I’ve been on the road a lot lately. And, since I’ve had an almost year-long hiatus from business travel (and flying solo in general!), it took a few adjustments at home to get the gang I left behind geared up for a few days sans the Mama. Here’s how we made it work and, should the need arise, you can too:
· Ladies and gentleman, synch your calendars! Organizing the comings and goings of a family of seven is never an easy task but never is it more critical then when Mom is out of town. To make sure that the right kid ends up at the right party/soccer field/baseball game, I send my better half (that would be my husband Des, in case you were wondering!) calendar invites with all of the details. For example: "Sunday, April 29th. 12:30-2:00. Ciara: Maya’s 6th Birthday Party. Gift wrapped in home office. Car pool confirmed. Address as follows.” No detail is left out, reminders are set and everyone ends up where they belong. Mission accomplished!
· Take the easy way out. Our typical dinners are homemade but when I’m not home, well, they are made elsewhere. Like in the frozen pizza factory. Or local burger joint. Dinner in our house is mayhem on a good day but, with only one parent ruling the roost, it can be pure chaos. These are the days when rotisserie chicken reigns supreme and pizza might prevail. And that’s ok. Stock the freezer, pack the pantry and away you go!
· Love ‘em and leave ‘em. It’s not easy to say good-bye to my five (relatively) tiny tots and one uber-patient, supportive, loving husband. But, drawn out good-byes don’t do any of us any good. What does us good is a lot of hugs, kisses and open communication about where I’m going, why I’m going and when I’ll be back. Time permitting, I’ll leave a note on our whiteboard or a sticky note someplace unexpected (bathroom mirror!) with a simple “I love you” and constant reminder that though this Mama might occasionally leave ‘em, she always loves ‘em and always has ‘em on her mind and in her heart.
The kids know that my current trip to Chicago is the last one I’ll be taking for a while. And they know that next week their dear Dad is headed to Atlanta. And they know that we are all eagerly awaiting the month of June, when the business travel subsides and a family trip awaits.
The trips we take together are the highlights of my life. And the trips I take alone remind me of how lucky I am to be so in love with the family I have and the life I lead… not to mention, provide a few moments to read a magazine without anyone climbing in my lap!