(Photo Courtesy: Business Travel Show)
Recently, I took my third business trip as a first time mom. I didn’t shed a tear at the airport or call home every hour to find out if my daughter was in one piece. Instead, I enjoyed the time away. I slept through the night without waking up to see if my daughter was still breathing. I took a long, hot shower without little arms reaching in and handing me megablocks and books through the curtain. I ate an apricot glazed cedar plank salmon that didn’t get cold while I ensured my daughter didn’t spit out her vegetables. I drank two cocktails and didn’t count the hours needed for the alcohol to get out of my system like I did back when I breastfed. Although I did miss her dearly, I trusted she was OK without me, well at least for a a few days!
To make sure we had a smooth separation and to lessen my guilt about leaving her, I created a pre-travel to-do list.
1. Pack Early
The first time I went away as a first time mom, I realized I could no longer wait until the last-minute to pack. I scrambled around the house, searching for matching socks and her favorite pick elephant blankie with minutes to make my flight. The night before, I picked up her playpen from my parents house and dropped it off at my sister’s house. I also had to stock up on her favorite snacks and organic milk. Now, I write a list of what she needs a week in advance. That way, I have enough time to wash her blankets, locate her favorite teddy bear and run to the grocery store.
2. Post a Pic
At my daughter’s daycare, the teachers created a family tree and asked parents to submit photos. They attached the pictures to the branches, which gave the kids a sense of familiarity in the room. Pack a framed family photo to send with your child. And put one in your own suitcase, so you can place it on your hotel room’s nightstand.
3. Call Ahead
Contact the hotel or meeting location in advance to inquire about telephone and Internet service. If there is not cell service–which was the case at my last meeting, give your caregiver the number of the front desk to use in emergency situations. Notify the hotel manager about your plan and tell him/her the name of the conference room where you can be located.
If you want to check in on your child face-to-face, utilize technology such as Skype and Face Time.
4. Buy a Souvenir
Even if your little one is too little to request a present, you can still pick up a souvenir, such as a bear, blanket or onesie. If your child is old enough to talk about the trip, bring back brochures and plan a future trip together to the same city.
Hey DFTM Family–How do you prepare for a trip away from your little one?