Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mommy is Going on a Business Trip - How to Connect With Your Child Back Home


The view from my NY hotel
Empire State Building at night
iPhone Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

Last week -- for the first time since my kids were born -- I traveled out of town on business.  This trip took me cross country from L.A. to New York for more than four days to attend the Dreamers into Doers Conference hosted by Martha Stewart Omnimedia.

Completely out of my work at home mom (WAHM) element, the distance inspired me to think about creative ways my children could actually benefit rather than suffer the consequences of separation.  Here's a few ideas that worked well for us, that other working moms (and maybe some dads) might try.
Hot Pastrami on Rye with Fries, Cole Slaw, and Black-and-White Cookie
My dinner one night was a typical New Yorker meal
iPhone Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,
  • Set up a regular time each day to phone home while you are away that's convenient for you and your child.  Kids love consistency in parental interactions and since they (and you) will be making these calls top priority, you'll both look forward to this special part of day.
  • Encourage your child to email you at the end of every day and share the details of all the happenings back home, at school, and with their friends.  Journaling will not just provide precious details of your kid's life that you might want to save for the future.  Writing about what they're doing will also build your child's self esteem, sense of worth, and creativity -- and that's not even to mention the writing skills that they'll be developing.
  • Send email to your kid, too, sharing with them -- if appropriate -- what you are doing work-wise on your trip.  But, don't stop there. Also write home about the area's culture and email them kid-friendly photos of  such things as interesting tourist sights you encounter, the view from your hotel room or work location, the weather (such as snow if you live in a warm climate) and the regional food you are eating.  By sharing with them in this way they will not only be learning about how others live in different places, you'll also be creating a sense of inclusion, of your child traveling with you.
  • Bring home something to your child that reflects the local culture of your travels.  Think beyond tacky souvenirs (like dust collectors and t-shirts).  Instead, look for something unique to the area you are visiting.  For example, some regional food items or a toy that is popular with the local kids, are almost always bound to be received with much enthusiasm.
With a little bit of thought and effort on your part, business trips can actually help both you and your child grow and learn as well as deepen the bond between you.

What things have worked for you to stay connected with your family when you must travel on business?  Please leave a comment and share.

FTC Disclosure:  I emailed the photos in this post to my kids on a recent business trip.  I did not receive payment or any other compensation associated with this post. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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