Working Away From Home – The Reality
I’ve worked for software companies for most of my working life and occasionally I need to travel for work. It was never an issue pre-b because Mr D would often join me and I really enjoyed getting out of the office for a bit.
Since becoming a mum, it is definitely harder to leave my boy. Today on the blog I’m going to share some of my tips for getting through those times when you’re working away from home. Be it a day or a week – it can be tough on both parents.
Time Zone Issues
The company I work for has it’s headquarters in California. When I travel for work, I typically spend time on the west coast, meaning I am eight hours behind the UK. And eight hours is a whole day really. As b is going to bed, I’ve just had breakfast. As I’m heading to bed at night, b is on his way to nursery. With all this in mind, keeping in contact can be difficult.
dedicated contact times
Because of time zone challenges, mr D and I typically agree on some set times when I will call or face time. There’s no point calling at the end of my working day in the States as everyone in the UK is in bed!
If you work away form home and cross multiple time zones, agree a set time that you will call. When away I typically try and keep my morning free between 9-10AM so that I can speak to b before he heads to bed. It also means mr D can make sure B isn’t watching TV or mid-meal when I call.
It’s so easy to keep in contact now. When mr D and I first got together, I spent a year in Germany. It isn’t particularly far but back in 2001 we didn’t have Facebook, WhatsApp or Twitter. If I wanted to speak to my then boyfriend, I had to call him or meet in a chat room! Text messaging was out of the question because it was so expensive.
Today though we have so many options to keep in touch. I typically WhatsApp and email the hubby and then use FaceTime to speak to the little man.
Back Up Plan
Basically have a back up plan for the person at home with the kids. When mr D and I are both around, caring for b if he is sick and can’t get to nursery typically isn’t a problem. We are lucky that we have the grandparents on hand too if we need them.
However, you definitely need to have a back up plan if your trip happens to fall when the grandparents are on holiday. How dare they ey! Off I fly to the States for ten days and the very first day, the hubby gets a migraine. His migraines aren’t just bad headaches. They are full on can’t drive, talk or do anything type migraines. We were lucky that his sister was able to help out and I managed to get a few mum friends on stand-by too.
Basically have a few options up your sleeve should you need them.
I can’t stress this enough to the person at home – take loads of photos and WhatsApp, Instagram, text – however you want to share them basically! Trust me, you will make your other halves day. When I’m away, all I want to do is see what the boy is getting up to and see that he is happy. I love photos because I can look back at them during the day and I like to show (aka bore) my colleagues with little updates. A lot of them have kids too so they get that I miss my son.
Basically embrace being away. It can be hard not to spend time wondering what’s going on back home but I’ve found the best way for me not to dwell on home, is to crack on with having a good time and making the most of a trip away. We often attend conferences in Las Vegas and Orlando and it’s hard not to have fun outside of work time.
Focus on the positives
Following on from having fun, try and focus on the positives of being away if you are feeling homesick. You get to sleep well! No midnight interruptions from littles. You get to enjoy meals out, in restaurants without the faff of a toddler! You get to enjoy adult conversation too!
I also find that a break from the norm helps readjust my mind set. It helps me re-evaluate what I have at home and give me a kick if I’ve started to take things for granted.
Do something special when you come home
I was away last September for ten days and I missed my boy fiercely. Seeing him run to me on the platform at our local train station was the best feeling. The next day, even though I felt jet-lagged, I took him out for a B and Mummy day. We had such a lovely time together and it made the coming home bit special for both him and me.
Working away from home can be tough on the whole family. It really helps to have a few plans in place and to arrange a set time to call home. Do you travel for work? Or are you the parent who stays home? What do you do to keep in touch?