Travel trauma

It finally happened. My travel affected the kids. Not that they weren’t aware of it before, but the emotional impact was not fully expressed. Let’s face it, I’ve been traveling since both my kids were babies. I think my first business trip occurred eight weeks after my son was born. Came back to work at seven weeks, was traveling at eight. It was hard. But as hard as it was, I knew, like all things, it was all in the attitude in which I approached it. So, I got on the plane, did my job, and came home to my baby snuggles and cuddles.

Over the years, it’s gotten progressively harder for me to be away which may seem counterintuitive, but for me the struggle is in having them know I’m away. I am becoming one of “those moms”, picking up treats at each stop to bring home with me. This is done for two reasons – the first being that I miss them and am thinking of them. The second is the reason I suppose many moms would not admit – I do it so they aren’t still “mad” at me when I get home. There, I said it.

I can imagine it’s hard for the kids – to have mama there one day, and on the road the next. The last business trip illustrated the point – more than I would have cared for it to. I left on a Monday morning, prior to the kids getting up. Monday’s are hard on everyone, trying to get back into the weekday routine. My husband and I seldom get to talk on the phone when I travel, as managing the two little ones before and after school can be a chaotic routine. So, we communicate via e-mail at some point in the day.

Monday’s e-mail: “Kids are doing fine. Morgan woke up asking for you, and Jake had a meltdown that he wanted his mama. Everyone was fine once they got to daycare.”

Tuesday’s e-mail: “Kids are doing fine. There was a lot of hugging and crying and I want mama.”

Wednesday’s e-mail: “Jake got upset last night that it was Morgan’s turn to sit on my lap, and cried for mama. It was a cry like someone took away his toy. They are excited for you to come home.”

I’m sure there are moms out there that would prefer not to hear these things while they were away, perhaps ask their husbands to edit what they say. Frankly, I need to hear these things. I need to still be their mom when I’m traveling, and while I can’t be there in the moment to cuddle them and make the hurt go away, hearing these things lets me know what needs to be done on my return.

So, upon my return last week, I made sure there were extra cuddles, extra stories at bedtime, and a fantastic weekend of mama-filled fun. They seem to have gotten over it, even if I haven’t. And, I suppose, I never quite will.

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