As a working mom at a successful travel company, there are times of the year that I am called away from my desk to spend time on the road. I really do feel blessed to have these experiences and treat each one as an opportunity to further my growth professionally, but sometimes, it’s hard as hell on me as a mom. The mom guilt is real.
During a recent three day trip to New York City, I started sulking about a week before the trip even started. It was right around the time that my son was about to take his first steps, and I was convinced (and petrified) that it was going to happen during the time I was away. Instead of letting things take their natural course, I sent a barrage of emails to anyone and everyone who has an interaction with our son informing them that I did not under any circumstance want to know if he took his steps without me.
When I began packing, I made lists of all the things that my son enjoys for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – even though his dad is perfectly capable (and often does more than I give him credit for) of handling all of this. I did a ton of laundry, ordered extra diapers, and restocked his snacks and clothing at school. I was basically preparing to be gone for the better part of a year, rather than just 72ish hours. Now, I realize that I was trying to bury myself in tasks instead of dealing with the emotional struggle of being away from my son for a few days.
It’s never easy, but I have learned a few things to get me through the hard times of traveling that I want to share. When I boarded the train during that three day trip, I was super excited to get away for a bit (hello uninterrupted sleep!) but then I felt guilty for feeling this way. Why? Is it because mom shouldn’t have a break? Well, sometimes society leads us to believe that way, but moms do deserve a break and it’s okay to have a barrage of emotions that ebb and flow every second of every day.
By the time I arrived in New York, I was already missing my little guy and checking in. I don’t understand what moms did before FaceTime – it is honestly downright impossible to imagine. Later on that evening, I felt a lot of guilt for enjoying a hot dinner. Having a super hot meal (either make it cold or hot, but never lukewarm) is one of my favorite things in the world. Add in a glass of prosecco and some of my best friends, and it’s totally a party. Traveling for work typically leads to some great meals and adult conversation. Guilt is a nasty thing that can wreak havoc on the best of days. Don’t let it ruin your hot meal.
If I never spent time away from my son, I wouldn’t appreciate every single bedtime routine and bath time that comes with being a mom. I’m always so worried about how the trip is going to go and then it’s not that bad in the end. Next time, I’ll remind myself before I send myself into panic mode that the homecoming will be extra sweet.