In the video above, I share my thoughts on business travel as a working mom. As institutions become more global and depending on your post-MBA career path, business travel may become a bigger part of your work routine. Even during the pre-MBA process, you may be traveling for school visits, diversity or women weekends, and on-campus interviews. Here are some practical tips for coping with business travel as an MBA Mama.
- Before you leave, discuss your work travel with your child. I always discuss work travel with Nyah before leaving for a work trip. I give Nyah the opportunity to ask questions and share her feelings with me. Open communication with your child is important and helps them develop strong EQ and cope with your absence. The worst thing you can do is avoid the topic or sneak out - this may cause your child to develop abandonment or trust issues. Pre-travel communication becomes challenging if your child is too young to talk; however, I still recommend having the conversation even if your child is an infant. You can have skin-to-skin contact with your infant while telling them mommy loves you, I'll be away for a few days, mommy will be back. If you're leaving your child with a nanny or baby-sitter, make sure bags are packed with all the essentials - for me, that means toothbrush, inhaler, Nyah's Queen Elsa doll, her favorite books, clothes, socks and undies.
- Schedule dedicated mommy time with your child. Before leaving for a trip - and even before Nyah goes for weekend visits with her father - I always schedule time for Nyah to get my undivided attention. No cell phone, no computer, no tv. This mommy-daughter time is critical, especially before any period of time greater than 24 hours where I won't be seeing Nyah.
- Use Technology To Stay Connected While You're Away: I use Facetime to connect with Nyah while I'm traveling . Read stories to your child via Facetime - or Skype as an alternative. Sometimes, I send video messages or photos to my babysitter, Angelica, randomly throughout the day. When Nyah sees these photos or videos , she knows I am thinking of her throughout my day. When we videochat, I ask Nyah about her day, what she had for lunch, how she is feeling, and other open-ended questions so she can share whatever is on her mind. When I called her from New York yesterday, she told me some fun facts she learned about mammals at pre-school that day. Her attention to detail is uncanny.
While it is never easy to be away from your child, by using the tips outlined in this blog post, it is possible to strike a healthy balance by keeping the lines of communication open and helping your child develop their emotional intelligence in the process.