When you have a career that requires frequent travel, it can sound like a dream job to most people but when you have a family at home, constantly traveling can feel more like a burden than a perk. Whether your business trip is for a few days or for a 30-day stint, the effects it has on you and your family can weigh heavy.
For most positions that require frequent travel, there’s likely not too much that can be done about it unless you just look for another job but being that you have a family to take care of, starting completely over is not an option. With there being few options to lessen the stress of work-related travel, you have to figure out ways to make leaving easier, life at home less stressful with just one parent, and how to make your return home memorable each time.
Get Rid of the Guilt For Leaving
Guilt is the number one reason why business trips are so hard for parents. Sure, you probably feel bad for traveling as often as you do but that doesn’t make you a bad parent for doing so. You have to look at it as you’re helping take care of your family and if traveling for work is what puts food on the table and clothes on your children’s back, then you have to look at it as being a sacrifice you’re willing to make.
Lots of parents who travel for work not only feel the guilt of being a bad parent but they also feel the guilt of being a bad spouse as well. It’s normal to feel that way because being a parent and maintaining a clean home is hard work. To alleviate some of the stressors that are left on the other spouse, the family will hire a nanny a couple of days out of the week as a solution for childcare, allowing the spouse time to focus on other areas of taking care of the home. Do your research before hiring a nanny like doing background checks, reference checks, and the real cost of hiring a nanny. The last thing you want is to add more stress to the situation.
Tell Your Children Your Travel Arrangements in Advance
For the most part, your spouse is going to be more understanding of your travels because they knew in advance that traveling comes with your job, so they typically won’t give you too big of a fuss about it. Now your children are a different story… You don’t want to wait till the last minute to tell your children you’re leaving for a few days because it will only upset and confuse them.
It really depends on the age and temperament of your children. According to scholastic.com, preschoolers and toddlers don’t understand the concept of time while some elementary-aged children may still have trouble knowing the difference in a few days and a week… they’re more so getting familiar with passages of time, like past, present, and future. In knowing that, it’s always going to be better that you let them know of your leaving a couple of days prior.
Let Your Children Help You Prepare For Your Business Trip
Your children might be sad to see you leave but once you tell them you’re leaving and where you’re going, they’re likely to get excited about where you’re going. You can show them your schedule and the times you have meetings and ask them what you should do while you’re there. Ask them if they can help you pack so that you don’t forget anything and have a successful trip.
Make Plans For a Family Trip
As often as you travel for work, you have to make time for traveling with your family on vacation. You can best believe that every time you walk out the door to go on a business trip, your family wishes they could go with you too but the reality of most business trips is that even if you brought your family with you, you still wouldn’t be able to spend the time with them that you want. Because of that, you just need to plan for your family’s own vacation.
The only thing you need to do is take the necessary steps to make sure the business is secure while on vacation, especially your position… make sure all of your job responsibilities are covered so that you won’t have to be stressing about work when you’re supposed to be relaxing.
Don’t Give Way to Tough Goodbyes
Saying goodbye is always tough but there is a right way to do it. Sneaking away, dragging out your departure, and seeming anxious to leave can make saying goodbye for the children and your spouse but especially your children. When saying goodbye to your children, don’t avoid it or make it sad… your goodbye needs to be an upbeat one. Tell them you love them and that you can’t wait to see them when you come back. Also, it helps if you hint that you’re going to bring them something back from your trip!