WORKING MOM SPOTLIGHT
Please welcome back Michelle Strasburger! She is a Director level HR professional and a Working Mom herself. This is Part II of her Traveling Mom guest blog post (click here for Part I). In Part II Michelle shares her 8 tips for making travel work for you and for your family. You can follow Michelle on LinkedIn and Twitter. (Click here to read Part I!!)
Everyone has a different story or experience about leaving their child for the first time. I didn’t think that I was going to be “one of those moms” that fretted about every detail or cried at a drop of a hat, but then it happened. I have traveled all over the world since and have learned a lot about juggling travel and family. My son has actually traveled quite a bit and will probably be an expert traveler before he’s 10! Here are some of the tips that give me peace of mind while traveling:
- Have a good support system. This is the most important. If you have people that you really trust with your children, it helps ease some of the stress you might feel. If it weren’t for my husband and our parents, I wouldn’t have been able to travel.
- Communicate: My son always likes to be prepared for the next thing, so I share when my trip is coming up. More importantly I tell him when I’m coming back which helps put both of us at ease.
- Admit your feelings. I think this was one of my first mistakes. I didn’t let myself feel the anticipation or the pain of separation, and it kind of blew up on me. If you’re honest with yourself it will help you feel better.
- Come up with a way to stay in touch. I had a friend that would hide a gift at home for each day he was gone. The child would get one gift from daddy each day so it made the transition easier. I use Skype to call home so we could see each other. My favorite moments are reading bedtime stories together as a family.
- Enjoy coming home. I had a great relationship with my boss where I could take an extra day at home after long trips so I could spend some extra time with my son. If you don’t have the same flexibility find a special way to enjoy the time at home before and after your trip.
- Pack your family. Some companies let you bring your family with you. It helps you enjoy the sights together and keeps the connection close. If you can bring them with you, don’t pass up the opportunity. If your company won’t pay for it, then save up some frequent flier miles to fly them for free!
- Don’t regret. I had someone tell me that if you worry about the future or regret the past, you’re not living in the future.
- Enjoy your down time. I used the time in the hotel to get some sleep. It’s much needed so take this time to recharge (if possible). If you’re in a hotel that offers a gym or a spa, make an appointment. This will help relieve any stress that you are carrying with you.
During one of my trips, I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, which I would highly recommend. She writes that there is no evidence that a child’s connection with their parents is any different with working parents or stay at home parents. As a Working Mom, I am setting a great example for my son and by traveling I gained a lot of different experiences that I will share with my son today and when he gets older. I’ve seen some amazing places through my traveling and while it’s been tough, I think it made me a more well-rounded person and I hope that I can pass some of these experiences on to my son.
Now Michelle & I want to hear from you! Let us know how these tips work for you! Have you tried any in the past or have you tried them for a recent trip? Leave a comment down below!
Thanks for reading!
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