It is my last night away from home this week. I miss my own bed, my kids, my husband, and just being able to change into comfy yoga pants upon finishing my work day.
Sometimes I let myself slip into the mode of a non traveling working Mom, but then I am jolted back to reality with a 3 night (really 4 nights away from the kids) trip. It is on these trips, these lonely nights in hotel rooms, that I start to consider looking for another job. Certainly there are good things about my job, but how do I get past the fact that the travel is ever present? It is like a threat that is constantly hanging over my head. I live in fear of the next project that will take me away from my children for several nights in many different stretches. It is part of my job. It is part of my life, but it is a part of my life that can sometimes take long vacations. When I'm on vacation from traveling I become the normal working Mom who just has to juggle the normal working mom stuff, and I really like my life. I like working. I like being with my kids in the morning and the evening (well sometimes those mornings can still be a bit hectic and drive me a little crazy). Then a trip appears on my calendar, and the dread sets in.
My husband is fabulous, he never complains about my travel, or the fact that he has to shoulder all of the childcare while I am gone. Sometimes I wish he would complain just a little bit though. I wish he didn't make it so easy for me to travel. I don't prep things for him. I don't make a list of things that need to be done, I don't set out clothing for the kids. I know he can handle it, and that the kids will be fed and happy (though they might not get vegetables with dinner). I just take care of me, and go. I call each night to check in with him and talk to the kids, sometimes we Skype with the webcams, sometimes we just talk. I can see them at home just having a normal evening, a normal evening that I want to be part of. I'm not missing any milestones. I'm not scarring my children for life. I am just missing the day-to-day. You simply cannot connect with a four year old and a two year old over the phone the same way you can in person. Even with the benefit of the webcam it isn't the same. I am not there. I cannot kiss their heads, smooth The Boy's soft soft hair with my hand, cuddle with The Girl, rock her before bed, pretend to sit on her when she scurries into her bedroom and climbs up into the rocking chair in the dark all the while giggling and waiting for me to say "where is she? Why is this seat so lumpy? Oh there she is!", come back into The Boy's room to give him one more big squish. I miss the normal stuff.
I know I am not the only traveling Mom out there. I'd like to be a beacon of hope to other traveling Moms, or at least get to the point that the prospect of travel doesn't fill me with dread. I don't know how to get there though. Is it possible to travel for work frequently without letting it get you down? How do all of those traveling Dad's cope? Is it just too different to compare?