Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Traveling for Work and Kids

Did you ever get the feeling that you wanted to go,
But still had the feeling that you wanted to stay.
-- Jimmy Durante

I've been a bit quiet on the blog lately because I've been consumed with work and family of late.  I was out of town at a conference in Baltimore and have been trying to catch up with my family and my work since I've returned.  Since I left I've been trying to get my head around the emotional and psychological piece of leaving the family for a few days, and I'm not quite sure how to do it.  So let me ramble and see if I end up anywhere. 

I travel a few times a year for professional conferences.  They range from one night to three and take me anywhere in the country.  I admit I look forward to the trips; I've always enjoyed my profession's conferences.  I get to meet up with friends I only see a couple of times a year, I talk with colleagues who I enjoy, and I get to learn a lot of great ideas.  Now that I have kids, I am conflicted.  I love the conferences for the aforementioned reasons, but I hate to leave my family.  I really miss them.  So here is one of the odd psychological things I can't explain. 

How come I begin to miss my kids the minute they drop me off at the airport, but I don't miss them when I leave in the morning for work? Is it that I anticipate being away and not seeing them for a few days?  Is it their cute little faces saying goodbye and asking me to come home soon? Am I making a mountain out of a the proverbial molehill?

I wonder how others who travel a lot leave their kids.  I don't even want to contemplate how military families split up for a year or more.  That is a whole other topic I can't dream of.  Job-Mom wrote a bit about how to help kids adjust when one parent is gone, and she has one for the parent who stays at home.  She doesn't really address how the traveling parent can cope.  Should I feel guilty about leaving?  Should I leave the conference early to come home (as I learned I and many of my colleagues did at the conference in Baltimore)? 

Now that I'm home, I've been conflicted on catching up with my work and catching up with my kids.  It's a tough balance, and I am dissatisfied with how well I'm doing both.   I know that work and home life have ebbs and flows, but I have just been trying to get my head around that experience of wanting to actively participate in my profession and to be a home-body curled on the floor with kids draped over me. 

I guess this rambling comes down to two things.  From the intellectual side, I'm curious about the nature of missing loved ones and how one manages competing interests. From the personal standpoint, I want an easier way to manage my emotional unease of leaving and wanting to leave.  


  1. Good post .I understand your problem, but this is the reality of the life.You should have to maintain a good balance between family and job.Hope you will find a good solution for your problem.

  2. I wish I had a good answer for you. I have trouble leaving my cats for a few days. I don't know how the hell people can stand to be away from their kids!

  3. i totally agree! Love to travel...hate to leave my kids...I mean cats. Or my husband, whether he's traveling for work or I'm traveling alone for whatever reason. We just realize more when we have real love in our homes that it's the best place on earth and no matter how awesome the trip may be, the real good stuff is back at home. I've considered getting an RV so we can travel with the hubby isn't on board yet!

  4. @ferienhaus ibiza: I try to maintain the balance. An extra 6 hours in my day would help.

    @ Cat Bastet: Yea, it's a love/hate relationship with going away. I never had that with the dogs. :)

    @dmoylan: I never thought about an RV. The old Oakland Raiders coach, John Madden, never flew. He always took a bus. Maybe that's the answer.

  5. I vote for sprawling on the floor and playing with the kids, but then, I'm a big kid anyway! I know what you mean though. Traveling is hard on both sides. My kids had a rough time the past few years with my husband traveling out of the country. It's hard when obligations pile up on both sides. The conflict can be pretty hard. I feel for your dilemma and anyone else in that position. I still say, sprawl on the floor and goof off with the family!