As I sit my hotel room in Washington D.C., checking emails and texting my husband in between appointments, I think about how much I have come to enjoy work travel, especially as a parent. Mind you, weeks of prep go into preparing my family and myself for my absence, particularly for this first of two back-to-back work trips. I think I’ve overcome the personal anxiety I have had about work travel. My daughter and my husband certainly survive without me. Sure, I miss my little family and the fact that I missed Halloween this year, but I am grateful for these trips.
I think it’s time to celebrate the fun that comes with work travel.
Uninterrupted Sleep in a Bigger Bed
At home, we sleep in a full-sized bed. It’s great for two people, and extra cozy when our daughter joins us, which happens more often than not. I get stuck in the husband and daughter sandwich, with one arm or leg draped over me. When I travel, I have a queen or a king bed all to myself. It feels so luxurious to be able to spread out on a bed and not bump into another limb.I indulge in three or four pillows to cradle me, and it is delightful. Sure, I still miss snuggling with either my husband or my daughter, but that uninterrupted sleep is gift.
I get to fall asleep to whatever tickles my fancy. Sometimes it’s binge-watching old episodes of “Scandal.” Other days it’s hours of HGTV or Food Network programming. It’s anything but Disney Junior, Nick Junior, or whatever cartoon my daughter is obsessed with. It’s nice to not have a children’s television theme song stuck in my head. If your child is a Disney Junior fan, I know you have hummed “Come inside, it’s fun inside…” at least once. I think I even greeted a colleague with “Oh Tootles” a few times. Watching adult programs reminds me that there are other things to watch on TV.
Eating alone sounds sad. Who ever enjoys eating alone? It’s always nice to share a meal with another person. I love preparing dinner for my family every night and sitting down at our dining table to talk about our day while we eat. By the same token, I also enjoy the instances when I can eat alone. When I am on these work travel trips, I don’t have to worry about selecting a restaurant that will be “child-friendly.” I can eat at the bar or eat at a table with my journal (and write). I get to eat a meal in its entirety, without interruptions, and while the food is still hot. Hot food is underrated.
Having One More Drink
I don’t consume as many alcoholic beverages as I used to. Before I became a parent, I had a glass of wine or beer or vodka (on a particularly long day). Sometimes, I would have a few drinks, especially on Fridays or the weekend. After I became a parent, I scaled back my alcoholic beverage consumption to nothing because I was breastfeeding. It also felt irresponsible for me to be intoxicated around my child. Even after I stopped breastfeeding this summer, I still limited my consumption to one drink a week or so. On work trips, I’ve relaxed a little more and have begun to enjoy one more drink. I savor it, whether it be an extra glass of Pinot Noir or one more “vodka on the rocks.” Having one more drink is a work travel activity worth enjoying, especially amongst my colleagues.
I could list a few other fun activities, like taking a long, hot shower or eating dessert in bed, but, my fellow traveling parents, you get the idea. Sometimes, it’s tough being away from our families, but the least we can do for ourselves is have a good time. With that, I am going to crawl into bed with my cupcake, a glass of milk, and watch a little House Hunters.