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Road Warrior? Tips for the Working-Traveling Mom

If you are a road warrior - this one is for YOU! 

It is hard enough being a working mom - but being a working mom that TRAVELS requires a new level of focus, resilience, and grace - that not everyone has.

The juggle of the kids when you ARE home is a lot - when I think of the business of the week when I AM home - the shuffle of carpool, the sports for multiple kids, the HOMEWORK the tests that pop up - and of course that project that they forgot to tell you about - its overwhelming.  

And I don’t know about you - but when I think about hitting the road and leaving all that to my partner - its overwhelming and anxiety producing.

NOW - even if you do not have kids by choice or you aren’t at this phase in your life, you are still going to keep reading because I’m not going to teach you how to get the resilience and grace that is required - but I AM going to talk to you about the tips and strategies that have made my work trips more simplistic and even the trips that provide a little relief inside the craziness.

The idea for this article came to me while I was working out in the hotel gym - about 800 miles away from my normal life.

And this isn’t just ANY trip - this is ONE of TWO back to back trips that will keep me away from my family for over two weeks.  I fly home for one day, then the next, I’m back out for a trip half way across the world - both work trips.  Both mandatory.

First to acknowledge that this is hard.  When I found out about these trips - one was planned, the international was not - I felt a sense of crushing anxiety around all that I had to plan out - all that I had to coordinate - and the feeling of that pit in your stomach when you know you are going to miss out on some really cool and fun things your kids have going on  - for me, its my sons first big presentation for parents at the school, my daughters second and third cheer practice ever - something she is SO excited about- and the big celebration of Opening Day for Baseball! 

So yes - this is hard - but let’s take a collective breath.

And lets get into our WHY.

WHY do we do this?  Well, if you are like me, it is because you DO like working - you enjoy the fulfillment you get from the job, and the challenges - or maybe that isn’t the case and you do it for the money.  

Whatever your reason - if you have to hit the road like I do, let’s talk about some things to make it easier on everyone.

My kids are always my top priority, and I’m the morning point person along with the school point person - so when I’m out - I have to detail all that out for my partner.

I coordinate with my carpool team and I type out the entire schedule for when I’m gone.

Why?  There are a lot of moving parts!  And I KNOW some people may say - let your partner figure it out.  And this day in age, you aren’t wrong.  As someone who is a gender equality crusader, I KNOW FIRST HAND the grief I will get for doing this for my partner - but the truth is, when one is away, the other one has to step up. 

And its not this 50/50 thing - we are 100 percent parents - meaning, we both go 100 percent in on different things.  So when one of those 100% -ers is gone, the other one has to step up and fill those shoes.

So you know what?  Going above and beyond to make it easier for him while I am away - its important to me.  And if he were to have a two week trip - he, as the primary bill payer, wouldn’t just NOT pay the bills and say “Well, Erica - figure it out!” NO - he would take care of it ahead of time - OR he’d map out for me what I needed to be sure to do.

This is what a partnership is - and it is what works for me.

So back to my strategies- 

  1. Map out the agenda for YOUR moving parts - it will keep your partner from calling and texting you for different information or confirmation on what he is supposed to do that you normal do.  Its ALL RIGHT THERE.

  2. The GO BAG.

Like in the movie taken - Liam Neeson just grabs his bag and goes - now, his is filled with cash, weapons and the like - mine is filled with my SECOND SET OF EVERYTHING - of makeup, of my skin care routine and of chargers.

It keeps it dopey and simple- I don’t have to spend time packing and unpacking my basics - its all in the suit case.  Then I just throw my clothes into my packing cubes, and I’m on my way.  

This is a game changer for me, because I don’t have to worry about spending unnecessary time away from my LIFE by always packing and repacking. 

Who here has NOT packed their phone charger or their i-watch charger? SO ANNOYING right?  

3. The third thing that is mission critical to traveling with ease is making time for mental health on the move.  

I have already said it in this episode - but traveling is HARD - my anxiety was through the roof with these two trips - BUT when I get to the hotel, I keep my morning routine, and I use the extra time that I have (because I’m not doing the kid thing) to focus on me.  I go for walks in the morning or hit the gym - I read my books that I bring with me ( and yes i bring at least 2 to three books depending on how long the trip is) and I listen to my favorite podcasts.  

I take this time for ME.  So YOU DO YOU - meditate, read, sleep in!!!  Whatever it is - do NOT forget to make the time for your mental health when on the road.

4. Keep your wardrobe as simple as possible.  We already talked about that second set of everything - you do NOT need a second set of clothes that stay packed, but you do need a few staples that you KNOW travel well, you know you feel good in them - and they don’t wrinkle!!! 

No one wants to iron while they are on the road!  

I swear - I pack the same outfits on every trip.  Its dopey - its simple - but it works.

Other strategies - and I’m just going to rattle them off here are:

  • Doing HOT lunch or SCHOOL lunch orders ahead of time (to include the day before you leave and the day after you get home) to give you that extra time and so your partner at home doesn’t have to worry about lunches.

  • Prepare back ups - no one wants to get stuck in a situation where you are trying to figure out who can pick up your kid from school if an emergency comes up.  (Been there done that!)

  • Pack your vitamins ahead of time - you gotta stay healthy!

  • Always have some cash on hand - 

  • Get TSA pre-check, get CLEAR - get Global Entry!  This will make your travel days so much easier!  I PROMISE - its worth the interview that you have to do at global entry - 

And this is my last one - and its a big one.

Do not think of your time away in hours - or days.  When I plan my travel away from my kids, I look at it from this perspective of “how many nights for tucking in will I miss? And how many morning wake ups will I miss?”  

That helps me and my team figure out how to book flights for me- because its all about how can I get back with my kids?

NOW - short trip?  Girl - add on an extra day so you can have some much deserved alone time.

But if you are like me, and its this 2 week extravaganza?  My goal is to get back to the kids.

SO - Travel - its hard.  I know.  I get it.  But its also a little bit nice to wake up and not have to wipe faces, and remind people that they have to brush their teeth after breakfast - as if they have never heard that for the first time.

So shed your guilt - and show up fully - wherever you are - and just know - you got this.

If you are really struggling with the travel, make sure you reach out to me and I’ll help you through it!  I have been there, and I have done that - I have left my little just over 6 month baby to fly to France once - and the GUILT I felt about leaving her for so long so early in her life was palpable. I get it! 

Connect to your WHY - and remember - YOU GOT THIS.

And remember that you are that HBIC - (if ya know you know!)

And before you go - this is your reminder to stop putting ceilings on what is possible, and its time to start breaking through them.

If this resonated with you - please like it, comment on it, and share it! It truly helps it land in the hands of the person that needs to hear it most.


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