Dear Fellow Traveling-Working Moms

Dear Fellow Traveling-Working Moms

Life as a working mom is hard enough. Regardless of what the naysayers say, studies have shown that it is the equivalent of having two full time jobs. TWO! Add in traveling for one of those jobs and that equals extra stress. Not only for you but for your family, too.

I will be honest, it is a rewarding opportunity for me to have some alone time that I long for after long days. The initial start of traveling was difficult on me, but my son was so young, he really did not notice how much time had gone by. So, while it seems to get easier for me over time, it gets harder on my kids as they grow up. My son is now 7 which makes it easier to talk about it, but he does not love it. He gets very sad every time we talk about it and really gets down when it is time for me to head to the airport. My daughter is 2 and does not understand the concept of time, but she is starting to notice I am not dropping her off to school or picking her up and asks family “Where is Momma?” Both scenarios break this momma’s heart. While I know it is good for everyone, it does not make the guilt go away.

‘Tis life, I guess.

While traveling does put a wrench in things, it is a sacrifice I am willing to make. My company takes very good care of me and allows me to work from home 24/7. Traveling 6 times a year, for 2 – 3 days at a time, does not even compare to being able to see my kids before school, after school, attend school events, go to lunch with an old friend or coworker and be with my kids when they are home sick or need a day off.

I have been traveling for work for almost 7 years now, so I consider myself pretty good at it. Do not get me wrong, the mom guilt is still there. The stress does peek it’s ugly head as the travel days are approaching. But if my advice can help alleviate some of that guilt and stress for you, then that is a win in my book.

Below are my top tips for the fellow guilty feeling, traveling, working mom.

  1. Take advantage of the break. Get some rest! Order takeout and watch whatever you want to watch on TV when you are in the hotel room. How often are you able to turn off Blippi, Peppa Pig, Football or YouTube without your kid’s getting upset?
  2. Remember it is temporary. I am not sure how long your job requires you to stay, but mine are, at most, 3 – 4 days. 3 – 4 days in the grand scheme of things is not all that much. While it seems long, it’s actually short. Remind yourself that the kid(s) are taken care of, they are at school, they are at their friends’ or family member’s houses, they are at after school activities – they are busy and in good hands.
  3. Take advantage of the earned airline miles and hotel points. Check with your company’s policies, but my company allows me to keep the miles and points and use how I choose. I am now the proud owner of the Marriott bath robe (retails $99) and feather down pillow (retails $115). I did not pay a dime, only used points earned from stays.
  4. Play tourist. No matter where you travel to, there is always something new to explore, or something nearby.  I have traveled to several different cities but my favorites have been St. Louis, Missouri and New York City, NY. Most of my current travel is in the great state of New Jersey, but being that NYC is not far, I took advantage of the short distance and made it a point to go to NYC during one of my NJ trips. My team and I worked all day and then did “Happy Hour” in NYC. I had never been in my life and it was a DREAM. COME. TRUE  Enjoying New York City on a work trip
  5. Plan ahead. Make sure you know what is on the docket each day at home and that you have school drop off and pick up covered, after school carpool covered, etc.
  6. Leave a checklist. Caution: Only do this if your spouse asks or believes it would help. I was apprehensive at first and did not want to come off as controlling, because let’s face it, I can be. I am beyond grateful for such a hands on father who plays a great mom role when I am out of town. However, my husband loves the checklist because it helps him stay organized on things he does not usually handle during the work week. No joke, I have an excel spreadsheet saved and use the same template for each trip. If anyone wants it, let me know.
  7. Set boundaries with your job where you can. If the week they ask for you to travel conflicts with personal priorities, do not be afraid to be honest and check in with your supervisor. If you have an understanding boss, they will ensure the trip works for both you and the company. If they do not understand, it may be time to find a new job! Other boundaries that you should set are around happy hour or post – work dinners. If you are exhausted, sleep comes first. Your co-workers will understand. And again, if they don’t, it may be time to find a new job!
  8. Try not to check bags if you can help it. I always overpacked and checked my bags. After some advice, I began bringing a carry on suitcase and have saved so much time traveling. I have probably saved 45 minutes each trip, if not more. If you can fit it all in one carry on – DO IT!

I hope these tips and tricks are helpful. You may not yet have to travel for work, but in the event you do, save this post!

Erika Lockhart
My name is Erika Lockhart and I am married to my husband, Chris. We have two children - Zane (7) and Finnley (2). We also have one 4 – legged child - Nelson a mixed breed rescue and a tarantula named Twitch. I was born and raised in Harvey, LA but now live in Metairie. I am a full time employee for a healthcare consulting company where I lead the Primary Care Provider engagement efforts from my home office here in NOLA. My husband is the owner and director of Clockwork Performance - A strength and performance gym in Kenner, LA. Odd facts about me - I love watching Judge Judy, I want to be on jury duty as much as possible, I have an obsession with mayonnaise and my dream job is to be a private investigator!


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