December 4, 2018 at 12:11 pm #810890
Two months ago I accepted a new job, it checked most boxes, closer to my home, new experience, new training, more responsibility/opportunity. It was a tough decision, as I was up for a pretty large “promotion” after 15 years with an agency, but decided that with that promotion I was giving up a lot of my passion (and opportunities for growth). My resume would not have built- but, I would have had the consistency and certainty that calms my anxiety and fears.
My new current position was listed as minimal travel, the interviewee didn’t specify much travel and I told them given my situation, single mother to a three year old, that my time wasn’t very forgiving but that I would be available to make it work 2-4 weeks out of a year (spread out). Now, those travel requirements have raised, and now that I am actually seeing the travel play out- I am terrified about leaving my daughter for a week at a time. Terrified to the point of ting to somehow get my last unfulfilling job back only to know that I would not have to leave my daughter.
My anxiety is coming from many places: 1) I’m a mom, I need to focus on my daughter, not my career, and leaving her for a week at a time every other month is not possible, our bond will break, she needs me, she needs my stability 2) I’ve never travelled for work or been required to so it’s new and scary 3) It’s taking time away from my daughter 4) I feel overwhelmed trying to be career and family oriented. I want both, but maybe it’s just impossible to have both.
I’ll preface this with a couple facts: I live 2 miles from my parents, so they have her, and have agreed to without issue, having her while I travel. I have full custody of her, her father plays a small role and sees her twice a week for a few hours at a time. I’m scared if I leave that he will try to get more time and he is not emotionally stable nor mature/selfless/responsible enough at this moment in her and his life to take on that role. Traveling gives me anxiety, leaving my daughter gives me anxiety, I can’t sleep much, and all I think about is this. Many people have told me that I need to ride this out, that it will be great for me and my career. But, my worry and fear is getting the best of me and I need to turn my attitude around, in order to take full advantage of this opportunity. Side note about her father: there’s no animosity, or me trying to keep her from her father, the court decided this due to his actions (lack thereof). I understand the importance a father is and am hopeful that with time he will have more time with her, I am happy to amend anything in the near future, so this isn’t about me keeping her from her father.
I second guess everything, should I have left- am I selfish for leaving my job knowing I wouldn’t have had to leave my daughter in order to better my career. The last thing I want is to travel, and the only thing on my mind is the anxiety I have leaving her, and not be able to do my job appropriately while traveling. I dread hearing those words from my boss, okay we have your first travel booked for next month, and then having to leave her. Has anyone traveled for work monthly or every other month for a couple days at a time, who hasn’t had an active father present or spouse, and can help calm my fears or provide me with any advice to work through this?
December 4, 2018 at 12:28 pm #810894
- This topic was modified 2 weeks ago by anny21.
Obviously, each person is different, so you have to make your own choices. But I think the things that you are framing as facts, just aren’t. I have a friend who travels similar to this schedule, but maybe more frequently and she has a daughter. I think she’s 7 now, and was maybe 5 or 6 when the travel started. Everything is fine. When she’s home, they do all the normal mom-daughter stuff. They face time when she’s gone. Daughter doesn’t seem to mind much.
I also do want to say that no matter what you decide, I don’t agree with the idea that a mom can only care about her kids and can’t care about her career. Daughters look up to their moms and being able to see you having ambition and doing cool stuff is important. Presumably, your daughter may have other goals in life than being mom, so it’s nice for her to see you fulfilling those for yourself too.
My mom stayed at home until I was 7 and then started working part time. She never really had a “career.” Personally, I would have been willing to give up some time with her in order for her to have more purpose in her life outside of our family and for her to be in a more stable place financially and workwise right now. There are more ways to benefit your kids than just mothering them. Bettering yourself and your stability as a worker are important too.December 4, 2018 at 12:36 pm #810897
Your bond with you daughter will not break for being gone for a week every few months. There are of course other reasons this job may not work that you listed but that is not one to concern yourself with.December 4, 2018 at 12:39 pm #810899
I agree with Dinoceros. Mostly I want to say that your bond WILL NOT break. You are Mom and you will always be Mom. You are the most important person in her life and will be for a very long time. A few days here and there will NOT change that. It is wonderful that you have your parents nearby – if they are loving and trustworthy caregivers, that is an amazing gift to give to you and their granddaughter. I completely understand your anxiety, but she will be fine and so will you. My husband travels a lot for work. During the first year of my daughter’s life he was away for a total of 2.5 months! But they are very close (she’s 5.5 years now and definitely has a strong bond with her Daddy). Get through that first trip – once you are settled into your job and routine, things may start to feel better. And remember that nothing has to be permanent. If this doesn’t work for you, you can make a change. But give it a chance first.December 4, 2018 at 2:08 pm #810910
Thank you all! Helpful words and advice.December 4, 2018 at 2:36 pm #810912
Anny you bring up anxiety multiple times in your post. Has anxiety always been something you struggle with? If so it’s time to start addressing it! Therapy to learn some coping mechanism and maybe some meds if you need them. Seriously—it sounds like anxiety is high jacking your ability to think clearly about this.
It’s AWESOME that your parents already have a strong bond with your daughter and will be able to take care of her when you travel. That takes care of a massive logistical aspect of work travel as a single parent. Your bond with daughter will absolutely not break over some business travel. Give it a year, if it’s intolerable after that then absolutely look for something else but try it first.December 4, 2018 at 2:44 pm #810913
I’m not a mom, but my husband and I do travel a lot for work as do a lot of people in my company have the travel a lot. Some people (mostly management) who have kids are gone weekly but I always here stories about there kids. How good they’re doing in school or sports. Or a play. And I also here about their adventures together.
Does it suck? For a lot of people probably yes. As long as you make the most out of the time you do have, you and your kid will be fine.
The week before thanksgiving was a travel week. One woman had to leave meetings at certain times so she could FaceTime with her kids. Another time, she was on the phone with them while we were on our way to dinner. The bits and pieces of conversation I heard was heartwarming.
I think you should give this is shot. If you’re miserable, you can change it. It’s worth a try though.December 4, 2018 at 2:55 pm #810914
I agree that being gone a week every other month won’t make your mother/daughter bond break… BUT
Is there any way you can bring this up with your boss and try to negotiate for less travel? Being gone for a week at a time every other month is more than you were told. Some would say it is a lot of travel, especially when you were hired with a different expectation. YMMV. Something to consider.
Everyone is different. Some parents wouldn’t have a problem with this travel. My SIL recently took a vacation for like, five days and came back early because she missed her daughters. It’s understandable that this could be hard for you.December 4, 2018 at 2:57 pm #810915
@juliecatharine, Yes, and it has been hard for me to accept that I actually do have anxiety (generalized according to my therapist). So, I’ve just finally come to terms. Becoming a mom made me remember how I was raised and that I too was raised by a mother with high anxiety- and I want a more peaceful, calm environment for my daughter so that she has confidence in herself and not always worried. I haven’t tried medication, because I worry (shocker!) about the dependency or habit forming, but I realize I need help. I have lost some friends and opportunities over my anxiety because I have just finally been able to admit to myself that I do have it, and that I do need help, and because I don’t admit it, not many people round me understand. I realize the importance, and have made great progress and when situations like this occur- my anxiety kicks in once again.
I want to take advantage of this opportunity, without this worry or fear, so I appreciate that the advice!December 4, 2018 at 3:53 pm #810924
I travel a LOT for work. Like sometimes 16 days a month or more away from home. Over the summer I did four continents in four weeks. It’s tough. But I don’t have kids. I think everyone is right, I know plenty of folks who travel a lot for work (with me!) and their kids know them and love them as mom or dad. Having a strong supportive network (which you have) is key.
I have meds for anxiety. When travelling I usually take them once a week for what I call the Sunday night stresses. It’s tough getting to sleep early so you can wake up at 4:30 am to get to the airport for the first flight out.
I’ve done some of the stupidest things but I figure at some point I’ll just figure it all out. Gotten lost on the way to a client and been late – done it. Missed a turn I’ve taken dozens of time – yup. Woken up late in the hotel? Done it. Gone to the wrong city -haven’t done it yet. Missed my flight – yup. Wrong airport – not that I recall. Forgotten pajamas, underwear, enough clothes for the week -yeah. Gone to wrong hotel – yup. Woken up and had no idea which city I was in – regularly. Messed up a rental car – more than I can remember. Still, I can pack for two weeks in 10 minutes (I’m successful more times than unsuccessful) in a carry on bag that doesn’t have to go into cargo.
But talk to your boss about the increased travel and the challenge. Ask to re-evaluate the need. There is something beneficial about that Face to Face time that you don’t get when you’re remote. But not traveling costs a hell of a lot less. My clients are global so I get a ton done with email and teleconferences. With my current client I was remote for four months last year and plan 3 months remote starting in January because I can not deal with winter.
But if you need tips – I got em.December 4, 2018 at 4:52 pm #810933
I’m currently writing this from a tiny pub hotel in the middle of nowhere, I’m here for a week then head to the city for another week of work then finally home. Travel for work can be a pain in the butt but it can also be super fun. You get to experience these new places and people and hopefully kick work’s arse. I work in sport so a lot of travel is involved and at my last sport job pretty much everyone was a parent. They were leaving their kids for three, four, five weeks at a time because they had to be on-site managers for these big events. Everyone survived, their kids still love them and nobody’s families have split up because of it. If you’re spending meaningful time with your kid when you’re with her I really can’t see a week here and there being a big deal. Your life and career matters too.December 4, 2018 at 6:49 pm #810946
Leslie please share the secret of two weeks in a carry on bag! Like…how?? I’m an over packer, any tips on that would be appreciated!
Anny, a healthy caution with meds is smart. They do have side effectz, some are addictive, and if you take them daily you will probably need to taper off them to avoid some pretty gnarly withdrawal. BUT they help. I also am part of the GAD club and also resisted meds for way too long. They’re not a magic bullet but they help me to be able to help myself. I’m actually pretty bummed about it but Xanax doesn’t make me feel *good* like it does for a lot of people but it does calm me down when i’m on the verge of losing it.
I travel for work a fair bit, not nearly as much as some folks but more than most. I often get extremely anxious before leaving. My poor husband has to deal with tearful goodbyes for a one or two day trip sometimes. BUT once I’m on the road or headed to the airport I’m ok. Lol I literally have separation anxiety. I absolutely get where you’re coming from but you can do it. You’ll be setting yourself up for bigger and better things at work. Good luck.