on my next trip, I was sick over it, but my husband assured me that she was fine while I was gone. She asked for me, but didn’t panic. I had to learn to do the same. I can’t imagine I’d ever leave my child with someone who wouldn’t be loving and understanding while I’m gone, and as attached as we are to each other, it’s important children learn others can meet their physical and emotional needs as well.
4. They do not need a toy from every trip you take. Seriously. Just don’t get started on that.
5. Organize a folder of information for caregivers. Sometimes my husband comes on trips and other times the kids need to stay with someone else to cover conflicting schedules. During these trips it’s useful for my peace of mind to pass along my info folder. The folder contains contact info for the children’s doctors, dentists, and schools as well as a notarized medical release forms and copies of insurance cards. I then tuck a copy of the itinerary for the current trip in with it. It’s easy to pull out and it makes me feel like the grandparents have everything they need in case of emergency.
6. Have fun! It’s hard to leave the little ones, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a night away. Make the most of me time before it’s back to mom time.
About the author: Gennifer Albin is a recovering academic who realized she could write books of her own and discovered, delightfully, that people would read them. She lives in Kansas with her family and writes full-time. Her debut novel, Crewel, the first in a trilogy, will be published in October 2012 by FSG/Macmillan.
I received no compensation at all – I just really really love this author and giving away fun books! All opinions stated are my own.