I travel quite a bit for work, and I currently am planning another trip, which got me thinking about a freelance article I recently wrote with tips for traveling moms. I wrote about how much I miss my kids when I’m away, and about how hard it is to give up the sense of control that comes with helping them get ready each morning and then supervising activities like homework at night.
I asked some of my fellow WMAGs for their working mom travel tips, and I shared some of the strategies I’ve developed to help me stay connected when I’m away. I thought maybe WMAG readers would find them helpful, so here they are!
Chat via video.
I try to FaceTime or Skype with the kids at least every other day while I’m traveling. Since my schedule is likely to be busy into the evening, my husband and I text each other to agree on a time when I’ll be in a quiet spot and the kids will be home from ballet, tae kwon do and other extracurriculars.
Make lots of lists.
I write a comprehensive list of things that should get done each day that I’m gone, along with teacher phone numbers and any other relevant information. It’s helpful to my husband, sure, but it also gives me peace of mind to know I haven’t forgotten anything. He and the kids may not follow my lists to a T, but I don’t have to know that!
Lay out clothing.
If your husband is fashion-challenged and/or you have a 9-year-old who’d be happy wearing the same tee shirt and pair of shorts every day (like mine), then you’ll want to provide a bit of guidance. I lay out enough outfits to get both of my girls through until I get home. They may choose not to wear what I’ve picked out, but I feel better knowing I at least tried to keep them from going to school looking like their dad dressed them. (Apologies to the fashionista dads out there—I know you exist, and I send you props!)
Get Dad a bit of back-up.
Susan recently headed out for a long work trip and knew it would be stressful for her husband to have full responsibility of their two children with no breaks. So she arranged for neighbors, sitters and family members to help out periodically. “I set up respite care for the hubs, because I knew he was going to need it,” she says.
Leave love notes.
Casey likes to leave letters to her son for each day that she’ll be gone. She tries to include information about what she’ll be doing each day, often hand-illustrated. During her last trip, she says, “He could touch them so it felt personal, and would carry them with him to preschool.”
Turn Mom’s travel into a geography lesson.
Since Susan’s trip took her cross-country, she spent some time beforehand with her kids and a map, showing them where she’d be going. She also sent her children postcards from each city she visited so they could “follow along.”
Do you have tips for staying connected and (somewhat) in control while traveling without your kids? Please share!