I have spent two of the last three weeks away from home. A couple of business trips with a hospital stay sandwiched between them has made for a very busy month of May for me and a difficult one for my children. I’m currently in the process of transitioning from the career I’ve had all their lives, which involved almost no travel, to one that has taken me on four out-of-state trips in less than three months.
Anders and Danica are…confused. Danica is convinced I have a second home in the airport and I can’t run out to the grocery store without answering a rapid-fire line of questioning from Anders about where I’m going and when he should expect me back.
While I am enjoying the opportunity to travel, I’m also suffering from that nagging sense of guilt of which many working mothers complain. I attempt to ease everyone’s anxiety by calling home frequently and skyping with my husband and the kids in the evenings.
Yesterday, while having lunch with a couple of other working moms who regularly travel, I asked them for advice, curious about how they deal with the guilt and separation anxiety.
“I’m calling and talking to the kids on the phone during the day and video chatting with them at night, but there’s just no substitute for being there in person,” I said.
I was a little surprised when both women agreed I was making an amateur mistake. They each insisted in turn that their business trips became easier on their family as a whole when they limited their phone calls to once or twice a day without video chatting and spoke to their spouse or their child’s caretaker only.
“Out of sight. Out of mind,” they told me. “Try it the next time you’re away. There will be less tears shed on your part and theirs.”
Now I’m curious. Working mothers, what works best for your family while you are out of town? Do you call home throughout the day or only once? Do you speak to your children or have an adult catch you up on the day’s events and how do your kid’s handle your absence?
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