Leaving On a Jet Plane…When Momma Travels for Work

AirplaneLike St. Gianna, many of us who work outside of the home occasionally have to travel for work for periods of time. Though this is a time that can be hectic, sad, and stressful, there are some things we can do as Working Catholic moms to help travel periods be less stressful, and keep us engaged and connected with our children and husband during our time away.

Imagine the 1950s and early 1960s without technology! This is the landscape St. Gianna navigated when she traveled; yet she was able to be engaged and connected to her groom and her children. I turn to St. Gianna for intercession as I travel for work. She viewed her children as her “treasures,” and certainly treated them as such, whether in the same room, or on the other side of the country.

One thing I love that St. Gianna did when she traveled was to make sure the children were well-cared for, whether Pietro was going to be there, or she had to make other arrangements with a nanny or family member. What I most admire about this is that she had joy in her heart when performing these tasks! For her, it was part of giving the best care and “mothering” of her young “treasures.”

What an example! I know that I am not always kind or happy thinking through all of the details to make it possible for me to travel and feel comfortable leaving home. St. Gianna always made sure the details were taken care of, and with a cheerful heart. She would also call every possible moment to pass along messages to the children, or to speak with them individually. Her attitude in doing this is most impressive.

This has me thinking: What do I do to make the home work in my absence, and how do I stay connected and engaged with the children when I am away for work? Here is my list of suggestions:

1. I feel most comfortable leaving home for work travel when everything is as settled as possible. Usually, I am able to leave everyone’s schedule with the hubby. I also like to have most of the laundry done, and the groceries stocked. I know there will be a night (or two, or all nights) when my husband takes the kids out to eat because it is easier. I let that go (21 years in, girls. You got to let it go.)…Making sure the groceries are stocked gives him options, and I like my honey-bun to have options when caring for the kids.

2. When I travel for work, I typically opt-out of optional social activities. I prefer to have a quiet dinner, and make it to bed early. This gives me ample opportunity to visit with the kids and hubby on skype, or to call them. What momma doesn’t like to turn in early?? And to have the bed all to herself?? I mean, most nights, I’m waking up with a foot on my head…so it’s kind of nice. I would never trade the foot on the head for the bed to myself, but if I have to…well, that’s something I can accept for the team.

3. If you have the option to NOT travel for work at peak times in your family life, choose to NOT travel. As a college administrator, I am blessed to have supervisors who are supportive of me not being as involved professionally at times that are difficult for me. These times include times of nursing babies, major transitions for your kids, and other reasons. I am always able to have those conversations with my supervisors. Although it puts me at a small disadvantage in the career-world, I make that up by doing the best job I can while at work, and network in ways that will not take me away from home for long periods of time.

4. Bring pictures with you to the hotel. I bring a family picture with me for the hotel. This reminds me that my vocation is wife and mother; my career and calling in the work world is my job. My priorities stay in order.

5. I try to read the Proverbs 31 chapter while I am traveling. This reminds me that women are called in so many ways in life, and the Lord plants us in the work world to do something for Him. The Proverbs 31 woman is a model of beauty, hard-work, and dedication. This sometimes includes work outside of the home. THAT’S OK! If the Lord has you planted in a job, thank Him for it, and use your skills and talents to glorify Him.

Stop the guilt! I should list that as the #6 suggestion. SO MUCH EASIER SAID THAN DONE! My guilt starts the minute I sign the paperwork to travel. However, as I strategize and prioritize, work travel can be fun, informative, while I stay engaged and connected to my family (my first love).

What strategies have you used to stay engaged and connected with your children and husband when you travel for work? Please join the conversation!

Join me in praying:

St. Gianna, please pray for us – women who work outside of the home. Help us to remember that our talents and skills in the work world are given to us by a Father who loves us beyond measure. Thank you for being a model of a working Catholic mom, and for pointing us in the right direction as we travel for work, to remember that our first loves and vocations lie in our family lives.

Lord, thank you for the gift of motherhood. Help us to stay focused on our main vocations of wife and mother. Thank you, Holy Lord.

Amen

Peace of Christ to you and yours!
Mary

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Comments

  1. Hi Mary! So glad I found your blog through Lauren Gulde. It’s a great one and I especially appreciated this post as my job does require me to travel occassionally. The first time I left my son Jack (he was 4 months old so I was still nursing/pumping, which further complicated my national travel) it was so tough but necessary. Like you, I am so appreciative of technology though! I am so glad that we are able to FaceTime in the mornings and evenings so that I don’t feel like I am missing out on every little part of his day. Now that he is 14 months old, he knows exactly how to talk to mommy via FaceTime, and sometimes when I call (if I’m driving) and he can’t see my face, he gets so frustrated. It’s adorable! I also love that you’ve incorporated Proverbs 31 into your website…sometime it can be so difficult for people to see how valuable and admirable it is for a woman to work outside of the home to provide for her family. Anyway, glad I encountered you and I look forward to reading more!

    • Kelly…I think facetime is a great way to connect now. Thank God for the people who created technology, and for the ways to use it for good purposes!

      Proverbs 31 grounds me, I think. When I was first introduced to Proverbs 31, all I could pick out was this completely virtuous woman who was the perfect wife. I didn’t connect at first, because I felt so imperfect as a wife. But as I read it more thoroughly, I realized she worked! She provided for her family, most thoroughly through being the heart of her home, and then very clearly through her business endeavors. It gave me comfort to know that I could be this working Catholic mom, through my sacrament of matrimony. I was given consolation. Praise be to God.

      Please visit again! I am enjoying your bacon blog, which is really not all about bacon! I love it!

      Pax Christi!
      Mary

  2. This is beautiful! I love that you take the time to share your journey with others. Thank you!

  3. Hi Mary, I just found your blog. This post really spoke to me! I am a working mom (we have identical twin boys who will turn 3 years old in a week) who frequently has to travel. It’s so hard to leave the family behind. Thank you for sharing & I look forward to following you blog.

    • Kathleen,

      I’m glad we can connect virtually through the blog. Thank you for following the blog. Identical twin boys who are 3? You are super momma! Prayers to you!

      Mary

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