As anyone who travels frequently for business knows, balancing your business travel life with your home life can be really difficult for all parties involved. A child may have a birthday in Minnesota, while you’re all the way in Tokyo for a meeting, or your spouse is having an anniversary dinner alone in New York while you’re having a client dinner in Vancouver. While tough, business travel and family life can come to a place of balance, leaving all parties satisfied and as happy as they can be while their loved ones are located far away.
One thing that can make balancing your family and business travel life easier is simply crafting a routine and sticking with it. If you travel to the same locations a lot, stay in the same hotels and have set times where you call, Skype, or FaceTime your family back home so they know when to expect to hear from you. Even if you’re far away, this established routine will provide a sense of stability, and turn your business travel times into more normal times that still give family members some regular contact to look forward to. Modern technology has made bridging this gap between family life and business travel life much easier than it once was in the past days of long-distance phone calls or writing letters. Facebook, text messaging, and face-to-face smartphone applications help you to keep in touch and build this routine easier than ever before.
Also, while communicating, it’s important to have open lines of real communication between partners so that no party feels the resentment of being “left behind”. The spouse at home taking care of the family and the household, while still participating in their own career during the day, can feel unfairly burdened by the spouse who is travelling abroad for business, and these frustrations should be listened to with an open mind. When the traveling partner comes home, perhaps they may wish to give the spouse who was home a break from the extra chores and housework to know that all their efforts in helping the relationship to work despite career travel have been appreciated.
Helping children to cope with a parent that goes away on business often means allowing them to be involved in some way with the trips. Showing them on a map where you’re going, answering their questions, and giving them details about your trip can help to put their minds at ease with the idea while building excitement. Having your spouse or the child’s caretaker watch your flights going in and out can also excite them about the experience, and make them feel safer knowing exactly where their parent is at any given time, even if they’re far away from home. Bringing children little souvenirs from the various places you go can even give them a little something to look forward to any time a parent says they will need to go away for a little while on business.
Balancing your family life with a life of business travel is possible, and it does get easier as the routine becomes more familiar.
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