Tuesday, April 15, 2014
my first business trip as a working mom
Last week, was my first experience traveling away from home (for work) as a new mom. I was fortunate to take Maggie with me to a conference last November, but was unable to do so this time around. As a result, I spent my first night (and subsequent nights) away from Maggie. Even though I knew the time would come eventually, I was still dreading it with every ounce of my being.
I didn't expect to cry as we pulled up to the airport drop off area. I knew there would be tears at some point, but I did not intend to come unraveled while I was still with my husband and daughter. Tears continued on and off throughout the airports. I saw a child that looked close to Maggie's age/size and would well up all over again.
Thankfully, I had a number of supportive colleagues who asked me about Maggie and how I was doing being away from her. Mothers empathized and offered words of encouragement and fathers asked if we were FaceTiming daily and how I was doing. I am grateful to the mom who talked to me about her perspective on stepping back from professional association involvement while her children were young. And to the colleague who told me she thought I was setting a great example by leaving the conference a day early to get home to my family.
To be honest, it was hard to get away from my meetings to pump. I'm still breastfeeding, so I needed to excuse myself periodically to use my breastfeed pump. One day, I ordered my lunch with the group but asked for it to come in a to go container so I could take it to my hotel room. It felt odd and I didn't want to explain to my colleagues where I was going (but I figured some of them could figure it out). I had my own little picnic as I ate my ahi tuna sandwich on the bed all hooked up to the pump.
I was so worried about my milk supply, both before the trip and while I was away. I was pumping multiple times a day in the months leading up to the trip to build up a 'freezer stash' that could be used while I was gone. While I was away from home, I used the "trick" of looking at photos while I pumped and did my best to stay hydrated; I even ate foods that claim to boost milk supply (oatmeal, spinach).
While we experienced some re-entry challenges (i.e. Maggie woke up in the middle of the night), I am thankful the trip is over and I have a few months before we have to be apart again. The first weekend following my return was focused on time together, rather than my typical Saturday routine of cleaning and errand running. It's been important to take time to reconnect and let her know I'm not neglecting her.
Have you traveled away from your child as a new mom (or mom to an infant)? Share any tips you may have in the comments section below. I believe it's so important to share our experiences and learn from one another.