As a working Mom, you most likely already have that Mother’s Guilt most working Moms deal with. I’ve spoken about this many a time and I’ve been invited to participate in articles and blogs where the topic of Mother’s Guilt for being a working Mom is covered. It’s real and so many of us have to face it regularly.
So, when you’re a working Mom and you then need to travel and be away from your kiddos for a night or 2 or more, the guilt can be a little more overwhelming.
Below, I have put together some tips on making things a little easier for you and for your kids.
Happy Mom = Happy Family
If you are feeling anxious about going or are not happy about being away from the family, this may sound harsh, don’t let on. If Mom is happy, kids will be OK and happy. Us Moms have an amazing influence on what our kids feel and they can be affected by our discomfort, anxiety and / or unhappiness. So, try keep it together and if you need to cry, scream or vent, wait until you have left and phone a friend.
Keep family informed
I’m a strong believer in “A happy client is an informed client” and it pretty much works the same with having kids.
If your kids are old enough to know days of week (Mon to Sun) and how to count “sleeps” and / or know dates, have a calendar marked with your dates and they can mark off each day as it passes and are able to count the sleeps until Mom returns.
I found this one really works well with my boys.
I live quite far from a city and when I need to drive into the city, I avoid traffic by leaving my home at 4am / 5am. I have always left a note that I have hand written and have humorous comments that I know the boys will love and the odd stick man or scribble that will make them laugh. Usually, I always promise to bring them something small from wherever I went and creates a little excitement for them for when they know I’m coming home.
If you are going away for a while, you could always try having a note for each day you’re away that whoever is looking after your kids e.g. your spouse can read to them (if they aren’t able to read yet) or slip into their lunchboxes.
Make a treasure hunt
This sounds like a lot of work, but really it isn’t. If your kids are between 4 and 10, this can be a lot of fun to do for you and them.
Create a treasure hunt where you hide things in places in your garden or home and create clues in envelopes or send the clues to someone’s mobile phone to give it to them.
This works particularly well if you are gone for more than a day. So, you can have a certain number of clues per day, so every day you’re away, they have something to look forward to.
Stay in touch
With mobile phones, Whatsapp, Facebook, etc, it’s so easy to stay in touch. Send photos of cool or fun things you see during your trip that your kids will love and definitely throw in a selfie of Mom to make them smile.
Schedule a time with them to have a call or video chat and make sure to stick to that time. This will give them something to look forward to. If you aren’t going to be available while they are awake, make a video that you can send to them to watch and ask whoever is looking after your kids to make a quick video of them saying hi and what they did that day.
Take kids with if you can
This option may not be practical, but with a bit of planning and maybe help from your spouse, mother, mother in law or a friend, they can come with you to where you are going. You can make an adventure out of it.
If the kids are older and more independent, this option will be easier than when kids are very small and need more attention and care.
Avoid Guilt Overwhelm
If you are feeling guilty for not being around for your kids, first off – know you aren’t alone and other Moms feel it to. Know that it will be OK and your kids will NOT love you less and know you do love them.
Try focus on the positive aspects of the travel e.g. you are helping to support your family, you are showing your kids what pursuing a career you love looks like, etc.
If you are feeling guilt along the way, call them or do a video chat and connect.
Think about why you are feeling guilt? Maybe you are enjoying the time away? If you are enjoying the time away, then enjoy it. You’re still a human being who can enjoy your independence for a bit! Use the time to get some extra sleep if that is possible, soak in a long bath without any interruptions, do something for yourself – even if it’s going to watch a movie.
Above all, keep the guilt levels in check because they can overwhelm yo. Remember you are doing the best you can, you are being a role model and you are human. Make use of the time away to care for yourself and try enjoy the bit of time away.
Do you have a particular tip you can share on making it easier for you to be away on business? Please feel free to leave a comment below.