I’m on a trip for work this week. Before kids, I used to travel all of the time for work. Now that I am part-time, the trips have decreased a great deal, but occasionally I need to be away from home for a few nights.
When the kids were younger, the trips were hard. Not only would I need to cover care for the days that I would normally be home, I had to figure out whether I had enough milk to be away, how I would store it while I was gone, and how I would sneak out of all day meetings to find a hidden room to pump. Fun stuff, I know.
Now, the kids are older, but we have new struggles. I have found that being honest and explaining the trip to the kids a few days in advance is the best tactic for preparing them for my absence. Let’s be honest, Jillian is a Momma’s girl. We are working on letting Daddy do more things for her, but overall, she prefers mom for everything. It may be a phase, but thus far it has lasted…her entire life. So, I walk through who will be with them each day and we talk about being able to talk on the phone or FaceTime. I get extra cuddle time in before I leave and I am sure to give them their nightly kisses for each night that I will be gone. I always wait until the last possible minute to leave and go back and kiss each of them ten extra times. They are good sports about it.
Typically, I have not even left the driveway before I want to turn around and go back. (This time I actually did have to go back. Probably not a good idea to take the car seats with me all week, huh?) What if they need me? What if they get sick? What if something happens to them while I’m gone? What if something happens to me while I’m gone? The typical freak-out. It can’t be prevented and typically is not at all rooted in common sense. I’m a Mom though, I think I get a pass.
The first night is always the worst… for all of us. For me, I have the whole trip still ahead of me. It just seems like a long time that first night. For the kids, they are getting adjusted to me being gone. This week, Jillian had a total freak-out the first night. Ben was trying anything he could to calm her down. It resulted in one of the worst things for a mom on a work trip…the dreaded sobbing phone call from your two-year old daughter. Sobbing. A blubbering mess. I’m in the car with three men, driving through Toledo, Ohio…half-way to Cleveland, trying to calm down my adorable little emotional daughter sobbing in her bedroom in her pink footie pajamas. Luckily, talking to her helped. It doesn’t change how terrible I felt about putting her through it. Thank goodness for Ben. He sent me a text a few minutes later. It read, “Well… I offered Myles a Breathe Rite (he was stuffy) and he freaked out (the kid is afraid of band-aids). I told him it’s what you wear and when she heard that, she wanted it. So, as of right now, it’s what’s keeping her close to her mom.” The text included this picture.