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10 things I learned while my kids were tugging at my suitcase

Easy tips for making business travel easier on you and your kids!

by Phaedra Cucina  |  5556 views  |  1 comment  |      Rate this now! 

Business trips are rough on kids.  Yet they are an almost inevitable part of a professional woman’s career.  Whether you travel often or just once in awhile, you, your kids, and the caretaker left behind are put to the test as you head out for the airport.

The defining moment for me was when my oldest daughter was 3.  I had traveled for work since she was born, but for some reason, this day -- this trip -- was different.  She wailed.  She pounded her tiny fists on the floor.  She braced her little body against the front door.  She was very clear: I was leaving and she was mad.  The worst part was that after many good-byes, when I finally had to leave or risked missing the plane, she followed me out the front door and onto the driveway, begging me not to leave.   Standing on my front porch, with my daughter back inside the house and the door locked so she couldn’t follow me out again, I could still hear her crying.   It broke my heart.  I thought to myself that no child, or parent, should have to go through this.

I am not alone, unfortunately.  Since the launch of my children’s book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip, working parents across the country have been telling me similar stories.  The guilt is enormous.  So is the stress of trying to balance what needs to happen while you’re gone with the work responsibilities you’re headed towards.   Not to mention that in today’s times, if your trip is important enough to take you away from the office, you can’t afford to be worried about what’s going on back home.

There is a better way -- for kids and their parents.  Make your next trip easier on everyone, including you, by following these easy, no-tears tips:

1.) Plan for Fun. For trips longer than two nights away, arrange with the caretaker a special night out while you’re gone –  a trip to the movies, a play date with a special friend, pizza for dinner, etc.  Activities will depend on the age of the child, but you’ll know what your child holds special in his or her heart.

2.) Take Flight. If someone can drop you off, have the kids come with you to the airport to say good-bye (this works especially well with Sunday departures and if you live relatively close to the airport). Many kids find airports exciting and it will help them to visualize what you’re doing.  Moms love it, too, because of the last minute hugs and kisses they get.

3.) Prepare Together. A simple, but important thing to do is create or decorate a calendar to show your departure and when you’ll be back home.  Try something new -- glue Hershey Kisses to the calendar for a special treat each day you’re away.

About the Author

Author of the children's book, My Mommy's on a Business Trip (

Read more by Phaedra Cucina

1 comment so far...

  • I'm 27 now, but when I was growing up from age .... well zero, my dad was gone ALOT on business. He would be gone about 25-32 weeks every year for no less than 2 weeks at a time.

    I remember, even at age 15, crying myself to sleep and having a really hard time because all I needed was a hug from daddy.

    My comment on this article is to just remind everyone that a couple 2-3 days or something is totally doable, especially with the fabulous ideas brought forth in this article. However, getting closer to a full week, or worse 2-3 weeks at a time is just MURDER on a child who just wants her parent's time and attention.

    Truely, it's just not worth the career boost. That's just priorities.

    Good luck to any working/traveling parent! Be careful to keep priorities straight. :)

    Smiles, Bethany

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by GB Ryan on 3rd July 2009