As a Stay at Home Mom, I have zero business travel to do - that's kind of the definition of being a SAHM, right? But husby has quite a bit (we're talking 50,000+ miles of flying just this calendar year already, whew!). This means it's just me and Sweet P, sometimes for weeks at a time. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be a SAHM. I know lots of moms choose to work (and lots of moms are the ones doing the business travel). Also, I realize that husby's travel is somewhat by choice and relatively safe (military wives are on a whole different level, and really they're angels for what they do). So, take this advice just for what it is - some things that help this SAHM get through Business Travel...
1. Change Your Thinking
Husby has been traveling since we first got married. Those first trips, I'd get sad just thinking that we'd be apart (I also had some crazy run-ins with snakes in the house and shelves breaking in the middle of the night while he was away, but you can read all about that here). Anyway, sometime in the past few years, I realized I can get so much done while Max is gone! Instead of focusing on how you'll be apart from your spouse, you can use each business trip as an opportunity to get excited for things you'll do on your own. This is the time for making freezer meals, catching up on laundry, organizing the pantry, hanging those pictures you've been meaning to put up - even just getting the whole bed to yourself or binge watching reality television. Get excited! Do I still miss my husband when he's away on business? Of course. If I could just have him stay at home, would I? Absolutely. But I can honestly say that focusing on those fun and/or productive activities totally helps!
2. Get Out
One of the dangers of being a SAHM is the "staying at home" part. The "oops I haven't spoken to an adult all day" part. So when I know husby will be out of town, I make sure our days are full of outings. Bonus points if I schedule something with a friend because that keeps us accountable. We've been "keeping busy" while Daddy's away from the very get-go (Max went on International business travel when Parker was just seven weeks old!). In the early days, we belonged to a baby music class, did Mommy & Me Yoga, and attended our Boys Club get-togethers (read a day-in-the life post with a three-month-old while husby was in London here). Scottsdale was oppressively hot in the summer, so lots of times we would head to the (posh, gorgeous) mall just for walking (much, much easier back in the day before Parker was mobile). These days, to get out (with a toddler), we do story time at the library, head to the pool (in hot weather) or park (in cool weather), or visit the Botanic Gardens.
Also, on more than one occasion if I'm out of ideas and it's late in the afternoon (and Parker is refusing to take his nap), we'll hit up Target. Mamma gets a latte, Parker gets a cake pop, and we can look at all the shiny pretties for sale. It's a win-win-win.
And while you're out, pick up some flowers (a must for me if husby's away!).
Also, once Parker turned two, we started making calendars for the weeks husby's away. It lets Parker know what we're doing each day, and when Daddy will be back.
3. Don't Cook
I'm not saying to not eat, just don't cook. I usually go all-out when I cook our meals, and spend lots of my day prepping and cooking. I honestly enjoy it, but it's really for my husband. I mean, I like nice dinners as well, but they're not as fulfilling if he's not there to share them with. So when he's gone, P and I have simple dinners. And it saves so much time (which you'll need to do all your fun and exciting things, refer to number one). Quesadillas, rotisserie chicken from Costco, simple fresh roasted veggies (or microwaved frozen ones in the winter!) - easy peasy, lemon squeasy. We'll also eat out, which totally eliminates cook time and dishes. Score. (Less vital when baby hasn't started solid foods yet, but once that begins, meals at home are a hot mess). Plus, going to a restaurant can be considered "getting out" (refer to number two ;)
4. Get Help
We aren't lucky enough to live anywhere near any of Parker's grandparents. We are pretty much on our own. That means when Max takes off, I'm an island of one. I remember at one point when Max was on foreign travel and Parker was just a few months old, I attended my Mommy & Me yoga class and the instructor picked up Parker, who had started to fuss. I realized that I had been the only one to pick him up for two weeks - the only one to dress, bathe, feed, change him. Yes, it's my "job" as a SAHM, but it's also nice to get help. Recently, we found a babysitter who has started coming by from time to time so I can go to appointments or do other things during the week on my own. If I know Max has business travel, I'll schedule the sitter for a couple hours to just have some time to go to a yoga class, or run errands and just breathe. I think getting just those few minutes to recharge makes me a better mom - I'm usually dying to get back to Parker anyway, and so excited and ready to be back with him when I get home.
5. Make Home Welcome
Don't forget, business travel is hard on the one actually traveling, too! If my husband's on the other side of the world, he'll do his first business day there, then come back to the hotel for another business day working from his computer at night. Then there's the actual exhaustion that comes from flying/traveling. Parker and I of course let Max know how much we appreciate how hard he works for us. We love FaceTiming with him while he's traveling, and sending him photos letting him know we're here and we love him. Then when it's time for husby to head back home, I try to have something yummy freshly baked and waiting for him (most often these cookies because they're super quick and easy). Very 1950's of me? Yes. But the point is to make coming home just a bit sweeter. I'll also do a chalkboard "Welcome Home" sign or write with dry erase marker on the bathroom mirror (or get Parker in on the sign making). If husby's going out of the country, we'll also drop him off at the airport and be there to pick him up when he comes back (bonus points for signs and/or balloons). This way, he doesn't have to drive his own car in his jet-lagged state, and it gives us the opportunity to give him a proper airport welcome!
Now, I'd love to hear from you! Are you the business traveler in the family? Or do you hold down the fort like me? Any tips or advice that I missed? What works for you?