Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Traveling Mom

When I was a younger person, I thought it would be glamorous to have a job that required me to travel.  Well, I thought that, but I also was terrified of flying so I wasn't interested in the flying part of the glamorous jet-setting job.  But, I liked the idea of working in many locations.

Fast forward many years -- and I'm six years into a job that requires me to travel all of the time and I can say, it's not glamorous at all.  I have 11 trips planned in April - June.  There will likely be more.  It means being on a plane every week.  Each trip represents numerous meetings and presentations, all which create a cascade of additional work that has to be crammed into the non-travel days or those hours spent on the plane.  I try to keep my weekends free to focus on family stuff and try not to do my job in the evening -- but, it leads to a stressed out and distracted mom.  And the traveling means missing out.  I've missed school performances, sporting events and parties.  I'm constantly scrambling to try to figure out everyone's schedules and make sure everyone knows mine.  And, traveling for work is just not fun. 

This week (as in the last seven days) is a perfect example of how my year is shaping up.  I was in Los Angeles on Thursday and Friday last week.  It rained in LA on Friday resulting in traffic coming to a complete stand still because the Los Angolans have no idea what to do with their cars when it rains.  I would have missed my flight, but the pilots and airport personnel in Los Angeles also have no godly idea what to do with a plane in the rain, so my flight was also delayed.  Score.  I got home at about 6 PM (not bad, really).  We spent the weekend catching up on projects, shopping, and going to a friend's birthday party (it was a fun party -- our friend Julie really knows how to throw a children's birthday party):

Then Monday, the day after we switched to Daylight Savings Time resulting in a lost hour, I had a 6 AM flight back to Los Angeles.  Which required me to get up at 4 AM.  Which felt like 3 AM.  And then I had meetings all day.  Literally, until 6 PM.  And then my 9:30 flight got delayed until 11:30.  UGH.  I got home at 1 AM. 

This morning, I woke up to a text message from our nanny saying that she had a fever of 104.  Seriously, I think the universe is testing my ability to roll with the punches.  The people we do a nanny share with have a friend that runs a daycare that they've used as a back-up in the past.  Given that I was facing another full day of meetings and Eric had deadlines, we decided to call the daycare and try to get Alden there for the day.  I texted her and then a reminder popped up on my phone that we had to have the kittens to the vet by 8:30 AM to get fixed.  Deep breath. 

The daycare owner texted back and she said she couldn't accommodate Alden because she'd have a full house that day.  So, we started on an alternative plan -- which amounted to Eric taking Alden to work with him.  We split up, Eric taking Alden with the kittens, me with Kai to get to school.  After dropping Kai off, I got another text from the daycare saying that Alden could come after all because another one of the kids wasn't coming in.  Yea - but now I had to get to where Alden and Eric were to retrieve Alden and get him across town to a new daycare with new providers -- people I had not personally vetted.

It was not my best morning.  And it was compounded by the late night/early morning.  The traveling just gets me off on the wrong foot making it harder to deal with the chaos of being a working parent.  It adds insult to injury.

I'm whining because I just looked through my upcoming trips through June and I have a LOT of travel coming up.  It's going to mean a lot of weeks like this one - of trying to keep a million balls in the air at once while being gone half the time. 

Luckily, Kai and Alden are awesome . Alden did great at the new daycare today.  He fit right in.  He didn't cry. He wasn't scared.  He rolled with it. The only issue was at naptime when the daycare providers reported he seemed a bit confused.  They put him in a pack and play and he didn't cry, but he didn't go to sleep.  He just stood there, staring at them, as if wondering what they wanted him to do.  They said after about a 1/2 hour, he sat down and then eventually sort of toppled over, exhausted.  Alden has never really been a good sleeper and I can see that sleeping in a room full of other children might have seemed a bit out of the ordinary.  But, he still went with it.  He didn't fuss.  He just took it all in. When he got home tonight, he threw a massive fit to let us know that he'd been super good all day. 

Kai also is flexible and able to adjust to the chaos with little problems. She always has been.  Just like Alden, she took to new settings with a flair and has always had the ability to make instant friends.

Thank goodness for them.  I love my job and the people I work with, but it drives me to the brink sometimes because it is so demanding both in terms of my time and energy.  We are so lucky to have children that are so good natured and flexible. 

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