Dropping our son off at grandma’s for the second time in a week meant another tearful “see you later.” I barely wanted to be part of the drop-off process to avoid feeling worse than I already did, but my husband made a comment that hinted he felt guilty too, dad guilt, so I knew we had to face this unpleasant feeling together. I kissed Baby K and bolted out the front door as fast as possible. Following shortly after, my husband embraced me and reminded me that I was going to be away for only a few days. He was right. We’ll all be back together after three nights, not three weeks. I wiped my tears, hopped in the passenger seat, and we arrived at the airport within an hour. This wasn’t the first time I felt this way; it likely won’t be the last. Ah, mom guilt, we meet again.
I have dreamed of a travel-filled life for as long as I can remember, and while living the dream, as a new mom, I have struggled with mom guilt when traveling without my son. Traveling across the country for work, whether speaking at an event, attending a conference, or working on an influencer campaign, is fun and deeply fulfilling. It’s also how I make a living. This month alone, I’m traveling three times for work, which means I will be apart from my family for ten days.
Recently celebrating our son’s first birthday, I’m only now ready to share how I am overcoming mom guilt when traveling for work. While I don’t have it all figured out, I’ve developed coping skills that help me manage my emotions and see the positive. I hope this article and podcast episode helps other parents struggling and looking to get over mom guilt.
In this podcast episode, we’re chatting about:
- What is mom’s guilt?
- How to feel less guilty about traveling without your kids
- How to overcome mom guilt, in particular working mom travel guilt
- Tips for how to deal with mom guilt
While traveling and balancing a career can be challenging because of the time constraints, Traveling With a Full-Time Job is packed with honest advice, tips, and recommendations for making the best use of your limited time so you can see more of the world. This book is for the practical working professional who is tired of hearing the narrative that you have to “take the leap” and quit your job to travel the world.
What is mom guilt?
Table of Contents
Personally, mom guilt pops up the day before a trip when I am thinking about being away from my family, especially while saying goodbye to my son.
Filled with sadness, it’s a feeling of not wanting to leave. I worry about missing a major milestone, and oddly enough, I miss our simple day-to-day routine, from playing to napping and everything in between.
I became a stay at home because I wanted to be present for my children, there for everything and anything. But honestly, even as a stay at home mom, this is impossible to achieve. I’m around more often than not, which truly matters to me. But in the moment, being away even for a handful of days feels the opposite of that. And even though I am not doing anything wrong, I feel like a bad mom for leaving my child behind.
After a lot of self-reflection, here are (7) things that have helped me ease the mom guilt.
Read Next: How To Make Money at Conferences
How To Overcome Mom Guilt When Traveling For Work
1. Feel the feels
Don’t try to avoid it. If you feel parent guilt coming over you, embrace it without judgment and create strategies for pushing through. With a quick Google Search, you’ll find out that you are not alone; plenty of other parents have openly talked about overcoming parent guilt online. I truly believe when you know how you’re feeling and why, you can choose to let it go.
2. Have a purpose for business trips
Business travel is not a vacation. I am strategically traveling to either secure more work or deliver services. I am leaving home, contributing to the goal of making a better life for us. While business trips can be fun, I cannot lose sight of my mission and purpose.
After every work trip, I evaluate the ROI (return on investment).
Who did I connect with?
Who expressed interest in working with me?
What actions do I have to take to bring us closer to closing the deal?
Being away from my family has to pay off, whether in income, building relationships, or introductions. Again this is business travel; what business results can I attribute to this trip?
But even if I am going on a vacation without my kids, time away to rest, relax, and simply shower without being hasty is good for the body and soul. Also, mommy and daddy need solo time. *Wink*
3. Be an example
I am living out my dreams and showcasing what it means to build a thriving business from the ground up.
I am a role model my son will be proud of one day. My drive and work ethic shows him what’s possible.
Listen to this podcast episode: How To Plan For Maternity Leave When Self-Employed
4. Visualize our reunion
When I’m filled with mom guilt, despair, and sorrow, I visualize our next encounter.
My son, Baby K, has warm eyes and the cutest gap-tooth smile. Once he sees me for the first time after a while, he’s always excited to see me. With a big smile, he fearlessly leaps toward me.
Knowing how good it will feel to be together again brings me comfort and makes returning home special every time.
5. Call home often
I start each day with a morning call, preferably via FaceTime or text.
Also, ask for photo updates, especially when missing your baby. It makes me feel closer to him, knowing what he’s up to.
6. Browse family photos
There have been times while traveling that I will scroll through our family photos because I miss my family. It brings me back to a place and time with many warm memories. Pour over pictures of your children when you miss them.
Listen to this podcast episode on Spotify.
7. Plan for family bonding time
I am lucky to have a supportive husband and both sets of grandmothers who adore our son and want to be active in his life. Being away for work means they get to care for him, spend 1:1 time, and develop an unbreakable bond. They look forward to spending time with him, and my being away helps with that. It comforts me that he’s in great hands, and they can spend quality time together without us around.
As my son gets older, my presence will be even more missed, and I’ll have to deal with iterations of mom guilt, but in the meantime, I am grateful that I can acknowledge how I’m feeling and then shake it off because I’m away building a better life for us. Plus, I’m home way more than I’m gone. There is no need to sulk in guilt (for too long). My best advice is to acknowledge the feeling and let it wash over you.
I’d love to hear from you. Do you deal with working mom guilt when traveling for work?
How are you getting over mom guilt? Share your thoughts below.
Danielle Desir Corbett paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries, including her favorites, Iceland, China, and Bermuda. Go here to learn Danielle’s incredible story, from struggling financially and in debt to finding creative ways to earn more and live on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast, where Danielle shares how you can creatively travel more and build wealth regardless of your current financial situation. Reach out to Danielle by contacting: thethoughtcard (at) gmail (dot) com.