Some work-at-home moms must arrange for both daytime and overnight child care when on a business trip. Plus many multitask during the day, doing little jobs like school pick up, dinner, etc. while also working. Often kids of work-at-home moms are not accustomed to their absence. All of this adds to the stress of business travel.
Preparing Family for Your Business TripArrange childcare. Many work-at-home parents may need to arrange daytime child care even if their child’s other parent will be caring for them overnight. And if the other parent is not the caregiver, they must arrange for both daytime and overnight childcare. Some child care options for your business trip include:
- Grandparents, other relatives or a friend staying in your home
- Kids staying in the home of grandparents, relatives or friends
- Regular daytime babysitter or nanny staying overnight too
- Arranging for sitter or other trusted person to stay overnight with a different daytime child care plan (i.e. school, daycare, sitter, etc.)
Outline the schedule. Write out your family's daily schedule. The amount of detail depends on your caregiver's familiarity with your children. A spouse would likely need a lot less information than a babysitter but might still need to be reminded about soccer practice or dance class. Be sure to go over the schedule with the caregiver before you leave. Google maps to activities can be helpful.
Make it easy on your caregiver and kids. As you write down your family's schedule, you'll likely be amazed at how much there is to do. Life at home while you are away on your business trip will be more chaotic, so simplify the schedule wherever possible. Reschedule routine doctor appointments or skip optional activities.
Talk to the kids. Let them know in advance how much contact to expect while you are gone on your business trip. If you are uncertain about how often you can call home, prepare them for the minimum amount. If you are able to call or email more during your business travel, they get a bonus instead of a disappointment. Remind older children to do their regular chores. And maybe even assign them special jobs to help out the caregiver, but don't overload them.
Plan for the rest of the household. If you are the person in charge of caring for pets or handling household maintenance (as so many WAHMs are), leave instructions for these duties as well.
Things to leave behind. As you pack for your business trip, remember to leave these things behind.
- Phone numbers (see below)
- Cash for groceries and emergencies
- Consent for medical treatment forms and insurance cards
- Flight and hotel information
Write key phone numbers on an index cards. Phone numbers also can be included with the schedule but your caregiver can take the index card along on errands. Your caregiver may need them if he or she gets lost or has an emergency. Some numbers to include:
- Regular and back up contact number for you
- Friends/neighbors who are helpful
- Alarm company
Stock up. Be sure the pantry and refrigerator are full. Pick up some treats or cook a family favorite, so the family can eat well too. Or maybe just leave a stack of take-out menus.