Life as a working mom is never dull. And when work travel is added to an already busy-bordering on hectic schedule, I find great opportunities to flex my planning and efficiency muscles.
I am fortunate to have a job that does not require an incredible amount of travel. That being said, in the past year, I have been part of projects and teams resulting in an uptick of travel. In 2017 alone, I have traveled eight times with one more trip coming up before we enter 2018. Add FinCon, where I traveled solo and left Mr. Adventure Rich and AR Jr. to fend for themselves in Michigan, and we are up to ten trips this year. Again, not crazy, but enough to keep me on my toes.
In order to help ease the burden of becoming a single-dad for a few days and make sure I connect with my son during travel weeks, I attempt to follow a system of preparation and planning for work travel.
Co-Planning for Work Travel
I do not always have the greatest heads up for travel. Earlier this year, I was at a Wednesday evening cocktail hour for an out-of-town work event when I was informed I needed to be in NYC the next Monday. I quickly called Mr. Adventure Rich to start the planning process.
Regardless of the lead time (or lack thereof), I work with Mr. Adventure Rich to make sure the trip is ok and to find the ideal timing for flights. I rarely book without checking in and, if possible, physically sitting down with Mr. Adventure Rich to plan the best travel dates and times.
Coordinating Schedules for Work Travel
Mr. Adventure Rich and I share a calendar on our phones and it is a lifesaver. We try to keep this up to date with all activities, appointments, non-work meetings, schedules, and work travel events. In advance of work travel, we sit down and review the calendar, looking for any potential conflicts or things that need to take place. I also try to help solve any potential scheduling issues in advance so the pressure is off when I am gone.
And while we try to stay on top of our schedules, I’d be lying to say this is a perfect system. AR Jr. has been picked up late from daycare, appointments have been missed, we have had to bow out of previous plans and commitments, but life still goes on. Such is the grand juggle of these working parents!
Calling in the Backup
Living near my parents creates a unique opportunity for “back-up”. While Mr. Adventure Rich does not NEED backup, it certainly does not hurt to have my parents nearby. If he is caught at work when I am out of town or AR Jr is sick and needs an early pick-up from daycare, my parents can be on call, helping with pick-up, extra care, and appointments.
My parents also enjoy trying to make the week a little easier by inviting Mr. Adventure Rich and AR Jr. over for dinner one of my “away nights” so that there is one less thing for Mr. AR to plan for.
As a grown woman, I never thought I would be relying on my parents like this… but here I am. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
Food and Meal Prep
A well-stocked fridge, a few leftovers and, if all else fails, a frozen pizza or two can do wonders for Mr. Adventure Rich and AR Jr. when I am gone! Truth be told, Mr. Adventure Rich is a much better cook than I am. But when it comes to a tiring work-week with the extra hands (me!) out of town on business, Mr. AR could use a break come dinner time. Prior to leaving for a trip, I try to make sure we are stocked up with essentials and easy meals to ease the solo-parent evenings.
Honestly, it was easier to travel for work when AR Jr. was an infant. Now, at over 2-years-old, he knows and notices when I leave. When I was in Dallas for FinCon, I called Mr. Adventure Rich one afternoon and heard AR Jr. in the background chanting “Tess-as! Daw-as Tess-as! Mommy in Daw-as Tess-as!!!” before trying to “find me” when he heard my voice. Way to break my freaking heart, kiddo!
While my trips are often relatively short (2-4 days), I work with Mr. Adventure Rich to carve out time before, during and after a trip to spend with AR Jr. I’ll take more time the weekend before and after a trip to hang out with the crazy kid. During my trip, I will FaceTime at breakfast and/or dinner time, making sure AR Jr. sees my face and hears me say “I love you, buddy!” each and every day.
Can I be real for a sec?
Can I be real for a sec? Yes? Ok, great.
While it can be hard and stressful to travel for work, I find work travel to be one of my guilty pleasures…
When I travel for work I get to breeze through an airport toddler free, visit cool cities (even if I don’t see much of them!), go to nice work dinners with a great glass of wine (at restaurants nicer than Mr. Adventure Rich and I would allow ourselves to frequent!!!), read a book in a quiet hotel room, and… wait for it… sleep with no possibility of being woken up at 1am, 3am or 5am by a child!
Mr. Adventure Rich is nothing but supportive of my career and has yet to utter a complaint regarding my mandatory vacations, er, work travel. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.
I’d like to think my planning and prep for travel is helping him… but in reality, he is an amazing father, cook, and household manager. So my goal is to try to minimize the impact of my absence due to work travel on Mr. Adventure Rich’s own work schedule, our weekly routine and AR Jr.’s life.
Any other parents (moms or dads!) who travel for work? How do you prepare for the travel?
Always an Adventure,
Mrs. Adventure Rich