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Now Boarding: Traveling with Mom Guilt [VIDEO]

By daniellesmith |

As a parent, guilt comes with the territory…. how many times have your kids said something that left you reeling… wondering if you are really cut out for this… or if you just might be prepping them for time with a therapist down the road? We question ( or are made to question) everything we do from vaccines to co-sleeping, from watching tv to breastfeeding.  For me, right now…. a big struggle is traveling for work.  I miss my kids.  But they really miss me and they let me know.  Each and every time.  With tears. And holding on to my leg.  Some of it is drama.  Some of it is real.  All of it hurts.

When my first child was born, a hug dose of mommy guilt and questioning seem to have been born with her, but I do the best I can.  And, usually, that means learning on the j-o-b.

So… here I go.  My sweet girl is helping me to learn how to deal with my traveling guilt.  How do you handle it?

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About daniellesmith

daniellesmith

daniellesmith

A decorated public speaker and a masterful listener, Danielle Smith can engage and entertain both online and live audiences alike. She is the founder of Extraordinary Mommy, the author of Mom, Incorporated: A Guide to Business + Baby , and a lover of all things video. Read bio and latest posts → Read daniellesmith's latest posts →

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14 thoughts on “Now Boarding: Traveling with Mom Guilt [VIDEO]

  1. Diana says:

    I really appreciate this post! I have to travel for work, sometimes a lot. I’d love to hear what other parents do. I call my three-year old each day and bring home a little gift but I’m sure there are better ideas out there. I’m all ears!

  2. Liz Taylor says:

    I used to babysit my cousin years ago and she missed her parents a lot. We started doing little art projects together that she could give to her parents in the morning. My favorite one was a little picture frame she decorated to put her newest school photo in.

  3. Andrea says:

    Stop travelling for work. What you are doing is wrong. Your daughter is telling you, as clearly as she can, that you are hurting her. Your conscience is telling you that you are doing something wrong. Your heart is probably breaking because you know that what you are doing is unkind and cruel.

    Not EVERY mother has guilt. Guilt is a sign that you are doing something wrong. So stop doing it. It’s like saying “I want to feel better about cheating on my husband”. Stop cheating! In five years, work will still be there, but your baby won’t be a baby anymore. You will never get these years back. Never.

    Do the right thing. And that will be the end of guilt.

  4. Diana says:

    Wow, Andrea. Not everyone has the luxury to just stop. Right now, my job, which requires travel, is the reason my family has very good health care, a place to live, food to eat, etc. My husband is struggling to find work, like millions of other Americans, and I haven’t been able to find another job with the same benefits and salary. So, saying to “just stop” and that “it is wrong” is not speaking to my experience.

    Comments like yours contributes to feelings of guilt. It would be more helpful if we could find a way to help each other out and support each other.

  5. jennifer says:

    I admittedly only do a few business trips per year now, but I think they enhance my relationship with my son. We get to talk about mom’s job, and where she is going — even finding the location on a map. We get to talk about flying in an airplane and remember our last trip when we all flew together (and dream about planning another one!) My son gets to see that his parents leave, but they come back, teaching him that he is a) an independent creature in this world — not shackled to mom 24/7 and b) learns trust. If the trips kept me away for longer periods of time then they do now there could be additional issues, but so far so good!

  6. jennifer says:

    Oh, and I forgot a plus of the one-on-one bonding time my son and his dad get during these trips. They get to do fun things like eat waffle for dinner without having mom nagging that he should still eat some carrots even if they don’t really go with waffles.

  7. Gretchen Powers says:

    Your daughter is gorgeous and so sweet. Frankly, I couldn’t do it unless my familiy’s survival absolutely depended on it. I think it depends too on how much travel, exactly, and who’s there instead. Is it Dad? …Or a nanny?

  8. Rosana says:

    Don’t worry Diana. It is a lot easier for Andrea since she can stay home while her husband supports the family. You don’t have that luxury so keep making little changes in your life that will help your little girl happy and you will see that she will be a much better adult than the kids of parents that have nothing better to do than judge others.

  9. Jana says:

    Andrea, your comments crossed the line. You were judgmental and cruel for no reason at all. With you staying at home and teaching your kids that lesson, I pity your kids. Looks like they’ll grow up to be bullies.

    Work is a trade-off. There are benefits and there are drawbacks. Some people give up everything to be at home with their kids, and some people see the value in giving kids independence through a working mom who is able to provide quality health care and financial security. It doesn’t mean it is an easy decision.

    My son is 15 months old and I’ve never left him overnight. The longest we have been separated is when I got stuck in a late meeting after work and didn’t get home til nearly 8pm – 11.5 hrs after I dropped him off with his sitter, a SAHM of 2. Any woman who has to leave their child for overnight trips or work weeks out of town is doing what is best for their family.

    By the way, Andrea, how would your judgmental comment apply to a mother of 3 who has to work to maintain the health insurance that currently covers her child with leukemia? Or a mother whose health insurance is paying for her husband’s rehab following an accident? For you to make such a disgusting blanket statement shows that you have a problem.

  10. Katie KS says:

    Travel is infrequent for my job but one of the trips each year is 9 days long. I still have 6 weeks to go with this pregnancy and I’m already stressed about what I will do in 7 months with a nursing infant for that long. I had hoped a family member could go with me, but that hope is fading. I’m looking at paying approximately my hourly wage to hire a local sitter through the hotel, I guess. But I just don’t think I can build up 9 days of milk in the freezer, plus I would have to dump so much out on the trip it makes me sick to think about it. I can’t see how I can NOT take him, even though I will hardly get to see him while I’m there!

  11. Gretchen Powers says:

    Been thinking about this more…and sometimes children have a way of cutting through the B.S., don’t they? Your daughter asks a valid question that I think is worthy of your consideration. It doesn’t mean you don’t work at all, but, the question could be a valuable prompt to consider your priorities. I also have a little trouble with this “My sweet girl is helping me to learn how to deal with my traveling guilt.” That’s nice spin, but…who’s supposed to be helping who at this point, really? I know we all learn from our children, but, what is really being learned here? I inferred that you have another child, too, even younger than this girl? Seems like a lot to juggle, to me, and to what end? These are all things for you to ask yourself, of course, and not my business, except for the forum of a blog post and response that you opened. I don’t have your answers, but you should give due consideration to the questions.

  12. daniellesmith says:

    @Diana – thank you for your comment(s) :) Like you, I’m always looking for new ways to make this experience easier on everyone. There have been times when my daughter didn’t react at all to my leaving, but clearly, that is not the case lately – and that is what prompted this post. We talk a lot about where I’m going, what I’m doing, (and also what she will be doing while I’m gone) as well as talking about WHY I work because I think that is an important piece of this. We do talk each day while I’m gone. I did stop bringing gifts home b/c I didn’t want the kiddos to have that expectation every time I came home. Even though it isn’t always easy – I have a wonderful relationship with my children and they know they are loved. THAT is what matters to me.

    @Liz – thank you so much for the suggestion!

    @jennifer – we have had similar experiences here – after I have been gone, the time I spend with my children is always quality. They are eager to really BE with me – not asking for things – just time. And I love that.

    @gretchen – thank you very much for the kind comments about my daughter… to answer your questions – yes, I do have another child – a son – he is 5. At this stage, he doesn’t really reat when I’m leaving/gone, but is always thrilled to see me when I come home. When I’m gone, the small people spend time with Dad, their grandparents and the occasional babysitter. We don’t have a nanny. In the fall – they will be in school full time (at the same school for the first time ever :) Yes, you are correct – Delaney’s question is valid. And I try very hard to be conscious of the timing of when I’m gone – and just HOW long I need to be away each time, as a result. I understand what you are saying about that particular sentence, and perhaps I should have worded it differently… but I do consider my children to be two of my life’s greatest teachers. And while I don’t expect HER to ease my guilt (again, the phrasing) I am listening to her – and trying to respond to what she needs from me to ease the time when I’m gone. Knowing she is feeling peaceful, in turn, makes me feel more peaceful. This last time I was gone (24 hours Monday into Tuesday) she wasn’t upset at all – and I actually credit how much we have talked about it, (as well as doing this video together) with helping to ease her mind.

  13. Linda, t.o.o. says:

    “With you staying at home and teaching your kids that lesson, I pity your kids. Looks like they’ll grow up to be bullies.” This is my pet peeve. No, no, no, a thousand times, no. You absolutely do not bring another person’s children in to your debate. Ever. Ugly. And I don’t even agree with Andrea.

  14. Carolyn says:

    I could not resist the urge to comment. Andrea, you should be ashamed of your harsh, judgemental attitude. Danielle was simply asking for advice to help her be a better parent in regards to her traveling for work. She wasn’t asking whether or not anyone approves of her choices to do what she does. For me, I choose to stay home with my kids and hold on to my job as a nurse by working only when they are asleep. It works for me. Staying at home is not the best choice for everyone and is not an option for most women in today’s world. I applaud Danielle for sharing her struggles and being open to ways to improve. Mothers need to support each other instead of tearing each other down. It’s really not us (stay at home moms) vs. them (working moms). Our kids will have to live and work in this world together. We as moms need to be a positive example. And, I will have you know, her two children are by far, the sweetest, most respectful small people I have ever come across.

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