Do You Secretly Love To Travel For Work Or Do You Dread It?
I use to LOVE getting on planes. It almost didn’t matter where the plane was headed, I would settle in to my seat with a People magazine and away I’d go. Fast forward to life as a working mom with three boys at home, and I now have very mixed feelings about it. Can you relate? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look forward to a few nights of uninterrupted sleep in a hotel, and, I’ll go ahead and say it, some time to myself! I’d also be lying if I said it’s easy to leave my children and my husband, even if I’m only gone for one night. Something happens to me leading up to a trip, regardless of whether I’m leaving for 24 hours or 5 days. The caretaker in me goes into overdrive, and I feel the need to over–organize, plan and prep in effort to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. My inner-voice starts mumbling things like, “Can my husband handle all the extra work? You sure you want to leave town because the boys really need you? Who’s going to pick up the slack if you’re not there?”
Travelling for work would stir up all kinds of issues for me. First, I would feel guilty for leaving my children and my husband with all the responsibility. Second, I would go into worry overdrive that things wouldn’t get done the right way. Third, I would have anxiety over my return because I always felt a sense of disconnect from my husband and children, despite being very excited to see them. Finally, I got fed up. It didn’t make sense to me how travelling for work could stir up so many of my issues. I started to look at the choices I was making and the pattern I was living out each time I travelled. I had an epiphany: I am in charge of my thoughts and, ultimately, my experiences. I can make different choices, some inner and some outer, to change my current experience when I travel. These different choices make the travel a more positive, guilt and worry-free. They also make the return an easier, love-laden re-entry.
Here are my tips for when you travel for work:
- INNER CHOICE – In your mind, trust your partner, their capabilities, and the love they have for your children.
- INNER CHOICE – Surrender to the requirement of travel and let go of the need to control every aspect of the children’s experience while you’re gone. They will be just fine in the hands of others you trust.
- INNER CHOICE – If you’re feeling guilty about leaving, practice compassionate self-forgiveness (if you’re not familiar with this skill, sign up for my newsletter to receive a complimentary video on the 5-step process; it’s life-changing)
- OUTER CHOICE– Compliment your partner BEFORE you leave town on their ability to take care of the children and all of their needs as well as manage the house duties
- OUTER CHOICE – Be transparent with your children about your upcoming travels – talk to your children about your trip 3 days prior and share details (where you’re going, why you’re going and when you will return
- OUTER CHOICE – Take care of basics – stock the fridge, set up playdates and communicate with caretakers about your trip details
- OUTER CHOICE – Let your children know when you will be calling or video-calling them, so they have something to look forward to. Remember, even 2 days can feel like a long time to children.
- OUT CHOICE – Leave a love note for your partner – either on the mirror in your bathroom, under their pillow or slip it in their work bag. Just something to remind him you LOVE and APPRECIATE THEM.
Even when you think travelling for work is going to include me time, inevitably it doesn’t. So it’s time stop relying on it for that. Make time in your regular day-to-day life to building a pattern of me time. For the next three days, I’m going to take 15 minutes for myself and spend it doing something that brings me joy (reading, power nap, walk around my neighborhood, cup of tea). I know it doesn’t sound like much, but patterns (especially mine) are deeply rooted, and it’s important we be realistic and take baby steps to establish new ones. I’d love for you to join me!
I know this might sound wackadoodle, but I don’t bring presents back for the children and they have stopped asking! My main reason for doing so is, I don’t want my homecoming to be tied to receiving a physical present, but rather focused around the excitement, hugs, conversation we have when we first see each other after being separated. In my experience, it makes for a much more authentic, exciting, lovely reunion.