Balancing Work Related Travel and Motherhood

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Last month, halfway through my second trimester, work related travel beckoned me to Little Rock, Arkansas. Traditionally I enjoy work-related travel, though at times it’s inconvenient. I’m fortunate that I’m only asked/required to travel three or four times a year, so it’s less of a burden and more of a perk. Work related travel requires some creative childcare options, but largely I’ve been extremely fortunate to have family and a husband that help to manage this.

When my oldest child was a baby and I was nursing, I tried to limit most of my travel and one time I invited my mother and sister with me so I could bring my daughter along. After she weaned, I left her home with my husband to manage, and this practice continued as our family grew. On several occasions, my parents offered to keep our daughters so my husband could join me on my travel. Now that our daughters are older, I watch for opportunities, particularly during the summer, to bring the whole family along.

There have been a few occasions where I’ve been unable to travel, because family comes first. I’ve also left conferences a day early for dance recitals and other important events. While I thoroughly enjoy traveling and my role in these organizations, God finds ways to keep me humble.

Last year I cancelled attending our regional meeting in Santa Fe, NM (where I’ve always wanted to go and haven’t been) because the meeting coincided with my younger daughter’s First Communion. The regional meeting wouldn’t normally be a scheduling conflict, but this particular year it took place earlier than usual. I also could have scheduled a private Communion on another weekend, but I knew how important it was for her to celebrate this Sacrament with her CCE class.

A few weeks before the event, the regional president informed me that I would receive a major award at the conference I wouldn’t be attending. It was a big honor to me, and I’ll confess, it was something I coveted, so I couldn’t help feeling that God must have planned this coincidence to keep me focused on what was more important and to keep me humble.

Now that I’m expecting another baby, I don’t know how much work-related travel will be in my future. It’s been nearly a decade since I traveled with an infant at my side or at home. Again, God’s touch and timing appear to be involved, my role as officer on the national board is term limited. Other appointments will be coming to an end during this next year, and I’ll trust God to show me the path He wants me to follow. I’ll miss the CNMC in October, and any other potential travel can be limited to cities close to home until next May, when the regional meets in Arizona. God willing, I’ll be there toting around a seven-month old son, and perhaps the rest of the family will be able join us and make a mini-vacation out of the trip.

How often do you have to travel out-of-town for work, and how do you juggle childcare for your family?

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3 Comments

  1. I must admit I dont have to travel for work but there have been times when I have had to leave Joburg & go back to the UK. Once, to bring my gran back for a holiday, and I was fortunate enough to take my daughter along which meant great times for my hubby & son, as in more take aways & less bathing.
    And my last trip,for a funeral, I had to go on my own without the three of them. If God had not given me such a understanding and loving husband and mom-in-law to look after them, drop them at school, take them to extra-murals, tuck them in at night, I could never have gone, albeit they dont want their dad to cook his spaghetti bolognaise ever again but that is a small price to pay.
    I may have to call on their help soon again but with Gods help I know they’ll all be fine.

  2. Shelly, thanks so much for writing on this topic. This has been a source of decision making for me in my life lately. I am working very diligently to prioritize family but I will admit that there have been a few instances where I had to compromise on that. It’s difficult, a balancing act, and I’m still learning about how to say “no” to work related issues. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this and starting a discussion. Hope others will chime in too.

  3. Catherine Krause on

    Thank you for this! I so enjoy coming and reading the entries but sometimes have felt like the bad working mom peering through the window. Your blog could not have been more timely! After several years with no travel, I have done 3 trips in 6 weeks, and how to balance my family with my demanding work schedule has been challenging lately. Having a long weekend home was what I needed to be reminded of where I am truly needed – or at least really missed by my 6 kids + hubby when I’m gone.

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