Hi All! Blogging from the air! Hmm let’s see. I’m traveling back from some business in Barcelona, and according to this monitor, I’m 3044 miles from home and 36,000 feet in the air. Minus kids, plus internet access. Yes, I think the planets have aligned on their bi-yearly pattern allowing me the ability to post to this sadly forgotten blog! Wherein I will take the opportunity to elaborate on something that no one had ever told me. It’s the gambling quality of business travel as a mom. My truth is this: BUSINESS TRAVEL AS A MOTHER = RUSSIAN ROULETTE.
And because of my profession, I keep finding myself pointing the gun at my head. Here are the ways things have shaken out when I have to pull the trigger.
TYPE 1: GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD (AKA, dodging the bullet!)
Trip is short, kids are in good spirits, husband is super-dad, and I’m gone and back before we know it. Lots of wincing as trigger is pulled, but outcome is fine and my brain is still intact. Mama lives to see another day.
TYPE 2: DO NOT PASS GO. DO NOT COLLECT $200. (AKA, lights out my friends.)
Trip coincides with unpredictable elements like kids being sick with fevers, unreliable nanny, etc, etc. Kids ruin you by Skyping heart-wrenching things through feverish crocodile-tears and cartoonish frowns, such as, “I REALLY REALLY MISS YOU AND CAN’T BE HAPPY IF I CAN’T SNUGGLE WITH YOU RIGHT NOW”. Work stress is compounded by kid sadness and frayed husband trying to manage it all. Bullet in brain. Bullet in heart.
TYPE 3: MISUNDERSTANDING AND MAYBE A LITTLE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF A TODDLER’S CONCEPT OF TIME (AKA, Squirt guuun!)
Like that time I went to Chicago and nervously explaineditreallyfast, and four days later when I came home, Lucy asked me “so how was that trip to Costco?” ... UM, IT WAS REAL GOOD! DANG IT, I FORGOT THAT 1,114 PACK OF TOILET PAPER! LET’S HUG!
And finally, thanks be to God, the status of my current trip, the very most successful of outcomes:
TYPE 4: CELEBRITY DISTRACTION (AKA, this isn’t a gun! IT’S THE RETURN OF A LITTLE BIT OF YOUR SOUL.)
Parachute in one of the kids’ favorite people on planet earth for duration of trip. Must be of top caliber, such as grandparent or real live Disney character. Success rate: 100%. Kids could not care less about my whereabouts, and I can drink some cava and actually enjoy the trip. THAT MEANS AIRPORT TCHOTCKE’S FOR YOU, CELEBRITY VISITOR! CLEAR A SPACE ON THAT FRIDGE FOR A SPANKIN’ NEW MAGNET!
If you see my father-in-law, please everyone buy him a drink. The evaporation of mom-guilt is a rare and magical thing, which allowed me to not only WORK but ENJOY my first trip to Barcelona. The business side was a successful whirlwind of a few days, and I had the chance to take a self-guided Barcelona-in-a-few-hours sightseeing excursion, which was awesome. I ate local foods, saw Gaudi architecture, the Gothic quarter, the Cathedral, and stood in the Mediterranean Sea. All while drinking cava and missing my beautiful family at home. And more than ever, I can’t wait to get home and hug them all to pieces.
I don’t know if it will get easier or harder as they get older. But I’m taking this (wine-induced, happy post-successful-trip) moment to appreciate how lucky I am to have my lovely family, and also enjoy my job. Balance is impossibly hard to achieve, but this past week felt like a step in the right direction.
Is it obvious I got a little tipsy while writing this? (PS, I also just watched What to Expect While You’re Expecting on the plane and balled my eyes out.)
HEY FAMILY! SEE YOU IN A FEW HOURS, LOVES!