11.01.2006

Business Travel Mom

A good friend of mine passed along a link to this article about Moms who travel for business. At first I was eager to read it because I am very interested to see how other traveling Moms cope. However, the spin of the article seems to be that by and large these Moms like being away because it gives them a break from the day-to-day grind of being a working Mom. I am in no way judging the Moms who say that, because I’d be lying if I said it isn’t somewhat relaxing to come back to an empty hotel room and have an entire evening to yourself. The problem comes in when you are gone for 3-5 nights at a time. Unlike one of the Moms quoted in the article, my DH does not have a flexible work schedule that allows him to accompany me on business trips so the kids can come along. Nor do I have a nanny that could do the same. I’m actually curious to know if the Moms who bring their kids with them while traveling expense (to their employers) the cost of bringing children with, or just eat the expense. The 3 extra plane tickets, not to mention meals while traveling would eat a big hole in our budget. I also feel that DH and the kids would be horribly bored in the towns I end up traveling to. Most of the towns are very small; they are towns where big companies like to locate because labor costs are lower. They are not towns you would immediately recognize the names of. While I would love to finish a day of working and come back to my kids, I don’t think it is fair to expect my family to uproot just to relieve some of my guilt for needing to travel to do my job.

I guess the women in the article are more cheerful than I am. It seems that they are all looking at the bright side of business travel, while I tend to focus on the rest of the crap that comes along for the ride. Maybe I should use my business trips to get facials, manicures, and pedicures. Perhaps that would be more fun than organizing all of our digital photos as I sit in a hotel room. I tend to feel like I need to be somewhat of a martyr when I travel for business though. It is as if I am not allowed to be happy when I am away from my kids, simply because I should be home with them instead. This idea comes only from me, but it definitely is what I do. I think I still need to watch how much “fun” I communicate to those left back home, I really don’t think that they would appreciate me being happy to be away.

I think I’ve figured out why traveling Moms are in the minority, it is because our partners are not too keen on being the parent who is home alone for days on end. My DH is fantastic about my travel, nicer about it then I would be if our roles were reversed. I do know that it becomes draining even for him when I am gone for more than 2 nights though. Two high maintenance children keep you busy, and you get very little downtime until after they go to bed. When I offered to cut my last business trip short because of The Girl’s bout of croup, he immediately accepted my offer. There was some talk about being able to handle it, but I knew he didn’t want to have to deal with it alone. I also felt it was unfair for him to have to miss two days of work, just because my work had me out of town. I did come home a day early, and I don’t think there was any detrimental harm done to the project as a result. The Girl really did need her Mommy, and frankly I was irritated to not be the one caring for her. Some things, no matter how anti-feminist it makes me sound, just belong to me, and one of those is caring for sick children. Unless of course there is barf involved, that is a job that my DH can keep.

2 comments:

Meena said...

I read that article too. It hit me the wrong way, not so much because moms might be enjoying time away, but I don't like the "my children are such a burden" mentality.

I don't know how you do it, Heather. It's one thing if you were taking the occasional trip to San Diego or Florida, but like you said, it's not like the locations you are going to are "Paradise City." But I think since you HAVE to travel, for now, anyway - you might as well try to squeeze in some enjoyment. I would be eating sushi every night! And by the way, I don't think my dh would be handling the travel near as well.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you both. I am at a crossroads with my career. I have been offered a higher paying position that would require 50% travel (compared to my 0% now) and I am just scared to death at not being home with my baby. I would miss her and my husband way to much. The spin off is my company will allow me to work from home the days I am not traveling so this I could definitly do! My family is not a burden on me and I love being with them. I am so confused? Working as a mom is hard enough I could not imagine traveling also.