Me me me!!! Early on in my career I LOVED travelling with work. I'd jump at every opportunity to go away in the name of a job. What's more I'd look enviously at the big-cheeses who seemed to be jetting-off here, there and everywhere on a weekly basis.
What I didn't realise back then was that if any of those senior folks had kids at home then they were probably wrangling a myriad of emotions.
You see, since having my boys (3 and 4); that once thrilling offer of going abroad for a meeting or shoot comes with a pang of Mum Guilt. I think that's a fairly normal reaction. After all, even if you have a career you love, it pales into insignificance compared to your babies.
HOWEVER, that niggling Mum Guilt doesn't mean I turn down the chance to travel with work. In fact the opposite. Unless there is an important event, a birthday or school play, I fight the voice in my head and always say 'YES' to that trip! Here's why:
- The sleep. A full night's sleep is one of the best things anyone can offer me. 8 hours shut-eye is the DREAM.
- I see work trips as a recce. For example, I might never have considered Copenhagen as a holiday destination, but a trip there for a presentation earlier this year has put it firmly on my list for a family break.
- Airport gifts - no, really. I remember Dad coming home from trips away with a Toblerone. It felt like such a treat! And definitely a good exchange from him missing a bedtime or two. Fickle but true!
- Remember kids don't really have a concept of time. Though you might be counting down the minutes to get back to your babes, they are very good at being 'in the moment' and will instead just be glad to have you back when the time comes.
- Marriage reviver. Realising that I miss my husband when I go away, is a good reminder that we do actually still like each-other. Which, let's be honest, isn't always obvious once kids are in the mix.
On a serious note for me the thing about work travel is that it usually equates to doing something challenging. And though that is daunting, I have learned to embrace the challenge. Experience has taught me that, in the long run, having my boundaries pushed makes me feel fulfilled, which in turn makes me happy. AND the truth is I am better parent when I am happy in myself.
It goes without saying that my kids are my everything, however that I am a firm believer that motherhood doesn't need to define you. You see, as well as showering them in love, there's lots I want to teach them too. I hope to be a role model to them and show just how important 'women in the workplace' are.
I want to instill them with a sense of adventure, which means saying 'yes' to opportunities when they come their way. Including the opportunity to travel with work. Seeing new places and meeting new people is ALWAYS a good thing.
And to repeat an earlier point. Work travel means sleep, and sleep is surely the most desired thing by all parents?
So next time Mum Guilt threatens to rear its well-meaning-but-frankly-annoying head, tell it where to go. Pack your bag and say a big fat 'hell yeah' to work travel and, better still, if you can find 20 minutes to yourself while you are away; perhaps a soak in the bath or a trip to the gym, then you are REALLY winning...