I love traveling and seeing new places which fortunate for me, I get to do through my job. The flip side, in all honesty, is that it stresses me out, too. I recently took my longest work trip from my family, for a total of 12 days out of the country. Routine is key for our family so with me gone, I wanted to help prepare things ahead of time as best I could to keep routines going and to help my husband as best I could from afar.
Here are some things that I did ahead of time to prepare:
Calendar is king! I used my son’s preschool calendar to add key activities to in order to remind my husband of what needs to be done on what days, including when recycling was, swim class, special kindergarten events, birthday parties, and more.
Notifying key people. I let the preschool teachers and director, kindergarten teacher and after school care teachers and director know I was going to be gone for two weeks. I did this for two reasons – so they know to reach out to my husband should something come up and also should my kiddos be a little “off” it may be because their routine is altered with mommy being gone and a little TLC may be needed.
Take a little PTO. For my last day in the office ahead of traveling, I took the afternoon off so I could not only get all the laundry done before I left, but also so I could go to my daughter’s elementary school and have lunch with her. Bonus points, it was her birthday and Daddy could join, too. I could see how special that was for her. I also took the day off after my return, too – so I could have lunch with her again and just let her know how happy I am to spend time with her.
Send postcards/letters. The week leading up to my trip, I researched fun facts about the location to which I was traveling and wrote letters to my kids and husband to be mailed throughout the trip. That way they would each get unexpected letters in the mail from Mommy and learn more about where I was and doing. I pre-stamped the letters and asked a coworker to send them out on certain days for me and it worked like a charm!
Normally, when I travel domestically, we FaceTime; however, this trip didn’t have the greatest connection so we opted for phone calls, mostly they were on the way to school so I could wish them good days.
Other ways that a traveling parent could help include:
Schedule a babysitter ahead of time for your spouse. This is super helpful especially on a weekend so your spouse can have a few hours to themselves – whether it’s going to see a movie or just hanging with their friends, it gives them a much deserved break!
Online grocery ordering. Some of the grocery stores near us offer services where you can order online and do drive-thru pickup or even have the groceries delivered right to the house. I just might use this even when I’m not traveling!
Order dinner for the family. Online services like DoorDash allow you to choose a restaurant and order meals to be delivered. This can be especially helpful on crazy evenings – it’s one less thing for your partner to worry about.