I’m often asked how I can stand to leave my kids when I travel for business.
“Don’t you miss them?”
“Who takes care of them?”
Um, my husband.
“Do you feel guilty?”
I’ve been traveling for work since before I had children. Sometimes, internationally and for weeks at a time. Once our family expanded, business travel became harder. In the beginning, I felt guilty. I worried that it would be too hard for my husband, and I missed my kids like crazy. In a society where mothers are over-scheduled, overworked, and can barely find time for themselves, business travel could send you over the edge. However, I’ve come to realize that business travel is a gift. I embrace it, and here’s why!
It’s Good For My Career
I’ll state the obvious first. Business travel allows me to attend training or conferences with peers where ideas and best practices are free-flowing. I’m given the opportunity to view things from a different lens and determine how I can translate what I have learned into my job. I aim to come back with two to three “nuggets” that I can immediately implement to make my job easier, be a better leader, and contribute more to my staff. I’m fortunate to have this opportunity and support from my employer.
I Go At My Own Pace
I always seem to be frazzled when we’re traveling as a family. I pack all of our bags, make sure we have the right activities planned, and I worry about getting through the airport with enough time. When I travel for work, I’m just responsible for me. I don’t have to stop to take anyone to the bathroom and no one is complaining that they are hungry or bored. I also love taking in the culture of a new city and visiting landmarks when I have time.
I Catch Up On Movies And Books
Before I travel, I download a new book or movie. As soon as I’m in my seat, I have headphones out and am in my own world. That romantic comedy I have been wanting to watch, but I can’t turn on around the kids? I’ve seen it! The latest best-seller that everyone is talking about? I’ve read it! And in my hotel room, I’m in charge of the remote. I can watch the news while I get ready in the morning and old reruns of 90210 and Friends in the evening.
I love great food, great wine, and fancy restaurants. Traveling gives me the opportunity to try new cuisine. I’m usually traveling with co-workers or peers, so I have someone to eat with. I have never once been interrupted by a coworker to take them to the bathroom, hear them complain that they don’t like the menu, or asked them not to touch me with their feet while I am eating. Instead, I engage in adult conversations about politics, world events, and (sometimes) parenting. If I’m on my own, I find a local take out restaurant and liquor store; grab some food and a bottle of wine. Then I head back to my room where, uninterrupted, I enjoy a quiet meal and catch up on a show or book – or answer the hundreds of emails I missed being out of the office.
I Get The Entire Bed To Myself
Some people have trouble sleeping in hotel rooms. Not me. I love it! The plush comforters, extra pillows, and temperature set exactly how I like! At home I never intend to wake in the morning sandwiched between a dog and a child, but I always seem to be unable to move and with some tingling. And my husband is on his side with room to spare. When I travel for business I can stretch out and roll over, and no one wakes me up in the middle of the night. Oh, and someone else makes my bed every day!
Generally, by the time the trip is over I’m ready to come home. I’m always met by two little ones running to me with arms wide open, showering me with hugs and kisses. It may be the best feeling in the world that a mother can experience. I show them photos I’ve taken and bring out souvenirs that relate to the place I have been. I get to share a little of the culture from a new place – and I see the wanderlust in their eyes.
If you’re struggling with leaving your kids for your next business trip, I hope you can view it as the gift it is, and embrace the time you get to just ‘do you’! You deserve it!