First of all, my disclaimer. I love my son, more than anything in this world. And I hate being away from him. That said, my job allows me to travel a few times a year. And I gladly take this opportunity to make a trip across the country – alone. These trips are usually only for three to five days, and never run into the weekend, unless I want them to. And while they can be hard for me emotionally, I enjoy myself when I travel for work. Here’s why (and how to do the same, if you are lucky enough to travel for work):
1. Traveling is so much easier alone.
Anyone who has kids knows that any trip with them in tow is basically akin to the planning of a major military operation. Diapers, check. Bottles, check. Lovey, check. Change of clothes (for all family members, in carry-ons), check. When traveling alone, I often don’t even bother with a checked bag. It is so liberating. And I get to the airport with enough time to peruse the gift shops and have a beverage, if I am so inclined. Now that is living!
2. Hot dinners – need I say more.
My first business trip after my son was born was when he was 10 months old. And one of the first things I realized was that I could take my time eating while traveling. I could enjoy a hot meal, a meal that didn’t involve someone else crawling into my lap, demanding a bite, or conveniently deciding to meltdown right as the food was ready. When traveling, I can choose a restaurant based on the food, not on whether there is an easy exit route if disaster strikes. And I love every minute of it.
3. Opportunity to let the hubby take over.
Ok, the first work trip I went on, my hubby had his mom come to town to help out. But that doesn’t always happen. And there is something nice about not being there, knowing that all demands from the little ones are being handled by dad. I don’t even have to feel guilty if I choose to do something for myself, because I simply can’t be there to take care of my son. And I hope my husband appreciates me just a teeny bit more when I return.
4. Focused work time.
Now, I am not a slave to my work, and I am pretty religious about what time I leave each day (especially since I do daycare pick-up). But for that one week when I am traveling for work, I can go to happy hour, or stay bit later to finish up a project. I can eat lunch with a coworker, instead of trying to run an errand, schedule a doctor’s appointment or the other myriad of to-do’s that consume me when at home. And I am just plain more focused on getting work done. I feel like my business trips are the most productive weeks I have ‘in the office.’
5. Gym (or spa or shopping) time.
For a while, I actually had a salon I ‘frequented’ in the city I often travel to for work. It was honestly the ONLY time I could find to get my hair cut. Most business trips include a salon visit (complete with pedicure) or other ‘luxury’ that I don’t make time for at home. The logistics are just SO much easier when you can go on your own schedule and not have to find a babysitter or entertain a toddler while getting your hair blown out. And I always try to discover a new shop of some type while in another city. I make sure to browse the shelves at an alarmingly slow rate, as well.
I am always happy to return home to my son, but I also feel like my batteries have been recharged while away. If you ever have the luxury of traveling for work (and without your children), I highly suggest doing so. While it may not be for everyone, it is a sacrifice I am willing to make once or twice a year.
Do you travel without your children? If so, what is your favorite thing to do ‘on your own’? I’ve love to hear other suggestions of how you make the most of this time, in the comments below.