7 must-dos for a kid-free business trip

7 must-dos for a kid-free business trip
Original photo by Jeremy Sternberg, creative commons

You’re on a kid-free business trip, so you’re probably feeling equal parts guilty and giddy. Chances are, you haven’t been away from home and kids in so long that the prospect of dealing with traffic and the TSA, crossing time zones, working long hours and eating what passes for a continental breakfast sounds positively like a vacation.

It’s also likely that you might not know what to do with yourself. I’ve been there, though, so I’ve done you the solid of making a little list of all the things you must do on your next kid-free business trip.

While you’re gone, drop me a line and tell me all about your kid-free extravagances like eating in a restaurant with no play place and sleeping on an un-jumped-on bed. Read more

This is trippy: Tips for a business trip away from your child

Even though I see rain and fog out my hotel window right now, everyone assures me that yes, I am in Texas.

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 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 trip 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. Read more

Family reunion

I recently took my first trip without Peeper. After 16 months of spending every day together, I headed up to Seattle for a business trip. It was a short jaunt—I was gone only one night—but, as I wrote earlier, I worried how she and I would handle the separation.

It felt good to be busy. Between meetings and visiting my sister and brother-in-law, I didn’t have much time to dwell on how much I missed Peeper. When I had a few minutes of down time, I walked around and stumbled across the adorable Once Upon a Time toy store in Queen Anne and of course bought her a little present.

That night, though, as I sat in the quiet hotel room, loneliness threatened to swallow me. The spacious room with its two queen beds, sitting room and kitchen that seemed so luxurious in the day felt yawning and empty in the dark.

The next morning, we videochatted. Seeing Peeper’s smiles filled up the hollow space inside me. Peeper kept peering over the top of the computer on her end, looking for me.

Ten Thousand Hour MamaAs I drove home later that day, I imagined our ecstatic reunion—like the tearful homecomings you see at the airport or veterans seeing their loved ones after coming back from war. (I know, I have a very healthy imagination.) Impatient, I cursed 5pm traffic and watched the clock, predicting what Peeper would be up to at that moment. Read more

Travel without my toddler

Today I’m headed up to Seattle for a brief business trip—without Peeper. I’ve never been away from her for a night, and now that she’s almost 16 months old, I bit the bullet and scheduled this overdue outing.

I don’t know how it’ll go. I’ve been imagining two scenarios:

1. I take an uninterrupted bath, order room service, lounge around the hotel room in a cushy robe and watch cable.

2. I cry uncontrollably, Skype with my husband so I can see Peeper sleep on the baby monitor and go to my meetings with puffy eyes and an emotional hangover.

Thanks to some strange timing, today’s trip is a trial run. My sisters, brother and I are converging on Santa Fe for an unprecedented siblings weekend, so I’ll be spending three days away from her then, too.

I’m already feeling the guilt at leaving her, and I’m still at home. This’ll be hard—but hopefully rewarding, recharging and fun, too.

Wish us all luck.