I usually don’t have to travel for business, but this month, I was away to meet with Dr. Gary Chapman and the Moody Publishers team, and then to speak at the women’s retreat of the Rock Church. When I’m away from home, my kids have different responses. For you moms who travel for business, you may relate…
Ethan (8): Why do you have to go away? I want you to stay home!
Me: Honey, some moms have to be away for months or weeks at a time. I’ll be back in a few days.
Ethan: But they’re used to it, I’m not! (said with much wailing and great concern)
Noelle (6): Mom, I’m going to miss you.
(Then while I’m gone, she’ll be the one who will get blue and want to call me or text me a hello).
Lucy (3): (comforting her sister) Don’t worry Noelle. Mommy will be home in a few days.
So if you do have to travel for business, how do you make that time away from your kids as pain free as possible for everyone? Here are a few things that have worked for us (in addition to those texts, emailing pics, and phone calls):
1. Write short notes to your kids for them to read while they are away. Put them in a lunchbox, backpack, bathroom mirror, or under a pillow.
2. Bring back a small trinket (it can be free). Visitor brochures from your travel destination are fun for young adventurers to look at. I flew Southwest so I could bring back honey roasted peanuts to put in Noelle’s lunch the next day (she loves those). The younger your child, the easier this is. I can bring back a pen and notepad from the hotel for Lucy (3) and she’ll grin from ear to ear.
3. Plan a special time together when you get back. Sit down and play with Legos even though you have a hundred emails to sort through. Play a board game together. Go out for ice cream. Take a walk in the park. Make the re-entry back into the home a mini-celebration. You have to plan this or the time will be used otherwise.
4. Show them pictures from your trip and explain what you did. As long as you don’t work as a secret agent, you can tell your kids about your trip in great detail. This teaches them about your career and it connects you to your kids. I love showing the kids pictures of the people I meet in different cities and even pictures of my meals (the kids like to see if they would have liked the meal or not).
Being away can be tough for moms who have to travel for business. But if your kids know you are thinking about them and missing them, it makes the time apart smoother. Consider your child’s love language and speak it when you get back home and while you’re away if possible.
What do you do to make business travel more agreeable for your family?