When you have children, traveling for work – what may previously be considered a perk in your child-less life, becomes a downside. Going for a business trip, whether it is for a couple of days or for a week or longer, is a challenging situation to handle for most working mums. Since there is probably very little you can do about it, these 5 tips will hopefully help make business travel a little less stressful.
Plan Your Backups
Once you have been informed of the necessity of travel, be sure to immediately plan your backups. Confirm with all potential care-givers that they would be able to provide support during your period of travel. These potential candidates could be your spouse, grandparents, babysitters or relatives and friends. On the home-front, try to keep things as close to normal as possible. If you child is staying with a babysitter or relative, leave detailed instructions on bedtimes, feeding schedules, who needs to be where when, and any other necessary information to keep things consistent.
Leave Mummy Reminders
One thing that I find extremely useful is to place “Mummy Reminders” at Hard-To-Miss areas in the house. These reminders can include information on what each kid will require at different times of the day, where the daily essentials (diapers, wipes, clothes) are placed, down to how to operate a baby sterilizer or washing machine if the back-up that you have arranged, is not familiar with the ins and outs of your house.
Check in daily
Once you are away, touch base with your child (and caretaker) every day. Daily chats allow kids to hear your voice and gives everyone time to share his or her day and discuss any concerns. Don’t limit communication to your cell phone. Skype, FaceTime, or other video chat apps are fun and easy ways to keep in touch. My personal preference is to FaceTime the children because I can use the Wifi (Read: Free) in the hotels/office to catch up with the children. Also, it allows me to have a visual reassurance as to the state of the kids and the house.
Return with Love
Upon completion of the business travel, try to make your return as positive as possible. Regardless of how tired you are, try to allocate 10 minutes once you reach home for your children to share with you the happenings while you were away and also to give out whatever souvenirs or gifts you have bought. This way, they would be more receptive to the next business trip that you might have to make.
There could be times when it is impossible to arrange for a caregiver and the only option available is to bring the kids along with you while you travel. Do not be afraid to explore this option with a spouse or a relative who might be able to make the trip with you. Based on my personal experience, with careful planning, this can also turn out to be a fun, family bonding experience. I will cover this unique experience in my South Korea 2017 Trip Report. Stay Tuned!