When I had my first son, I very quickly realized that being a Mom is a full-time job in and of itself. My husband still tells the story of the time when a girlfriend and I were chatting, both very pregnant with our first babies. We said to each other, “how much trouble can one baby be?” He fondly refers to that as “the dumbest thing he’s ever heard me say.” He was right, of course, as any parent knows. Being a mom is for sure the best and hardest job I’ve ever had.
Fast forward three and a half years and two boys later. Today, in addition to being COO of our house, I also work outside of our home. I have a job with a fabulous organization that often requires me to travel to visit chapters and fundraising events nationwide. I love what I do, but there are times where it’s not easy to Mom full-time, maintain my job, and head out on the road. It requires teamwork, collaboration, lots of FaceTime, and a few survival tactics.
I Have My Go-Bag Ready at All Times
My suitcase is never fully unpacked. I have the basics ready to go, so that I can just throw in my clothes when it’s time to travel. That way, I don’t waste precious time pulling everything together and can spend a little extra time with the boys before I hit the road. This also helps ensure that I don’t lose anything before my trips. Little hands like to steal things and put them in the most random places! Bonus – I keep my suitcase stashed in my bedroom closet, so I often get to my hotel and find little presents from my kiddos, like blocks or Hot Wheels!
My other recent discovery has been packing organizers – little bags that go into your suitcase. Everything has its own bag: shoes, shirts, laundry… These lifesavers help me make sure that an emergency Target trip isn’t in my future while on the road.
Meal Planning Whether I’m Home or Away
Planning out our meals & grocery trips is one thing that I do whether I’m home or traveling. I plan weekly and would love to get to a place when I plan monthly (I just can’t commit to dinner choices that far in advance!). We rely on my Crock Pot a ton and have freezer meals ready to go when I hit the road. I know that meals will happen whether I plan them or not, but if I have them planned and prepped, it takes a burden off my husband and au pair when I’m gone and helps me to feel like I’m still taking care of everyone at home.
Shared Calendars is Key to Our Sanity
Our family relies on a shared whiteboard calendar on the kitchen wall. Everything going on in the current month goes on the calendar, so we know who has what planned and when. I recently discovered the app Planner Pro, which helps me track a few months out. It makes me feel slightly more organized if I can work with a 30,000 foot view of what’s coming soon!
When I’m not traveling, I work from home, which is a wonderful thing. It allows me to see my sons on breaks, and sneak away for the occasional lunch break when there is something special going on at preschool. On the flip side, being a traveling Mom means that I’m not always physically present. The other survival tactic I’ve had to employ is letting go. I’ve had to learn to embrace the fact that the team at home is holding down the fort and that the house will still be standing, with everyone happy and healthy, when I come home.