Help a Reader: How to be a mom and a Road Warriorette?

January 25, 2010

ipood-onesie2I recently got an email from one of my readers asking for help. Her question: is it possible to have children and still travel for work?

“My husband and I will start trying to a child this coming June.  I’m terrified, because like you I’m a Road Warriorette and I truly love my job! I’m afraid I will not be able to travel as much because of the baby and I’m afraid I can lose my job since I won’t be able to perform the duties as often.  I know I’m over reacting and things will work out, but do you or anybody have experience with this? any good websites? How will I pump while I’m away?

Any advise will be appreciated…Thanks!”

Now I will start this by making sure everyone knows–I do not have children yet. Home Warrior and I plan to start in a year or two, and this question has also been plaguing me. How do you travel all the time when pregnant? How do you have kids and travel every week?

I have done some research and talked to some moms, and I think I have found some good ideas for coping. I will save the “How to Travel When Pregnant” post for another day, but here is my advice for traveling moms.  If you have any suggestions or comments, please post them! Help the future moms/Road Warriorettes out!

Make sure you have your spouse’s buy in. Often, the main caretaker for your kiddo while you are gone is your spouse. The two of you need to be on the same page in several departments for this to work. Figuring out, together, the plan for when you travel should be an important part of the “should we try for a baby” conversation. If the idea of being the sole caretaker for your baby during trips freaks him out, investigate early morning childcare, a night nanny, or having a family member spend the night for the first few trips.

About pumping….. See if you can plan your pumping schedule before you go.  Try to find out if the location you are visiting has a mother’s room or other place to privately pump. Try to purchase a pump that is easy to travel with.  On the other side of the issue–start building up your supply early. Freeze some milk whenever you can starting as early as you can so that when your first trip comes around there is enough to last for a while.

Prepare ahead of time. Some articles said moms will leave written instructions for each day, like, “Samantha’s piano lesson, Monday, 4pm, $40″ and the like. Some moms will make meals and freeze them for each day. Do what you need to do so that you’re not worrying the whole time you are gone.

There are ways to make the separation easier for the kids. Some moms leave little notes or gifts for theirspouse to give to the child each night. Another tries to schedule phone calls for the same time each night, or let the kids borrow something of hers like a t-shirt, spritz of perfume, etc. And one mom did something I thought was super clever: she got a “Best Friend” necklace for her and her daughter. They each got a piece, and now the daughter has something special to carry with her all day. Also, you can pick up little souvenirs everywhere you go so your children can feel like a part of your travel.

There are also ways to make the separation easier for you! Knowing you don’t have to worry about all the day to day details, and knowing that your kids feel okay about the trip is very helpful. Of course, separation anxiety isn’t just on the child’s part! Bring photos of your baby to spread on the hotel desk or vanity, or look at on your cell phone. Find other moms you can talk about your kids with. Another suggestion is to minimize the overnight trips. Some trips can be made in a day, which brings separation down to a minimum. Or have meetings via teleconference or webinar. Some moms say they bring their families along. If this works for you, great! You are lucky.

Know that there will likely be some guilt. All of the articles and stories I read mentioned guilt. Recognize that this may happen. But don’t beat yourself up! Your kids will be fine, and you are lucky to have a job that you like so much.

Take advantage of alone time. Some moms mentioned they enjoy taking bubble baths, going to bed early, or simply eating a meal undisturbed. One article suggested getting a massage or facial while you are gone. If the king size bed is there, sleep diagonally! And enjoy it. Remember that moment when you are back home and the kids are bouncing off the walls before naptime.

Readers, any other thoughts or suggestions?

  1. Rose said,

    Your awesome, Thanks!

  2. Savannah said,

    So glad to know I’m not the only one obsessing over how to balance future family plans with a career I love

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