Balancing Motherhood and Work-Related Travel


As you might imagine, traveling for business does not come easy when you are also the main caregiver in your family. That is the case for me. I have two boys, ages 9 and 6 1/2. They are school aged, which helps, but what about those in between times when the kids get out of school and before dad gets home? Or, those times when travel conflicts with minimum school days or school vacation days like 4 days off during the week because it’s President’s Day?

The short answer: it’s mind boggling. All those “things” you do as a mom that come naturally that you don’t normally download to anyone else. Oh, like packing school lunches, making sure the library books are in the kids’ backpacks when it’s library day, giving the cat her medicine on specific days during the week…you get the picture. Now you have to write is all down for your spouse to handle. And, you have to coordinate childcare between the time the kids get out of school and the time your husband arrives home from work. This means many phone calls/emails to/from friends and relatives asking for help (the kids like their play dates). It also means notifying the teachers where the kids are supposed to be in the event of a snafu, and it all needs to be clearly outlined so your husband knows where to pick up the kids when he gets off of work. Are you tired yet?

I create an Excel Spreadsheet broken out by day. Everything from what day the garbage cans need to go to the curb to ensuring that the Valentine’s Day cards (that I worked on with my children ahead of time) get put in their backpacks so they can exchange them during their parties.

In prep for these trips, I make dinners ahead of time (and freeze them) and/or we plan for simple meals. I do all the laundry before I leave. Of course, the responsibility of my travel does not fall entirely on me by any means. While I am away, my husband steps up to the plate – using that Excel Spreadsheet as a guide to accomplishing those day to day “things”. (He probably appreciates me more when I return, an added benefit, and I am appreciative for his support.)

When I am not traveling, I offer to take my friends’ children for play dates, especially when they have work or an appointment. I am fortunate to have a supportive group of friends and nearby relatives.

Do I feel guilty about traveling? No. My husband supports me in this effort. And, I know that I’ve worked my darndest to ensure a smooth transition during my travels by planning ahead of time. I feel my business gives back in so many ways – from our product that relieves nausea, a very common and debilitating problem; to our charitable donations to Fertile Hope; to providing income to our employees/consultants and doing our part to stimulate our economy; to serving as a role model for my boys (working mindfully towards a goal); to providing income for my family to help us meet our personal, financial and philanthropic goals.

Business travel as a mom may not be easy, but it’s worth it to me. And, frankly, those things in life that do come easy are usually not the ones that we savor. It’s those that we work hard at that we typically find the most memorable and the most rewarding.