Traveling away from your baby is very hard as a first-time mom, even if you are accustomed to regular travel. I write from the perspective of a working mom who doesn’t travel very often now, but I traveled fairly regularly pre-baby. It’s hard for me to imagine being a road-warrior with a little one, but I know there are plenty of moms rocking it!
I traveled away from my baby when she was 10 months old, but that was just one day and overnight. As I write this post, I’m sitting on a plane returning from a week-long conference and facing another week of travel next week for an all-team meeting. Both trips involve flying pretty significant distances, which somehow feels different than if I was an hour drive away.
- Look forward to the trip – I started thinking about (and dreading) my upcoming trips about three weeks away. I’m a planner and worried about every single detail and possibility. If I could do that differently, I’d instead embrace the opportunity to travel and look forward to the trip more than I did. My week away went very smoothly – minus my mini-meltdown after I left daycare to head to the airport on the first day. Think about the perks of traveling: free (hopefully) food and travel costs, education opportunities, career growth, sleeping through the night (if you’re lucky), eating at your own pace, uninterrupted tv time, and taking showers as long as you want to.
- Get organized – I felt much better about my trip knowing there was a plan in place. My husband is more than capable, but it also set his mind at ease not to have to work out all the details. We worked out their meal plan, daycare pickups, and outfits for Little M before I left. It might seem like a lot of work on the upfront, but it made me feel good that she would be wearing clothes and shoes that fit (and match!) and that he didn’t have to stand in front of the refrigerator trying to figure out something to cook.
- Stay in regular contact – I was two time zones behind, so this was easier said than done. Nonetheless, besides the first day when my flight arrived late, we were able to FaceTime each night. I was really worried that it might make her upset to see me without being there, but it actually made her excited and she chattered with me while marching around with the phone. Besides being hung up on and muted about 5 times, it was really great (for both of us) to see each other and reconnect. I used all of her favorite words (currently puppy, daddy, bite-bite, and singing “row, row, row your boat”) to have a conversation and she loved it. Besides our video chats, I also asked her babysitter to blow up my phone with pics during the week, and she happily obliged.
- Enjoy your time away – see my first tip! Although I didn’t have the time to catch up on reading or watch TV like I’d hoped, I still was able to have an independent adult week and it felt pretty great.
My flight is approaching descent, and I’m ecstatic to drive home and see my little lady! We’ll both (probably just me) cry a bit, and spend all weekend snuggling. I’m also working hard to take my own advice and enjoy my travel next week.
I’d love to hear your tips for traveling away from your baby or young children!