I’ve had to travel quite a bit for work over the last month, and as I boarded the plane last week, I thought about the ways I strive to provide stability and continuity for my kids while I’m gone. Most of us mamas are the “household managers” for our families, which can throw routines out of balance when we travel.
Here are my tips for traveling moms to keep everyone loved and taken care of while traveling:
- Give yourself plenty of time to prepare. I start planning the kids’ schedules about a week in advance, stock up the freezer with staples, begin packing, and tackle extra laundry. Whatever you need to get your household prepared and organized, build in that time (and don’t forget about getting yourself ready as well). I also use this time to prepare my kids by talking to them about where I’ll be.
- You are setting a good example for your kids. Guilt…we all have it. We doubt, we struggle, we worry, we miss. Be gentle with yourself and hold your head high knowing your kids see you as a strong, hardworking and dedicated mama. Note: There are infinite ways we show our kids we are strong, hardworking and dedicated. You don’t have to be a working and/or traveling mom to do it. This is just one example.
- Create a “survival guide.” This document keeps everyone informed. It is organized by day with reminders about what the kids need depending on their after-school activities, where they are going after school, homework reminders, etc. My kids are old enough now that I email the guide to them so they know the plans.
- Stay connected through a scavenger hunt: Have some fun! A good friend gave me the tip to hide little surprises, with a hint provided each morning. It can be a fun cereal to a new pair of fun socks to a written note/joke.
- Use technology to communicate: Schedule time in the survival guide to FaceTime with your kids. Or, record a video of you. Read a book over the phone. For older kids, send a text or chat over Instagram. When my kids were younger, it was confusing for them to see me over video chat, so we talked on the phone instead.
- Bring home a little souvenir: I’ve found that when I’m looking for a perfect (small) token of my travels for my kids, I feel less sad and more connected to them.
- Tap into your village: From carpooling to play dates to lunchroom hugs, ASK for help. It’s also helpful to email your kids’ teachers to let them know you’ll be gone. They will give your child a little extra TLC (and perhaps a little extra understanding if he/she acts out).
- Hire help: Whether it be a nanny or someone cleaning your house and doing your laundry, or preparing meals, some things are just.worth.it.
- Bring them with you! Who knows, maybe everything aligns just perfectly and you make your trip into a family adventure. Or, maybe your mom or sister-in-law is willing to travel with you and can watch the kids while you work. You then have evenings together to explore and experience.
- Savor the appreciation you are wrapped in upon your return! Breath it in and revel in it (it’s fleeting, but sweet as honey).
Any other tips that have worked well for you? Please share!