So there was last week...
I had a 2-nighter in Austin last week. For me, it was a great trip. It was a quarterly meeting with my team, giving me an opportunity to bond with them and tap them as resources. We did some great team-building activities, while accomplishing some major tasks.
Meanwhile at the homestead, things were not going so smoothly. Day 1, I got a call from Daddy telling me he was picking up Boy from the babysitter's to take him to the doctor. He had been coughing all weekend, but it was just getting worse. He'd also been having a little tummy trouble. Daddy ended up having to take the rest of the day off for what turned out to be a small tummy virus and allergies. Poor kiddo and Daddy.
Then on Day 2, while I was at a movie with my team (Pirates of the Carribean 3D Imax!!), I got a text that there were tornadoes and hail looming near the homestead. By the time I called home, Daddy was in no mood to hear anything from me. Particularly anything fun related! The storms were stressing out the family (Daddy's job increases in stress level when hail strikes). Boy had an accident all over the carpet upstairs. And a few other odds and ends had tensions running high. My team was waiting on me to eat dinner, but I needed to attempt to smooth things over with Daddy and talk him off the ledge.
I was really overcome with guilt. Poor Daddy was really dealt a crappy hand. I felt awful that I had been enjoying a movie and dinner with adults. I was also fighting through being the one in the group who kept leaving to take calls. There are 5 of us on my team. One other girl has small children (4 under the age of 7...including twins, .though she rarely travels), one with teenagers, one with grandchildren, and one who is older with no children. Incidentally, the older one with no children would start a conversation with someone else any time I talked about my kids or my education. Kind of uncomfortable. This company is definitely a champion of family time, but it was still awkward for me. On top of it, I had knowledge that I was going to need to travel an additional few days in June making at least 2 overnights for 4 weeks in a row. I needed to find the right time to break it to Daddy. And he was in no mood to hear it. Truth is, I have training classes and certifications I need to get under my belt, and not all of my resources for this training are in my metro area. Things will even out in the next month, but right now it's a bit intense.
Oh, and I had my first paper of the term due on normative ethics theories later in the week. It was a doozy, and I was really feeling uptight about it.
The good news is that our home remained in tact during the storms. I made it home in time to spend a few minutes with the kids before bed. Daddy and I had a long discussion when I got home about expectations and ways to manage stress. He expressed his continued support. I booked him a trip to Las Vegas. Win-win.
That brings me to this week...
I embarked on another 2-nighter today. Before I left, I did a few special extra things beyond the usual to take some stress off of Daddy. It's the last week of school, and we have to send things in every day this week (not to mention teacher gifts, etc.). I pre-bagged and labeled everything, so all he has to do is toss it in Girl's backpack every morning. I pre-cooked stuff for tomorrow night's dinner. I made sure everything was clean and put away. And then I made sure to go buy some stuffed grape leaves for Daddy, as he enjoys snacking on them as a special treat after the kids go to bed.
For the kids.... I took a picture of myself puckering up with the caption "Give me a kiss! I love you!" I printed it on a 4X6 and put a copy on each of their pillows. I also printed this map, put a yellow pin in our home town, and a red pin in the town I'm currently in. We can then change the pin each time I travel so the kids can see where I am, geographically. It's hanging in Girl's room.
I got into my hotel room tonight and immediately called the family to make it for story time. I hadn't had dinner, so I was starving, but it was cool to still be able to help Girl with her words from over the phone. Hopefully, this trip will go better than last time for Daddy.
Action Item: As usual, I really need some help getting this off of the ground: Find mamas who travel for work and are interested in sharing tips for staying virtually hands-on with their children. Get them to follow this blog. I know we can build a community for support. Additionally, let's get some comments on the blog about inexpensive and creative souvenir ideas for kids....keeping in mind this is business travel and resources are limited!