I Travel For Work. Here’s How I Stay Connected With My Toddler

When I took my new job last year, I knew there would be travel, eventually.  It came a lot sooner than me or my husband were expecting and it was intense.  I was scheduled to travel back to back weeks, three days here, four days there for months. 

While I initially enjoyed the freedom (traveling with out kids is amazingly efficient and worry free), it quickly took a toll on my physical and emotional health. 

Now, one year later, I can say that travel is still not easy.  If anything, it is harder as she is more aware of my leaving and my absence.  But I have found a few tricks that make the distance feel a little less and make the days away go faster.

I Travel For Work. Here's How I Stay Connected to My ToddlerTake a token

On my first trips, I took one of her little stuffed animals with me. It smelled like her and made me feel like she was close.  It especially helped when she was younger and didn’t understand video chatting yet.  My husband would also sneak little things in my bag to remind me of home.  Now, when I clean out my purse before a trip I subconsciously think I leave the lollipops or the random sock in there to remind me of her (never thought I’d admit that one!)

Invest in apps

We have a video monitor with a phone app. Besides being a great tool when we are home, it is perfect for traveling. In the mornings it allows me to see her and say hello while she gets ready.  It also helps me keep an eye on my fashion challenged husband and steer him away from combining polka dots and stripes.  When I’m home I check on her every night.  It gives me a sense of calm knowing she’s sleeping soundly and safely.  With the Nest, I can do the same thing, which helps me sleep in another random hotel room.   

I’ve also downloaded multiple video apps.  My favorite so far is Google Duo.  Not only can I chat with her on any device (my husband is anti-Apple and I’m typing this on my iPad), but you can also record messages! Sometimes I’m in a different time zone that makes it hard to say good night or good morning.  So instead, I’ll record a message and she can watch it as many times as she likes and even send me messages back.  Technology is amazing!

Next on my list to try is Marco Polo which is like video SnapChat and has a walkie-talkie feature! I’m pretty sure she’ll be able to operate it better than I will!

Make an effort to be a part of the routine

This is made possible by the apps I mentioned above.  With the help of good apps I can be a part of bath time, dinner, and other activities.  During my last trip I called during bath time, then she took the phone downstairs to watch a movie.  She insisted I “sit next to her” while she watched “Sing” and I stared at our living room ceiling.  It was one the best moments.  

Go straight home

Do not pass go.  Do not get Starbucks.  DO NOT GO TO WORK.  When I get home from a trip I don’t waste a minute.  I jump off that plane, run to my car, and get to her as fast (and safe) as possible. There is nothing better than hearing her scream “Mama!” and getting a running hug and sloppy kisses.  Her intense joy and fierce cuddles make the nights away, the long hours in a strange office, and the hours of sitting on a plane a distant memory.   

How do you survive travel and work trips away from home? I’d love hear your advice!


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Ashley is a converted Iowa girl having moved to Cedar Rapids when she was 12. After years away at college and graduate school, she returned and put down roots with her husband, two cats, and daughter, Hattie. She loves her job as a busy IT manager for a transportation company and strives for that work-life integration nirvana. Ashley finds joy in being involved with her family, mom-tribe, and the CR community. Having her first child later in life, she tries to let the small stuff go (hello cleaning service!) and focus her free-time and energy on her family. Once life calms down a little (haha) she hopes to pursue her passion for "fancy" baking and painting.