As a salesperson in the agricultural industry, travel is a big part of my job. Before children, this was easy. Sure, sometimes I was jet-lagged or road-weary, but overall it worked well for my husband and me.
Since having a child, though, things have changed. While it’s not always easy, we’ve found ways to make it work for us. There are still hard days, days I want nothing more than to be home, but my husband and I agree that right now, this is what is best for our family. Here are a few ways of the ways we’ve found that make it work for us.
Know and trust those who care for your child.
One of the hardest parts of leaving is knowing your child is in someone else’s hands. This was crucial to us when deciding if I would take a traveling job or not. We have a great support system in place including my spouse, our parents, daycare, and teachers. I know she is well cared for and comfortable while I’m gone. Lean on your support system and don’t be afraid to ask for help when it’s needed.
With one traveling parent, we have had to improve our planning skills x100. If there is a parent-teacher conference, Muffins with Mom breakfast, early pick-up day from daycare, or even if my husband has plans—we need to have a backup. Many times that means I schedule myself home. I fit my customer meetings in another time. Sure, that means some trips are short and busy or may require some weekend travel and late nights, but I don’t have to compromise important family moments as long as I identify those ahead of time.
Take advantage of where you are
Whether I am at home, or on the road, I try to take advantage of that time for what I need. When I’m home, I try to do as much as I can to prepare for my time away. Laundry, grocery shopping, meal planning, or laying out outfits—whatever I can fit in to make it easier on my husband and daughter. So, when I’m gone for work, I can focus a little more on me. I use my nights in hotels for time to catch up on what I need to, including sleep!
Another way to take advantage of where you are? Taking advantage of travel. Collect your points on airlines and at hotels. Learn about cities and different vacation spots. Learn about the area’s history, or visit a museum if you have free time. Not only do you create fun topics to talk about upon your return home or provide a learning experience for your kids, but this can also help in planning family vacations.
Use what technology is available to stay close to your family. Call home at bedtime, or Facetime if you can. My husband will send quick pictures in the morning or at night. Sometimes, even a teacher will snap a pic at school and load it on to the school app. I can send quick “Goodnight!” videos if I’m at a late work meeting. Knowing she can still talk to me and being able to see each other while I’m on the road makes it easier on both of us.
Continue to Evaluate.
At least yearly, we reevaluate. Is this still working for us? How can we make this easier for all of us? We find that while the hard times may seem like a lot at some points, overall it’s been worth it for our family and continues to be.
Yes—worth it. Even on the overnight road trips, being exhausted and homesick on day 2 of a 5-day trip, and frantic phone calls from home trying to find a lost backpack. It doesn’t matter where I am—I am still a mom.
Plus, it makes going home just that much sweeter.
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