Hi! It has been a little while since I posted on the blog. Life does get busy but I found a little time today so here I am! Recently I got the opportunity to go to the business trip in Lagos, Nigeria for a week. My son was 5 months old at the time. I was asked how I coped with leaving my child behind to go on a work trip.
Well the answer to that question is that I felt great about it! I mean sure I had a little bit of the jitters and I missed him a lot the entire time but there were many other factors which made me feel great about my decision to go.
Having a great partner
My husband is amazing and has been a great dad to our son throughout my pregnancy and from Day 1 of his birth. I was confident that he would be able to take care of him. He knows him, he loves him, he cares for him very well when I am around. Why would I worried beyond measure. Personally, I try to be conscious about not perpetuating the myth that mother are the “better parent.” I simply do not feel that way. I believe that parents can both invest themselves if they choose to be great to their kids. Now circumstances may dictate whether one is more present at a given moment in time, but that does not make them the “better parent”… The guys had a great week together. It gave them some additional bonding time.
I stopped breastfeeding/pumping when my son was 3 months old. That allowed me the flexibility to be away from him for that time without having to worry about how to deal with feeling engorged or having to pump and throw away milk. I am also aware that many new working moms pump and store extra milk in deep freezers (can keep up to 9-12months!) in case they have to be away for work or other reasons. If I was still breastfeeding, that would have been my plan B.
Sense of purpose
This may be odd to some people but I felt very happy and fulfilled over this trip. I derive as much satisfaction staying with my son as I do going out there and bringing some bacon home. Knowing that as a mom, I can provide for my son by furthering my career and positioning myself in a way that allows me to seek better career opportunities makes me smile. Somehow I knew that one day he will be proud of me. I went all gladiator on my colleagues, felt super motivated and productive, and also took the opportunity to network and learn as much as possible.
He probably won’t remember
Well, do you remember where your parents were or what they were up to when you were 5 months old? I don’t! Lol To put things in perspective I believed that I long as my son was fed, cleaned, hugged, and kissed he would be just fine for a week. I came back and reconnected with him as though I had never left!
My son goes to a daycare full-time which opens from 6:30am to 6:30pm. That was really useful as my husband did not have to take off work to stay with him. I would recommend getting family to help or hiring a trusted nanny (or manny) for the time you are away to make things easier.
We were lucky enough to find a daycare with video monitoring we can connect to from anywhere, so that helped. Also we have home video monitoring of his crib so at night time it would soothe me to watch him sleep more or less peacefully. Last, daily videos/photos or video calls from my guys were the best gifts I would have asked for over the duration of my trip.
That sums up how I made it through my work trip feeling happy and confident that I was not “leaving my child behind” but instead actively working towards a better future for him as my husband was just fine being a dad. It is not for every mother to do and decisions to take on work-trips that early have to be carefully balanced with your child’s needs and your partner’s bandwidth and level of support. I mean, I have been alone with Gabriel for two weeks now as my husband is visiting family abroad, and I can say it is a LOT of work for one person to do. By many people’s standard my husband is a hero and they kept remind me of that…not many people are giving me the same props for surviving staying with my child…Hmmm! J
Oh. I want to talk about a suggestion from several people to “go with my baby” on the worktrip. Those are people who either never had a child, never had a job that required them to travel, or definitely do not value my career nor appreciate the purpose of a work trip is to be productive onsite which requires 100% of your focus (unless you have someone else with you). Mom on work trip are not for ooooos and aaaaas. It’s a cold world out there and us new moms mean business! Anyhoo…I am thinking about it because I am wondering how many men get asked whether they would take their kids with you on a business trip.
This was my experience. I would love to hear about yours. Why did or didn’t you go on a worktrip considering you had a young child/newborn.
Much love to all!