Being a mom might be the most rewarding job you’ve ever had but many women will say it’s the toughest, too. And since it doesn’t come with an actual salary (although experts say that for the work they do, moms would earn upwards of $100,000 in the workforce), chances are you have a paying job outside the home, which can make a busy life with kids even busier. And if your job requires you to travel, the challenges are even greater.
It can be difficult for anyone who’s trying to balance business travel with family life, but moms face unique challenges. So, if you’re a working mom who travels frequently for business, take a deep breath–we’re here to help! With a bit of careful planning and a few helpful strategies in your back pocket, you can reduce the amount of stress you feel every time you pack your bags and head to the airport.
Communicate clearly with childcare providers
If you’re heading out of town, the responsibility of your little one’s care is likely being handed over to family members, sitters and/or daycare workers. They say, ‘it takes a village’ so be sure you’re well acquainted with yours. Before you leave home, touch base with everyone who will oversee your child and bring them up to speed on everything they need to know. It’s not the time for making last-minute arrangements. Lots of advance communication with childcare providers can help you to feel more relaxed while you’re away, knowing that your child is in capable hands.
Create a schedule
If it’s important to you that your child’s routine is disrupted as little as possible while you’re away, create a schedule that whoever is looking after your child can easily follow. Include doctors’ appointments, play dates, nap times and any other events that are important to your little one’s routine. Consider creating a shareable Google Calendar that can be easily accessed by everyone.
Leave a list of contact information
Make sure that anyone who’s looking after the kids has a list of phone numbers and email addresses for anyone they might need to get in touch with while you’re away, from the child’s school, pediatrician and dentist to friends, neighbors and family members.
Load up your phone
Not only is it important for your caregivers to have important contact information at their fingertips but make sure your own phone is loaded up with all the important numbers you’ll need as well. Plus, download any apps that will come in handy. For instance, the Amazon app enables you to order common baby products and household supplies (and some can even arrive in hours in an emergency!) and there are meal and grocery delivery services that might help to take the pressure out of dinnertime.
Stay in touch
How did we ever live without today’s technology? Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp (to name but a few) are all easy ways to stay in constant touch with loved ones when you’re away on a business trip. When you can’t be together physically, these incredible resources that many of us have come to take for granted, can really bridge the distance.
Pack your toothbrush but leave the guilt at home
It’s hard – we know. Many working mothers struggle with feelings of guilt when they leave their family at home but it’s important to remember that you have every right to your career and that there are people around you who can lend support. And don’t forget that as a working mom, you are providing your child with a role model to look up to and that’s no small achievement.
Bring the family with you
Depending on where your business takes you, consider bringing the family along! Maybe your spouse or partner can take a few vacation days and hang with the kids while you’re working and then you can all be together in the evenings. You might even want to add on a few vacation days yourself for some extra family bonding time.