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While I Was Away - Practical Tips To Keep The Family Happy When Mommy's Away
I’ve worked in some capacity almost the entire time I’ve been a mother. And with that work came some travel. When I left my old career and began blogging and writing part time last year, it allowed me to work from home, with very little travel. Ideal since we were having our third and final baby. However, as with many different professional fields, every now and then it becomes important to connect and network with your peers and I did just that this past weekend. I attended the Mom 2.0 Summit in South Orange County, and while I made the decision to come home every night after the conference instead of staying at the hotel, I still missed quite a lot with the kids, since I was gone for 12-15 hours each day. Here’s a peek at just a few of the things I missed out on, and how I deal with that internal gut pull that is often responsible for “mommy guilt”.
Mommy Guilt Is Only As Big As You Allow It To Be
As mothers, whether we work or stay home, home school or send to public school, attachment parent versus strict schedule, we can beat ourselves up over every little decision, leaving us with a pile up of mommy guilt. But that pile of guilt will only grow as big as you let it. Click through to read how I try to process my parenting decisions, and do away with mommy guilt. Also, some practical tips to make everyone’s life easier when I’m away!
You'll Never Be Around To See Everything
While I was away, Hayden’s top teeth finally broke through, something we had been waiting weeks for. He went down for his nap toothless, and when he awoke, there they were! When I first heard the big news, I felt a pang of guilt that I wasn’t there to witness it. But then I remembered this could’ve happened while I was at the grocery store! You just can’t possibly witness every single milestone, no matter how much you’re around. Remind yourself of that before you let guilt start to creep in.
Milestones Are What You Make Them
Another first for Hayden, was his first taste of super sour pineapple. I could’ve wept over the fact I missed seeing his sweet and funny pucker, but then remembered there’s at least 1000 other strange and interesting foods that Hayden has yet to try, and I can still witness. You can downplay each new event, or make them exciting and celebrate them as often as you like. It’s all in how you choose to do it. I call dibs on getting to watch him try a pickle for the first time though!
I learned early on that absolutely no one wins if you instruct your spouse or partner “don’t have too much fun without me!” While none of us wants to miss out on anything, and we want our children to miss us just a little bit, I’ve learned that it’s way more beneficial if everyone has a good time and realizes that they CAN have a good time while Mommy’s away.
Encourage Picture and Video Sharing
My husband is pretty good about taking lots of photos and bits of video when I’m away, and sharing just a couple. You don’t want to inundate your spouse, or be inundated with hundreds of photos while away, but a few here and there, and then a full recap and review when you get home, keeps everyone connected and in the loop of what happened while you were away. Spring finally arrived in full force last weekend when I was gone, and they got to all enjoy a lovely picnic in the backyard. They sent me a short video saying hi as to include me in spirit!
Keep On A Routine
Encourage your spouse or partner to keep everyone on a routine when you’re away, to keep a sense of normalcy about their day. Mom may be gone, but it’s still business as usual type of thing, you know? Routine makes the kids feel secure and avoids meltdowns from over tired, hungry little ones. Leave a written schedule if need be, and check in periodically to see if you can provide advice or assistance over the phone. My husband is pretty involved, but every now and then he likes a reminder about baby’s nap times, feedings, etc.
Any Other Advice?
These are the big picture points we try to stay on top of whenever I’m gone for even just a day. It helps to bring balance back to the family and makes it easier for me to jump back in when I return. But I’m curious, do you have any other ideas to share to make traveling away from the family a bit easier? I’d love to hear!