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March 24, 2011 / Asimplemother

Working Mother – Must Travel

As a working mother my job requires me to travel on a semi-regular basis.  I usually travel one to two times per month for two-four days.  As a traveling mom I have tried developed a routine for preparing myself and my family for the trip. 

Preparing Myself

Do you have a routine for preparing yourself for a trip? When and what do you pack?  I usually fly, so I have my travel bag pretty well stocked.  I like to stock it with my favorite things. The smells of a familiar soap and shampoo make me feel like I am at home.  I also never forget my iPod and a good book.  Although I usually have plenty of work to do while I am traveling, I try to find the positive in traveling, like the opportunity to read a good book uninterrupted.

Which leads me to why I must prepare myself mentally for the trip.  I never like leaving my daughter and husband to jet half-way across the United States, but it is part of the job (which I enjoy).  Usually about two-three days before my trip I find myself conducting some self talk about the trip – its value, the book I will read, the extra workout time I can have and the uninterrupted dinner I will have (I’d still rather be at home).  I keep repeating these things to help convince myself that it will be OK.  And it usually is. 

Preparing My Family

With both of us working it is never easy when one of travels (which both of us do at different times).  After spending all day at work, my husband is on his own for dinner, bath time and bed time.  Not to mention the chaotic mornings getting both he and our daughter ready.  But there are a few things we do that helps reduce the stress, but never eliminates it.

  • I usually will prepare a few meals over the weekend and put them in the refrigerator and freezer for them.  This includes breakfasts, lunches and dinners. 
  • I make sure that all supplies (diapers, etc) on hand because it is always this week that we run out.  If I know that they will need to go somewhere during the week, I will restock the diaper bag.
  • We strive to have all of the laundry done and house chores done prior to our trip. With an expressed expectation that these items will most likely not be done while I am traveling.
  • Get extra help from our nanny.  Having her stay late or overnight can really help.  Obviously we pay extra for this, but it is especially helpful if my husband has an evening meeting or event he needs to attend. 
  • Keep communication open! I always answer my husband’s phone calls when I am traveling. Sometimes he has a question or just needs to touch-base. Regardless it helps reduce the stress of my traveling.

When I Return

Some times I return to a house that looks like 25 bachelors just hosted an all-night kegger.  The kitchen has dirty dishes and toys are scattered EVERYWHERE! Not to mention the clothes, shoes and stuff all over.  But, I say nothing. I say nothing because I wasn’t there to know how busy, tired or fussy they were.  Instead, I spend some quality time with them helping reorganize our house.  I do not plan meetings or significant events for the day I return.  It allows flexibility to spend the time with my daughter and to get us caught back up. 

And last but not least, I encourage my husband to stop after work with his friends for some guy-time.  He has also had a long, busy week and probably just needs some “dad-time”.  Usually a beer with some buddies refreshes him for the next trip! Thank goodness!

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2 Comments

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  1. Stephen Kelly / Mar 24 2011 3:52 pm

    And last but not least, I encourage my husband to stop after work with his friends for some guy-time.

    That seems as true wisdom! Does he do the same for you when he returns from out of town? 🙂

    One thing that is nice about having the other half staying home while you are away is not having to deal with the battening down of the house hatches. Before leaving for Seattle I had to find a dog sitter, someone to check my mail for me, and someone else to drop by the house now and then to make sure everything was secure. Seems simple enough, but the more you travel this way the more favors you must request, and the more indebted you become to friends and family!

    • asimplemother / Mar 27 2011 11:08 am

      An old fashion thank-you note goes a long way. Or, having them over for dinner shows you truly appreciate their help. I keep a large box of postcards/envelopes on my counter. That way I can grab one and send it quickly.

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