Women in business who need to travel as part of their work face the problem of staying connected with their children when they are on the road. Most business women try to fit in a phone call coupled with a long distance bedtime kiss and a few even return home with presents each time. Here are some strategies that will make that “phone home" even better and are less likely to break the bank.
Home Away From Home
Sometimes business travel means visiting the same locations regularly. If that’s the case, take pictures of your hotel, the restaurant you frequent and the fitness space you use while you’re there. Small children have a hard time understanding what business moms do when they’re away; it’s comforting to picture her in a real place that they can see and think about. Older children may enjoy having maps of the area or a map they can use to track your business travel; makes a great geography lesson as well.
Business Travel Means Treasure Hunt!
Often, the hardest time of day for kids and dads when women in business are away is early evening, before dinner is ready. Everyone’s tired and hungry plus Mom’s not home. Fill that space with treasure hunts! Leave clues, “Look under the green chair in the study" that send your children from place to place until they find the treasure you have hidden away. (Be sure to tell your spouse where the treasures are hidden in case a clue gets eaten by the dog. ) These offerings don’t need to be expensive. The best treasures provide a welcome distraction that allows Dad to prepare the evening meal and gets everyone to the table with a smile. Try coloring books, small bouncing balls, toy figures, pipe cleaners or other non-messy craft supplies for younger children. Older kids need less distraction but more jollying. Leave magazines, comic books, coupon for skipping a chore or staying up late or a small financial contribution to a new CD. The business woman who uses this tip may get the question, “when’s your next trip?" from kids who are eager for another treasure hunt.
Business Machines Make Business Travel Easier on Children
This tip works well for business women with older children. Give your family the fax number at your hotel. Encourage your school age children to fax you good news from school or send along a piece of homework for you to check. Even if you can’t look over the materials until after your kids are in bed, you can still fax back a response that can be read before school the next morning. E-mail and instant messaging are also terrific ways to stay in touch.
Spark Up That Phone call!
It’s hard enough to get kids to tell you about their day in a face-to-face discussion; conversations by telephone when on business travel can be even less satisfying. So, use your business woman skills and strategize that call ahead of time. Agree beforehand that you will exchange a new joke each day; carry a joke book with you so you are prepared. Or, plan to talk about an event you know will be happening so your child can be prepared with information to tell you. Everyone feels better when that daily phone call is a high point rather than a let down.
Women in business can support their family during business travel; it just takes a bit of resourcefulness and most business women have that attribute in ready supply.
Article submitted by WomenCorp , an international women’s leadership development company that provides experiential learning programs for women who want to succeed in business and life. WomenCorp has a free newsletter .
Roxanne is a former financial consultant and entrepreneur who founded WomenCorp an international women’s leadership development company that provides experiential learning programs for women who want to succeed in business and life.