Business travel can be hard on anyone, but it is especially stressful and difficult for new parents. You’ve spent several weeks or even months taking care of every need of your new infant. Now someone expects you to just leave your baby alone? Will your spouse be able to handle it? How will it affect your childcare situation? Will everything get done? And of course, how sad will you be without your baby? The fact that you’re likely sleep deprived (and very possibly hormonal) doesn’t make putting together a plan any easier.
I’m not going to lie—I dreaded my first trip. Dreaded it. For the 24 hours before I left, every time I looked at the Mini Warrior I cried. But I put together a strategy for preparing for and dealing with the trip, and I got through it. Here is what I did:
Pumping. One of my biggest pre-trip stressors was figuring out how to pump on the road. It’s totally doable, but takes a lot of planning. Here is the post with my detailed pumping strategy (it’s long, sorry) and here is the one with my post-trip report.
Home life. It made me feel less guilty better to know that everything at home was going smoothly. If you are like that, before your trip make sure everyone at home has everything they need. Lists, schedules, and food can all be prepped (to an extent) and given to your spouse and/or the baby’s caretakers. In my case, they were one and the same so I made sure I had plenty of breastmilk in the freezer.
Keep in touch. Keeping up with your home life can make you feel less isolated and alone. Speak with your baby’s caretaker to see if they can send you updates throughout the day. The Home Warrior sent me about a photo per hour each day I was gone so I knew what was going on. He also sent me a ton of videos. It helped me feel connected and like I was still a part of my son’s life.
Enjoy the benefits. While business travel isn’t always a picnic, there are a few things you should try to enjoy. Sleeping through the night, eating in a restaurant (eating with both hands for that matter!), and maybe even some downtime to read a book—things you may have taken for granted before baby that now seem like true luxury!
Let go of the guilt. You will probably feel guilty about a number of things, but in the wise words of Mommy Points, remember what you are doing—you are earning a paycheck to provide for your family. And apparently guilt is just part of the deal with parenting, so try to let it go, do your best work, and enjoy what you can.
Readers, what are your tips for business travel as a new parent?