5 Myths About Working Mom Travel

As I sit in the Nashville International Airport for the second work trip in as many weeks, I see families, friends, and the occasional lone businesswoman or man. I fly the early flight despite its early hour. This allows me to get up, get ready, and get to the airport in plenty of time to check my bags (if needed) and make my flight. Each time I travel, I go in and lightly rouse my kids before leaving. Since they are older they go right back to sleep, but somewhere in their sleepy consciousness maybe they will remember I said I loved them, kissed their brows, and said goodbye.

What always seems to get me is that, when I come back, inevitably one of my daughters will ask, “how was your vacation?” What??? I wasn’t on vacation, I was working…like non-stop. So, I calmly explain that I wasn’t on vacation--that I would never go on vacation without them and daddy--and we move on. But I realize that most people who don’t travel for work think it is a glamorous lifestyle. So, as I sit here at BNA on a Monday morning at 4:43 AM, let me share with you the five myths of work travel for moms:

5. We Are All Jetsetters...

We dash through the sliding airport doors, check our bags, and head to the Admiral’s Club for cocktails and canapés before flying First Class. I am B47 on a Southwest plane that is probably a B60 max because I overslept yesterday when I should have checked in!!! I think if you travel a lot, and travel the same airline almost every trip, the Admiral’s Club or those like it are probably worth the money (for the guaranteed work space alone). But I travel whatever airline is cheapest and gets me where I need to go in plenty of time to prepare for my meetings, and these airlines aren’t always in the same terminal as their members’ clubs. But I will tell you that I look at it every year…and dream, lol.

4. Work Travel Is an Adventure…

It might be for some people, but I am a creature of habit. Since I am forever flying out of the same airport, there are the same restaurants, the same shops, the same desk attendants. I have the same breakfast (for me it is at the O’Charley’s in Terminal C). I eat the same scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon, and toast. I tried to sub my potatoes for fruit but alas they were out of fruit so, my routine wins again.

3. You Get to Go So Many Places…

For some of you, that might be true. But even if you do, are you seeing the sights? Going to all the hip new restaurants? Most likely the answer is no. If you think my breakfast is a one-off, you are wrong. I typically travel to the same few places: Chicago, Washington DC, and Monterey, California. I occasionally throw in an Orlando or Philadelphia trip for good measure, but I go where my customers are located, and they don’t generally uproot their businesses and move them to warm, tropical beaches. I think I do get to go to NYC this year…but in the dead of winter…sigh.

2. Staying in Hotels and Eating Out, Traveling New Places, That All Seems Great…

I like traveling. I don’t mind staying in hotels and, while I love to cook, a well-prepared meal that I didn’t have to cook is really nice sometimes. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t spend Saturday and Sunday preparing meals that would keep for my family, doing all the laundry, setting out the kids’ clothes for the days I will be gone, and arranging school pick-up since my two-parent household is down to a one-parent household for a few days. And you work all day at meetings only to catch up on work at night, so most of the time I order takeout and eat in my room. 1. It Is a Break from the Kids and the Daily Grind. Yes, to some extent that is true. But after my routine breakfast at the airport, I call to make sure everyone is up and getting ready, and I already miss them. Having a break is nice. I love both of my girls with all my heart, but missing a day or two of arguing the value of brushing your hair and trying to work out how my little one doesn’t seem to feel that her shoes are on the wrong feet or her shirt is on backwards is ok. But missing the other things are harder. Missing their smiling faces and their hugs, kisses, and giggles is a different story. Each time I fly back in and get home, I hug and kiss my babies and tell them I love them. I love to travel for work, but it certainly isn’t a vacation.