When my manager asked me if I would be able to go to Chile for a week for a workshop, there was this mix of thoughts dancing through my head. First, you think, that obviously she asked (instead of just announcing it, which would be the normal case probably) because I have this little guy at home, so going away for a business trip has become a bit more challenging the last year. Ok, so that´s very considerate. Then, yeah it´s going to be challenging, how will the logistics work out? Can I leave for 6 whole days? Let´s hope it doesn´t coincide with a trip from the hubs. Then, how will I survive 6 days without my baby? Will he be fine? Will I be fine? And finally, hmm 6 days alone (so much me-time! So much peace & quiet!) and in a country I haven´t been before… sounds like a pretty good offer.
So you decide to go and tell your manager that of course, you´re available. You´re a good employee, right? The fact that I had a kid doesn´t mean I am any less dedicated and I will proof them exactly that! You book your flights, fighting with timetables so that the total number of days without seeing each other at all is the smallest possible. You leave with a night flight (when he is already in bed, so that day doesn´t count as a travel day) and you make sure to be back before he finishes daycare (so that day also doesn’t count as away!). Flight is sorted and the schedule discussed with your in-laws. Logistics: check!
As the day of departure comes closer, you feel like you´re having different personalities: on the one hand, you´re really dreading that you have to leave your baby behind and think about cancelling. On the other hand, exploring a new city, having proper nights of sleep and lots of Chilean wine doesn´t sound so bad. Obviously, you feel guilty for even thinking that, and so you keep on going back and forth.
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Departure day, you´re an emotional wreck. You make sure to spend every single minute with your baby and give him so many extra hugs and snuggles. You can burst into tears when he does something cute. You´re slowly dying on the inside thinking that this is the last day you see him (for a week, yes I know, but I get pretty dramatic around goodbyes). When it´s time for him to go bed (and for you to take a taxi) you feel ready to call your boss to say that you´re not going. Dedicated employee, who am I kidding?
You leave and with mascara stains all over your face, you get into your taxi. As soon as you board the plane you start looking forward to the awesome sleeping possibilities that a 14hour flight in business class brings. You´re still feeling guilty though so when it´s time to pick a movie to go with that glass of bubbles you go for “Bad Moms”, pretty relevant for the occasion. You start thinking that you´re actually quite a bad mom for enjoying all of this while leaving your baby behind before you fall asleep, only to wake up 10hours later.
Arrival day, it´s Sunday so no office obligations yet, the perfect occasion to explore the city. You truly enjoy discovering a new place and doing some sightseeing. But every time you see a family or a mom / dad with a stroller, you just want to go home. Again, so torn between your own emotions. At night in the hotel, you make sure to take some time for some long-forgotten self-care (facial mask, nails, reading a good book) before falling asleep for 9hours straight. You wake up in the morning, do a bit of writing, go to the gym for a quick workout, and have a long breakfast. All before going to work. You could get used to this! But then you FaceTime home and feel guilty again for feeling that way.
You realize that although it is called a business trip, it sure feels more like a relaxing holiday to you (you know, the real holidays, the ones you had before you had kids), but still, you can´t fully enjoy it because you want to go home.
You want the time to go by as fast as possible so you can be home with your baby again but at the same time, you want to soak in all these moments and make them last a little longer because everything feels just so uncomplicated and relaxed. Again you feel guilty for feeling that way….
Basically, it´s relaxing but you can never fully relax because you also want to go home. I want to go on business trips all the time and never again.