I can only describe the last month as a complete whirlwind. I spent September warning family, friends, and whoever would listen that I was heading into a VERY full month of travel for work.
The kick-off started with the fabulous STRUT event, which was local, but in my mind it was the kick-off into the crazy time. Shortly thereafter, I found myself at ROAR in Costa Rica, which left me inspired and refreshed. Less than 13 hours after arriving home, I was back at the airport heading to NYC for the Fashion Forward event. What seemed like five minutes later, I was in the middle of Blissdom Canada bliss. I was speaking on a panel and the moment that obligation wrapped up, I hopped in my car and drove for several hours to a business retreat with my Mabel’s Labels partners and some of our coaches. Next up was a trip to Orlando to speak at the Niche Parenting Conference. It was my first time attending this conference and it will NOT be my last. I got home and did the quick unpack/repack and it was off to Chicago to speak at the Marketing to Moms Conference.
It’s no wonder this mama is exhausted and has a team of kiddos claiming they don’t recognize her! I’m happy to report that my month of ridiculousness is done and on top of everything I learned during my travels, I also discovered a few lessons about how a busy mom can survive travelling for work without losing her mind or having her family fall apart.
Here are some tips you can use if you’re travelling, and how I got through it:
1. Call in favours.
If there is any time to call on friends, family, and neighbours, now is that time. If anyone out there owes you one, cash in on it—now! Build up your carpool points with your carpool pals. Drive in advance any time you possibly can so they go to bat for you when you disappear into the conference abyss.
Laundry, meals, school lunches—the more prepared you can be on the practical side of things, the better the outcome for your family.
3. Pack light.
My rule is that if I travel alone, it is carry-on only. You don’t want to spend time waiting for baggage when your family is waiting for you. Plan your wardrobe strategically.
4. Notify teachers.
There’s a good chance that while you’re gone, some balls are going to get dropped. Kids are going to arrive at school out of uniform, sporting disheveled hair, handing in unsigned agendas. Teachers appreciate knowing that the home situation is in a state of chaos. I find they take it easy on homework and know to lower the standards a bit if they’re looped in.
Packing can be a time-consuming activity. I have a completely separate toiletries bag for when I travel. It means a second of everything—deodorant, makeup, hair stuff, etc. Yes, I twitched when I spent the money, but it’s worth it. Take my word.
6. Kid Presents.
Don’t set up any crazy precedents around bringing gifts back from your trips. It’s a time suck and gets expensive, especially if you’re like me and you have six kids to shop for. If I travel outside of Canada, my kids each get a Hershey chocolate bar that I buy from the airport. That’s it. Keep the expectations nice and low.
Do you have to travel for work? How do you and your family survive your absence?
Travelling with kids? Check out Surviving Small Spaces: The Family Edition and Flying With Kids: 4 Must-Have Items For Smooth Travelling.