Torn between your career and your children?
Of course your children will always come first, but you may also have that longing to push yourself professionally and fulfil those career aspirations. Leaving your little ones for a business trip, no matter how long you’re going away for, will break your heart no doubt, but there is some good news, a silver lining on that cloud.
The good news? These days you can do both, and it’s perfectly easy to do once you put a few methods in place
Here’s a few ideas.
Don’t be afraid of lists – Lists are a basic life-saving thing for me. If I think of something, I write it down, and that way I won’t forget it. If you have memory like a sieve, such as I do, then this will be your serious go-to! In the case of heading off on a business trip without your children, then leaving to-do lists and reminders at home will put your mind at rest, that everything is covered, and also inform those left behind at home on what to do. Making checklists is a good idea for things that need to be done at home in your absence. For example, a checklist for the getting out the door to school routine. Here are Sir Richard Branson’s list making tips, which I find quite inspiring.
Skype is your friend – Setting a regular time to Skype video call the kids is the perfect way to stay in touch, both visually and verbally. The phone with just a voice can seem impersonal, don’t you think? Your kids seeing your face will put them at ease, and make you feel better too. Just make sure that you schedule a time that doesn’t disrupt their routine, and maybe just before they go to bed, provided you don’t think it would upset them too much – or you for that matter! Sometimes Skype rates can be very high for calling home from some overseas countries, especially from cell phones. In that case it might be cheaper to explore using an international broadband cellphone service. This is an especially simple option for communicating with places like your child’s preschool or technophobe family members who don’t want to deal with phone apps and the like, since you can just call their regular number.
Consider an au pair – If you travel a lot then employing an au pair might be the best way to go. A live-in au pair will mean your kids are with someone they know well and trust when you’re not there, and also for you, this means your little ones are in the hands of someone you trust too. Go through a reputable agency and draw up a list of questions you want to ask before you start interviewing. Picking the right candidate will mean you have utter peace of mind.
Involve the kids – If you have children who are of an age to understand the places you’re travelling to and how you’re getting there, sit down before you go and tell them stories about the place you’re going to, and how you’re going to get there, such as the flight etc. This will help them see your business trip as something positive and fun, and they will be wanting to know all about it when you get home. Take lots of photographs too, which you can email them to show them what you’re doing while you’re away.
Special treats – Create a ritual that only happens when you go away. For example, whoever looks after your children when you’re not there, get them to take the kids to the cinema and make this a recurring thing that happens when you go away on your business trips. Another idea could be a movie night with snacks, popcorn etc. This will help make your going away something for them to look forward to for another reason, and take their minds off the fact that you’re not there.
The important thing to remember is reassurance that you’re only going away for a few days, and that way time will pass much quicker. These days, us women are increasingly business-oriented, as well as being as maternal as we ever have been. Yes, you can do both, and yes, it can work!