Even though I see rain and fog out my hotel window right now, everyone assures me that yes, I am in Texas. I left Oregon a few days ago for a business trip without kids—all on my own! (Cue the happy dance/tears.)
I’m spending most of the week in Austin for business during a regrettably cold and wet stretch (while Portland is enjoying sun and temps in the high 60s—argh!). This also marks the longest I’ve ever been away from Peeper.
I went on one business trip without kids before, and we both did fine—a fact that definitely helped me click “buy” on my plane ticket here. Peeper and I are both a little more independent now, so I figured we’d do even better this go around.
That has been mostly true. My mom is staying at our house and watches Peeper while Eric is at work. They spend a ton of time together even when I’m not hunting for vegetarian BBQ in the country’s most meat-centric state, so my absence wasn’t an enormous transition.
Still, my mom tells me that Peeper asks for me when she wakes up and calls, “Where Mama go?” when looking around my bedroom. The fact that she misses me both breaks my heart and feels like a tiny hug. (Is that weird?)
This business trip without kids has armed me with a few techniques for traveling without my sweet toddler. For parents leaving their littles at home, then, I have a few pieces of advice.
Survive a business trip without kids
1. Skype, Facetime or Google Hangout. Peeper is still much too little to have a conversation, but I feel closer to her when I can be a part of her normal day—like watching her eat a very accessoried lunch or singing her Little Bunny Foo Foo.
2. Get regular updates from your child’s caretaker. I don’t worry as much when a quick text tells me Peeper slept through the night or that she ate tuna mac and peas for breakfast. (Breakfast of champions, amirite?)
3. Write a postcard. Peeper loves checking the mail, and even if she won’t register that a letter is for her, it makes me feel as if I’m sharing part of my day with her when I pen a note and drop it at the post office. Plus, it’ll be fun to collect these as she grows up.
4. Keep those photos coming. A text or an email with a photo of Peeper perks me up even if I’m waiting for a delayed flight or frustrated with work.
5. Stay busy. I’m in Austin on business, but during the inevitable downtime, I have side projects to keep me occupied. I’m taking advantage of this kid-free time as much as I can to be uber productive.
On the other hand…
6. Relax. If you have kids, I’m guessing you haven’t painted your toenails or watched a movie start-to-finish in a very long time. I hadn’t either! So my first night of my business trip without kids, I got takeout, watched The Dallas Buyer’s Club and painted my toes a bright pink while lying in the king size bed. Mmmmmm.
7. Know there will be lonely times. Lulls in work and the moments right before bed are the saddest for me. When your mind isn’t occupied, the absence of your baby is more likely to hit you like an overweight suitcase. I figure I can’t avoid being sad, so I just let it be. These are also the times I scroll through my Instagram history, which always makes me laugh at the ridiculous moments I’ve captured—like Peeper’s first taste of fried chicken or her covered in paint.